One Leg at a Time: H.P. Trousers

H.P. Trousers a menswear retail shop in High Point, NC sits in High Point's social district.

It might seem a little cliche to say that there’s more we have in common than divides us, that we all put our pants on one leg at a time. But cliches stick around for a reason. Despite our wild and wonderful differences, we could all probably use a good, quality pair of blue jeans, and maybe a place to relax. Enter H.P. Trousers!

Nestled in our city’s social district (which you can learn more about here), H.P. Trousers opened its doors in October of 2022. Founded by High Point natives Austin Elliot and Ryan Coleman, H.P. Trousers combines the laid back atmosphere of a bar with a rustic menswear store, something every guy is sure to love. Long time friends, Austin and Ryan met while going to school together at High Point Central High School. Following graduation, Austin began a career in textiles and Ryan joined the Army. These diverging paths eventually crossed once more in High Point.

“When Ryan was in town we'd get together and have a couple beers and hang out,” Austin explains.

Before the two even generated the idea for the store, Austin and Ryan’s previous endeavors laid the groundwork for what H.P. Trousers is today. Working for TDI Worldwide, Austin gained his experience sourcing different fabrics from across the world, usually for High Point’s furniture industry. “I go to different shows in Germany and China, so I have a global knowledge of certain trends and colors that are coming up,” he says. “I see it all as very similar, whether it's furniture, whether it's fabric, whether it's clothing, or whether it's a color for your kitchen. There's a lot of crossover.”

Meanwhile, Ryan started Reel Threads, in 2020, following his service in the Army. Reel Threads, a fishing apparel company, gave Ryan insight into the world of clothing, and also planted the seeds for Ryan and Austin to work together on H.P. Trousers.

“He had the idea to start Reel Threads and he brought it to me just to see what I thought of it,” explains Austin. “I helped out a little bit with the sourcing. Over the years we got closer and we just talked about different endeavors and what we thought might be good for High Point.”

While building and expanding Reel Threads, Ryan traveled to retailers throughout the United States, learning about different business models and markets.

“He really saw what worked and what didn't work,” Austin says of his business partner, “so he’s the expert on the retail location, whereas I kind of work behind the scenes on the research and development. We're trying to create a very open, authentic spot where people feel comfortable coming in and hopefully buying some clothes.”

H.P. Trousers, co-owner and founder, Austin Elliott stands with his dog, Bud.
H.P. Trousers, co-owner and founder, Austin Elliott and his dog, Bud.
Raw denim at H.P. Trousers in High Point, NC that can be turned into custom jeans at their menswear store.

While Ryan leads the charge in terms of location and presentation, Austin lends his expertise to sourcing product materials. The two make an excellent team, as well as excellent apparel.

The proof of their expertise is on full display in their flagship product: custom denim jeans. H.P. Trousers uses the highest quality denim from sources around the world, such as Italy, Turkey, and Japan. The denim is raw and untreated, free from chemicals used to treat most jeans in retail stores today.

On top of their high quality, H.P. Trousers’ jeans are extremely customizable. From the shade and fit of the denim, to the color and style of the buttons, all the jeans’ attributes are personalized for the customer (and even come with a unique production number). The jeans are then tailored by H.P. Trousers’ “Jeansmith,” Lauren Sussi. What results is a sturdy, quality pair of blue jeans that will look good for years to come.

“The idea is to break in the jeans over time,” Austin explains, speaking on their decision to use raw denim. “It's like a nice pair of shoes or a pair of boots; they change and get better with age.”

It’s clear that Ryan and Austin have a passion for their denim work. “I almost view it as a piece of art,” Austin reflects. “It acquires a patina over time. You have a different pair of jeans every single year because more features start to be revealed.”

But H.P. Trousers is more than just an outlet for custom denim jeans. Ryan and Austin are working hard to develop their own private label brand of menswear, including polo shirts and button downs. The two hope to see their clothes sold across the country, all while keeping High Point as their base of operations and the location of their flagship store.

The inside of where to shop in High Point, NC for menswear – H.P. Trousers.

In addition, they take pride in offering other products made locally by talented folks within the Triad community. Outside of just jeans and clothing, H.P. Trousers offers necklaces, cutting boards, wine accessories, and even gun cases that are all made in or around High Point.

“I think a lot of super creative people don't necessarily have outlets to display their talent, but that's what we wanted to be,” remarks Austin. “We wanted it to be a community spot where things were made right around here as much as possible.”

On top of selling locally made clothes and products, H.P. Trousers strives to provide a relaxed atmosphere beyond that of a typical retail outlet. Serving beer and wine selections to their customers, Austin and Ryan are creating a space that welcomes the community.

“We tell people you can come in and grab a beer. You don't have to feel pressured to buy clothing every time you come in,” says Austin. “We very much want this to be a chill, hangout spot.” The store even hosts live music regularly and is planning to offer fly-tying classes. Inviting people to come and relax whether they’re looking for a drink or a pair of jeans, Ryan and Austin are focused on giving their customers the best experience possible as a part of High Point’s growing social district.

Beer on tap at H.P. Trousers.
Swing seats and tables allow for seating at H.P. Trousers.

If you walk inside H.P. Trousers, you might be greeted by a furry friend: Austin’s dog, Bud. In fact, you’ll find images of dogs all over their store, from the pictures on the wall, to the logo on their polos and jeans. The inspiration for the dog as their logo came from more than just Austin’s love for his canine companion but from High Point’s history.

“We just couldn't find a name that we agreed on, but we stumbled across this logo for High Point Trousers from 1904,” Austin recounts. “We saw that and we thought we could really do something with it.”

The newspaper clipping from an old article about the former H.P. Trousers.

Pulling from the old business license of the original H.P. Trousers, Austin and Ryan were able to repurpose a piece of High Point’s heritage. Just as H.P. Trousers is reviving a piece of High Point’s history for today, so too are Austin and Ryan helping breathe new life into the type of city High Point is. As a long-serving member of High Point’s fabric industry, Austin is excited to see his skills applied to a new part of the city’s identity.

Biz_HP Trousers4_020223
Biz_HP Trousers9_020223

“I think a lot of super creative people don't necessarily have outlets to display their talent, but that's what we wanted to be. We wanted it to be a community spot where things were made right around here as much as possible.”

Austin Elliott, Co-owner of H.P. Trousers

“We love seeing all these things popping up and we love feeling like we’re becoming more and more of a creative and artistic city,” Austin beams.

As High Point itself continues to grow and expand, H.P. Trousers is staking itself on a simple philosophy of creativity, hospitality, and quality products. As Austin and Ryan forge ahead, we can be assured that High Point’s future remains bright.

Discover our High Points, 

The HPD Team

Photography by Zander Betterton

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