May 26, 2017 | By Samuel Trotman
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When it comes to denim in Europe, no city is quite as a blue as Amsterdam. The Dutch capital is home to major denim brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Denham, Scotch & Soda and G-Star as well as a gaggle of upcoming brands and start-ups that have flocked to the denim capital of Europe. What’s more, jean lovers in the Dutch capital claim the average Hollander owns at least seven pairs of jeans.
As Europe’s premier indigo purveyor, Amsterdam has been living up to its name as of late through its annual denim programme ‘Amsterdam Denim Days‘. Each year in spring, Amsterdam’s streets turn a deeper shades of indigo blue as the city plays host to a series of denim-related events for fashion-forward aficionados of denim. Professionals from the denim industry and all denim enthusiasts get together to celebrate all things indigo through a week long celebration of industry fairs, city centre retail events as well as a two day denim show dedicated to jeans culture.
Now in its third edition, Amsterdam Denim Days kicked off last week (April 11-17) with the seasonal Kingpins fabric fair, and the newborn trade show WHY by Kingpins, which both now counts Amsterdam as one of its international homes alongside New York and Hong Kong. The two day, invite-only, trade show draws denim designers and fabric specialists from the world over to flick through the latest denim fabrics from the top denim mills from around the globe. Throughout the vast hall of the Gashouder building inWestergasfabriek, you’ll find specialist denim providers like Cone Denim from the US, Kuroki from Japan, and Calik from Turkey amongst many others who showcase the latest technologies and fabric advancements that will be shaping your jeans in the next 2 years (AW 17-18 to be exact for this season’s event). Alongside this, the show hosts a number of industry focused denim seminars that highlight everything from new technologies and consumer insights to discussions on sustainability.
As you’d expect, the show attracted a denim heavy crowd who turned out in their best threads. Everyone from designers, to manufacturers, journalists and Amsterdam’s Jean School students were mingling and talking everything blue. And when the show doors closed at Kingpins, the party didn’t stop. Denim revellers headed into the city to explore the schedule of denim events throughout the vast portfolio of denim specialist retail stores in the city. Of course, Amsterdam’s premiere denim store, Tenue de Nîmes, hosted the best of all, a special party to celebrate the launch of a collection of special, hand-dyed, natural indigo, customized Converse Chuck 70 All Stars at their Haarlemmerstraat store.
The second half of the week opened up the denim festivities to the public with Blueprint, a two-day denim event with the best denim brands, seminars, expos, vintage treasure hunting, music, food & drinks. Held next to Kingpins at the popular Westergas area in Amsterdam, the annual show has become the ultimate denim experience for consumers, professionals and denim heads alike. Now in its third edition, the fair presented its best show to date that featured a programme of leading denim labels, special workshops, exclusive denim items and exhibitions.
Throughout the hall, visitors could interact and get their hands blue with the 30+ vendors. Local label’s like Kings of Indigo offered free custom denim service with iron-on patches, while Denham showcased live denim painting from Der Ver Azul and Scotch and Soda treated guests to culinary delights like Dutch stroop waffle’s. Other standouts from the show included Cone Denim’s 125th anniversary where they showcased rare pieces from the archive as well as London’s premiere vintage store The Vintage Show Room, who exhibited a special collection of vintage pieces from their showroom. Ian Berry’s denim portrait of iconic Formula-1 driver Ayrton Senna was a eye-catcher too.
The show is always a great place to pick up new upcoming brands and special releases. Some of the new labels we discovered included Bleu de Cocagne from France who presented their incredible selection of indigo (woad dyed) garments, and local denim atelier Leon from LEBL Denim who was tailoring denim pieces live at the show.
A few new books launched at Blueprint too, including Blue Blooded by Thomas Stege Bojer or denimhunters and also the hotly anticipated Book of Denim Vol.1 by Code magazine. Both are must-haves for any denim enthusiast library.
The next edition of Denim Days will be held in Spring of 2017, so keep your eyes peeled on the brands website for updates.
Images courteous of Team Peter Stigter for Amsterdam Denim Days and Kingpins.
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