Q&A WITH TONY PATELLA, DESIGNER AND FOUNDER OF TELLASON DENIM
DESCRIBE YOUR TYPICAL WORKING DAY?
I start by responding to emails from around the world from our distributors, retailers and/or consumers. Then Pete and I will assess the situation regarding orders to ship during the day -- orders from distributors, retailers and/or webshop orders. Then it is off to the factory to check on production and take care of hems for customers.
WHEN AND WHERE ARE YOU MOST PRODUCTIVE?
At my home office in the morning before heading to our studio.
WHO OR WHAT COULDN'T YOU WORK WITHOUT?
I find myself depending on my iPhone and Dropbox quite often.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT WHAT YOU DO?
Interacting with consumers. Talking with them about durable products and the value in buying things that last versus cheap, disposable items. The all-important "cost-per-wear" idea.
WHO OR WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Pete and I tend to look back on our childhoods in California during the 1970s and the punk rock ethos prevalent back then. We didn't know it as teenagers, but the honest, do-it-yourself and be-yourself spirit of the punk movement had a lasting impact on us. We realize that it is important to have a specific point of view and to not try to be all things to all people.
TELL US SOMETHING WE'RE UNLIKEY TO KNOW ABOUT TELLASON DENIM?
One aspect of Tellason that we're most proud of and feel that we do not talk about enough is the fact that all three of our Cone Mills White Oak selvage denims (12.5, 14.75 and 16.5 oz) are exclusive to us and that we developed these fabrics with Cone to fit specific wear and aging profiles. We believe that it is important for the consumer and retailer to know that our Ladbroke Grove fit in 14.75 oz denim will be the same a year from today as it is today.
WHAT PROJECT, COLLECTION OR ACHIEVEMENT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?
We're really proud of the aforementioned Cone White Oak selvage fabrics we developed and are also very pleased with our distribution in Japan. If you would've told us two years ago that we would be sold in 100+ stores in what is arguably the world's most sophisticated denim market, I wouldn't have believed it.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON LEARNED?
Be nice to people. If they're a consumer, understand that they have 100s of choices when it comes to buying pants and that they deserve your respect and time if they're considering yours. If they're a supplier and they deliver the product or service you asked for, pay them. If they're a retailer, realize it is a partnership and it is in both parties best interest that Tellason sells well in their shop.
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO IN THE FUTURE?
Buy a house on the island of Anguilla (BWI) and live there a couple of months per year. The rest of the time, let friends use it for free.
WHAT IS THE TELLASON TEAM'S GUILTY PLEASURE?
Sounds silly, but we love the tacos de carnitas dorados at La Taqueria in San Francisco and take great pleasure in taking any carnivorous visitors to eat what we believe is the finest use of swine on the planet.
AND FINALLY, TONY PATELLA'S TOP 3 SAN FRANCISCO MUST SEE/DOS?
I can't name only three. Here is a rambling, incoherent list:
Tacos de carnitas dorados at La Taqueria
Espresso at Four Barrel Coffee
Beers at Toronado
A visit to the the Ferry Building farmer's market
Dinner at Delfina
A journey across the Golden Gate Bridge to the Marin Headlands
Dinner at Sushi Ran in Sausalito
A Giants game at AT&T Park
Oysters in West Marin
Pints at the Pelican Inn in Marin
California Academy of Science
Menswear shopping at Unionmade