The City Weaving Itself Into The Denim Industry
Over the last few years, Amsterdam has been increasingly known as the denim capital of the world. Many of the “big hitters” such as G-Star, Scotch and Soda, Tommy Hilfiger and Pepe Jeans find their home in the Dutch capital and sit alongside some of our firm favourites: Benzak Denim Developers, Denham, Kings of Indigo and Black Rabbit.
Combine this with the opening of the Jeans School a couple of years ago and the reputation of the Amsterdam Fashion institute, Amsterdam is weaving itself into the fabric of the denim industry worldwide.
Over the past few years, Amsterdam Denim Days have engaged the visitors and residents of the city of Amsterdam. There are events all over Amsterdam but the cornerstones of the Amsterdam Denim Days are Kingpins Show and the Blueprint Festival.
Images courtesy of Kingpins Show
The purely business-to-business Kingpins Show is a platform for predominantly denim manufacturers and mills to showcase their expertise. It is a very clear remit:
”Our attitude then is our attitude now:
Yes to an invitation-only guest list,
Yes to a small footprint with a big impact,
Yes to a family vibe and an open bar,
Yes to seminars and panels for sharing ideas and inspiring each other and continually learning as much as we can,
Yes to being productive and progressive members of the indigo community interested in bringing sustainability to our industry.”
The show allows brands, designers, developers and trend forecasters to pick and choose the fabrics that will be sewn into the jeans (and other garments) we know and love.
Exhibiting were a number of names that we Denimheads will be very familiar with. Cone Mills was there with a generous offering of White Oak fabrics. Collect Mills were on show – known and famous for producing some of the world’s finest denim and bringing us both Momotaro and Japan Blue Jeans. Also present was the Italian mill, Candiani, who seemed to gain a celebrity status with their booth being packed like a rock concert throughout most of the event.
Slightly out there was the Umer Siddique Apparel Group (US Group) with their feather denim. Nope, that’s not feather light, that’s feathers being woven into the denim for the purpose of insulation. Mad right? But understandable when you know the denim expert/eccentric was working with the Pakistan-based mill to develop this unique denim. More info on this coming soon!
Blue Print Festival
Image by Team Peter Stigter
Blue Print Festival is the business to consumer accompaniment to Kingpins and is a celebration of all things denim. Lectures from the key individual in the denim industry such as Adriano Goldschmied, Shunji Ohashi (Denim Ninja), formally of Kaptial, and Floortje Dessing were among the experts who could engage and explain key elements of the industry to a fascinated audience.
Image by Team Peter Stigter and Matt Wilson
Inside the main hall, Denham had some of their finest “archive” pieces on show with a decidedly Japanese-themed stand. Kings of Indigo showcased their Triple-R collection with each item crafted from old stock. Lee jeans were on hand screen-printing T-Shirts. Nudie Jeans once again demonstrated their dedication to repairs with one of their team there to show us how it was done alongside some beautiful faded denim and some fine custom work. There was banner painting, tin type photography, indigo soft furnishings, the list goes on!
Outside the main hall, the blue avenue hosted the damn tasty coffee and catering laid on for the show as well as indigo dying demonstrations by Celia Geraedts in collaboration with Tenue de Nîmes.
Image by Team Peter Stigter and Matt Wilson
Blue Print Festival also looks to the future with a hall dedicated to innovation and sustainability. The Future of Denim hall exhibited projects from the Global Denim Awards, G-Star, Denim City and WSGN.
For many, the highlight of the show was the Market Place. Vintage dealers sat alongside outstanding local brands and the public had the opportunity to meet the makers and buy their wares.
In town, more than 40 locations in and around the city were mapped out for their outstanding goods. Not just denim but homewares, food and lifestyle also. The city of Amsterdam is wholeheartedly embracing its connection to the denim world and the Amsterdam Denim Days grow from strength to strength.