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Volume 26, Number 2 — February 2019

Custom-made jeans solve the fit problem

Stephen Curd hand presses his logo onto each label for his custom-made jeans. (Photo by David Grace)
Stephen Curd hand presses his logo onto each label for his custom-made jeans. (Photo by David Grace)
Additional photos below »

By Leslie Grace | A! Magazine for the Arts | November 29, 2017

Buying a pair of jeans that fits is one of most difficult fashion tasks facing almost everyone. It seems that if they fit in one place, they sag in another or bind when you sit down.

Stephen Curd and his Lavelle brand offer a solution — custom-made jeans.

Lavelle is named for his grandmother, Eva Lavelle Curd. "I wouldn't be doing any of this if it weren't for her," he says. "She taught me how to sew when I was 2 or 3 years old and that's what we did together. When I was in college, we were pen pals. We had a very close relationship. At one point I wasn't liking the major I was in (nursing), and she said, "Well you like fashion and you like sewing things. Would you ever think about being a designer?' I thought really hard about it and finished the school year. I looked at design schools and went down that path, so Lavelle is my way of giving back to her for what she's given to me."

Curd's grandmother died in 2008 after he graduated with a fashion degree in womanswearwith his emphasisinmenswear and fine tailoring.

"My fondest memory of her is during finals week my senior year in college.My grandmother and I stayed up many late nights talking and laughing as she helped me with my final collection. There were so many times we got frustrated with something or had breakthroughs on how to make a garment better. I remember it like it was yesterday. She stuck by me the whole time and helped me complete my first menswear collection in time to show it in front of the whole school and the community. It was one of the most precious times thatI had with her beforeshe passedaway that following year. Eva Lavelle inspired me to be strong and to follow my heart always."

Curd likes to think business ideas through before taking any steps, and he first thought of Lavelle about five years ago. When he and his husband, Travis Proffitt, associate director for the Appalachian Center for Civic Life at Emory & Henry College, moved to the area in 2014, he thought perhaps the time had come. So he researched local manufacturing and distributing and looked for a product that people would like. Custom-made jeans were his solution.

His blue jeans are made from high-end denim that has a stretch in it. In addition to the traditional blue, he offers black, grey, striped and custom-dyed fabrics. His new fall line introduces a dark blue jean, and he has a special Christopher Robin blue for spring. Curd fabricates small runs of custom dyed denim for his creations.

The process begins with sample jeans in different styles (boot cut, straight leg, etc.). Then the client chooses a fabric color, pockets and pocket lining, the color and type of stitching, and any additional options, such as custom embroidery.

The buttons are produced in Kentucky, and Curd hand presses the brand name into every label. The custom embroidery is created in Bristol. The fabric, zippers and closures are American made. Custom jeans begin at $168.

"Although I can never repay my grandmother for all of the love and wisdom that she gave me during her time here, the Lavelle label is my tribute to her, a beautiful soul and one of my best friends," Curd says.

For more information, visit or call 276-608-5594.

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Topics: Achievements, Art

The buttons for Stephen Curd's jeans are custom made in Kentucky. (Photo by David Grace)