An Oregon Prison Houses One of America’s Last Jean Manufacturers

An Oregon Prison Houses One of America’s Last Jean Manufacturers
Prison Blues is an American workwear brand selling starchy blue jeans and rigid trucker jackets for around $50. It’s a niche label—If Levi’s is the giant of the jean world, Prison Blues is more like an ant scurrying underfoot. But the brand’s affordable clothes have lately caught the attention of young, fashion-conscious folks in Japan. A flip through Prison Blues’ tagged photos on Instagram reveals a plethora of Japanese fans wearing its midnight-blue jeans and chunky denim jackets with leopard-print coats, technicolor Coogi sweaters and vintage neckties.
Prison Blues’ goods, as the name suggests, are produced at the Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution, a medium-security state prison with roughly 1,600 inmates in Pendleton, Ore. Yes, one of the last remaining American jean manufacturers operates behind a prison wall in the Pacific Northwest.
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