KNOXVILLE (WATE) - High fashion is being designed in Knoxville at Marc Nelson Denim. We're talking blue jeans, T-shirts and belts that are mostly geared toward men. However, a women's line is on the way as well.
Designer Marcus Hall told Made in Tennessee about his inspiration. "As a child growing up, my grandfather told me no matter how you leave the house, leave the house looking like a million bucks."
Hall says those words and his grandfather's love of fashion has helped mold who he is today, "This is a big part of Marc Nelson is paying homage to my grandfather," he said.
In the warehouse in the Old City, there are T-shirts with images of his grandfather's first Cadillac, the beginnings of a women's line of clothes and racks of blue jeans honoring the working man.
"We named our denim after things that helped build the U.S.," Hall said.
As he pulled jeans from the racks, he read off the names. "The coal miner, the professor, the musician, the mailman, things that help build this country and make this country strong and what it is today."
Two years ago, Hall got the courage to break away from his residential contracting career to launch his own clothing line.
His ideas are translating into comfortable, high fashion made more valuable by its limited stock.
"That's 214," Hall said pointing to a number on a pair of jeans. "That's 55 of 214. That way you know you have an authentic pair of Marc Nelson jeans."
Right now, all the design work is done in Knoxville where they consider cut, color and wash.
Marc Nelson T-shirts are printed locally as well. "Our two-year goal is to bring all production here. Currently next door, Riot Gear does all our printing on our T-shirts."
Hall has even found a way to bring NASCAR into high fashion. We met him just after he returned from Bristol.
"This belt buckle was made from NASCAR lug nuts," he said. "We take them and stamp them down and make this belt buckle and it's made right here in Knoxville, Tennessee." The belt retails for $89.
In case you're wondering, Hall produces 214 of each piece in honor of his daughter. The numbers signify her birthday.