We recently had the chance to check in with the guys over at Tellason. Tony and Pete were gracious enough to give us a few minutes of their time and give you a glimpse into their brand and story. Hope you enjoy.
What is home to you?
Pete: Home is any place where I feel comfortable and happy. I have seen a bit of the world and have felt at home in places where I did not speak 5 words of the language. It is the people that make a place feel like home. Mexico feels like home. Amazing people, beaches, food. I can eat tacos everyday. I was at a nice place 3 years ago in Mexico that you had to take a boat to get to. The food was impeccable. One night, the cooks were preparing a taco night. I asked if there was a record for the amount of tacos someone had eaten. The answer was “yes” and the number was 13 held by a 5 foot Filipino dude. They said they had to make the tacos since anyone who wanted to go after the record could simply make a stack of pinner tacos and claim the record for their own. I was fine with their rule and in the end, I took down 15 tacos that night.
Tony: A place where I can poop with the bathroom door open.
How does your environment impact your craft?
Pete: For us, the environment on the whole is pretty elevated here in the Bay Area. We eat a certain way and support local on most days in our personal and professional lives. Come to think of it, my life and work share the same energy. I don’t put on a suit, grab my brief case and head out the door to hump out a day at the office working for some corpo tough guy who is more concerned with his Benzo than his employees. The decisions I make here at work are built on the same ground where I live my life and raise my kids. Today was a good example. I had my 10 year old girl with us today at a Cone Mills meeting in SF. She is a young designer herself so I bet she had a good time checking out fabrics and seeing the process on the inside. We went to the factory after that, had a coffee and stopped by a designer friend of ours named Evan Kinori, who kicks ass and gave my daughter an autograph, just in case he is the next big thing…
Tony: Being in San Francisco really inspires us as denim dudes. The Gold Rush, which began in 1849 in the northern California foothills, brought people from all over the world with the dream of striking it big. Pants of the day were not well suited for gold mining in the rivers and caves — blue jeans as we know them today were created as the work wear answer the prospectors needed. San Francisco would not exist as the same city without the wealth and egos the Gold Rush created.
How did you get your start? Who are your mentors?
Pete: I met Mossimo Giannulli (Mossimo) back in 1988. He was friends with my brother-in-law and I happen to be in town. We all went over to Moss’s house to watch a movie (The Big Blue). Still one of my favorite movies. Moss and I hit it off and soon after, he asked me to be a salesman for the company, that had just moved out of his garage. Day Glo volleyball shorts were the thing for Moss and we all sold a ton of them. It was the best of times for the industry and he took designs very far, very quickly. It was a great ride for 9 years and then the bottom of the bucket blew up and it was over. After that, a creative genius named Paul Frank started making wallets and bags out of vinyl and came up with Julius the monkey. I had the same good ride with Paul Frank and respect his world as much as anything. He was humble to the core with a real Mr. Rogers / Andy Warhol DNA woven into his work. He simply did not know how to be dishonest or fake to anyone. Some probably thought he was socially awkward but in reality, he was just being true to himself during times of dealing with an industry that often liked to suck the blood out of free flowing creative souls like Paul.
Tony: In the early 1990s my wife and I opened a boutique in San Francisco and one day a woman walked in and asked if we carried a specific local brand of jeans. I found the brand, met the owner and started to sell his brand. A year later he asked me to help him start another brand (Sutter’s) and for eight years we built the brand into a pretty big player in the young men’s and Junior’s denim world. The guy’s name was Cliff Abbey and he truly was a legend in the world of American denim. I learned a lot from him about denim fabrics, cutting and sewing and jeans design.
How would you describe your personal style?
Pete: I grew up in the 60’s-80’s and still wear what I wore then: Chucks, Red Wing Boots, blue jeans, classic shirts and pocket tees, heavy hoodies without logos, a denim jacket and a SF Giants baseball hat when the sun is out to protect my bald head. I dated a girl in 1985 that worked at Charlotte Rouse and spent that 1.5 year wearing the worst new wave stuff imaginable, to impress her. I swear, the moment we went our separate ways, I dug out my 501’s and filled up a garbage bag full of regrettable fashions from Genera and Ton Sur Ton, etc…
Tony: Minimalist. I like pieces of clothing that fit well and are made well, but I do not want too many of them. Generally speaking I’m a jeans, t-shirt and Chucks guy.
House is burning down, what is the one item you would grab?
Pete: I’m not that big into stuff but, I would probably grab the watch my wife gave me for a wedding gift 14 years ago. That, or the coin collection I put together when I was 10.
Tony: Is my dog an item?
If we were in your hometown for one day, how should we spend it?
Pete: Bring a thick sweater, hang out at Muir Beach for the day. Eat lunch at the Pelican Inn then do something rigorous to get hungry again for Picco Pizza in Larkspur. Mario Betali called it the best pizza in the U.S.
Tony: From my hometown, Davis, CA, you should drive to San Francisco and spend the day eating tacos in the Mission and drinking beer at Toronado.
Where is Tellason headed next? What new projects can we look forward to going forward?
Pete: Sticking with the timeless nature of our 5 pocket roots. We have developed a very loyal customer out there and they seem committed to buying our jeans again when their old jeans die. We will also work with our Japanese colleagues to open our first Tellason store.
Tony: We’re always looking for interesting fabrics made in the right way in the right place…once we find them, look for some new shirts.
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