May 17, 2017 | By Samuel Trotman
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The Netherlands ever-growing denim scene is further highlighted this month with the opening of an exhibition dedicated solely to the rich history of blue jeans at the renowned Centraal Museum in Utrecht.
Worn for more than 150 years and with roots tracing back to the 17th century, denim (de Nîmes) has become an iconic symbol of the working uniform, and more recently streetwear that can be found in almost every wardrobe. From its humble beginnings as functional utility wear to its repetitive reference on international runways, the modern and innovative appeal of the unique fabric has not wavered.
Launching November 23, the Centraal Museum in Netherlands will present the first large-scale exhibition on this iconic fabric. Spanning across various themes and rooms, the exhibition displays new work by renowned artists, combined with national and international loan pieces, showcasing both craftsmanship and innovative technology. The show includes the traditional 19th century Levi’s for miners, Jurgen Bey’s window installation commissioned by Levi’s RED and Dutch design label Droog, as well as designs by Chanel, Jean Paul Gaultier, Maison Martin Margiela, Marithé + François Girbaud, and Yves Saint Laurent.
The exhibition showcases the experimental and creative side of jeans, as well as celebrates the homegrown talent of the Netherlands with contributions from internationally renowned Dutch labels such as G-Star and DENHAM. Special attention is reserved for national and international subcultures, exploring the phenomenon of jeans as well as the individuality and intimacy that wearers have grown to love. As some of the biggest concerns in the industry today, sustainability and ethics are also tackled, with alternative production techniques including zero water waste and ozone treatments highlighted throughout the exhibition.
A unique section of the show, the Blue Jeans Studio pays tribute to the old practice of repair and craftsmanship, creating a place where left-behind jeans can be transformed into designer pieces. In the studio, visitors are invited to get their hands blue and use actual equipment from the jean industry. Various workshops are also scheduled that offer denim lovers the chance to learn handcrafted and bespoke techniques from industry experts including local Amsterdam artisan Atelier Tossijn.
Blue Jeans is on display from November 23, 2012 through March 10, 2013 at Centraal Museum Utrecht (NL).
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