A year and a half ago, two Norwegian radio documentarians sent an application to the Norwegian Media Authority. Ole Eivind Siggerud and Aksel Schreiner Brakestad wanted to make a radio documentary about the current state and history of denim.

The idea for the documentary came about after their first meeting with Jens Olav Dankertsen of Livid Jeans in their home city of Trondheim.

Jens Olav uses Cone Mills denim to make his jeans and the two journalists wanted to understand why this factory in North Carolina produces a product that is so highly sought after.

In this fascinating documentary they trace the fabric from spools of yarn to the dyeing process to their assembly in Trondheim by Jens Olav.

Listen to the trailer for the documentary here:

From Trondheim to Greensboro and Back Again

The only logical place to start was at the beginning, where the denim came from, and there was only one option: Cone Mills in Greensboro, NC. They booked their tickets and headed for America.

Cone Mills’ White Oak plant is flanked by the remnants of other, now abandoned, Cone Mills plants: Proximity, Revolution and Printworks. Neighbourhoods of comfortable houses, built under the instruction of founders Moses and Ceasar Cone, form a mill town around the plant. The mill town had its own schools, churches and stores. The Cones rented the houses to mill workers at affordable rates.

The Cone property is fronted by a low brick building with “Cone Mills Corporation” above an overhang in a silver, sans serif font. Outside the plant, appropriately enough, there stands a small group of oaks. Having read so much about the place it was weird to finally be there; to know that for over a 100 years this building has been supplying the world with denim. We were met by Delores Sides and Stahlé Vincent. Delores speaks in a syrupy southern drawl, exactly the way you imagine a southern lady would:

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Next Up, Going to San Francisco

In the next installment Ole and Aksel will be talking about their trip out to San Francisco, where they met Jack/Knife, Roy and Tellason.

If you want to hear more now, you listen to the entire radio documentary below. Mind you, most of it is in Norwegian:

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