Jul 20, 2017 | By Samuel Trotman
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Stylesight’s denim team has just returned from Amsterdam where we presented some of the forthcoming S/S 14 trends at Modefabriek. The presentation was held in Blueprint, the shows dedicated denim room full of both international and local Dutch brands. We took a look around to find out the latest news from cities bustling denim scene.
Now in its 6th season, Modefabriek’s Blueprint room has been steadily building a strong portfolio of like-minded denim brands from across Europe and Netherlands. Its small scale approach and focus on re-injecting authenticity and craftsmanship into the process makes it appealing to both international labels like Nudie, Lee and Kuyichi as well as local budding Dutch labels. Unlike some of the larger scale trade shows on the European denim calendar, Blueprint’s intimate space creates a friendly ‘truckers vibe’ where exhibitors and designers are often just as interested in each other’s products and stories as visitors are. This friendly environment is clearly visible through the honest collaborative approach each brand shows, which really gives their products the best opportunity to shine.
Fashion recruitment and consultancy firm, HTNK presented a curated space showcasing some of Amsterdam’s homegrown talent that included denim labels like MickKeus, Olaf Hussein (watch out for brand profiles soon) as well as a selection of students from the House of Denim who presented some of the results from their first year.
Upcoming Dutch labels Benzak Denim Developers, Tulip Jeans and Mr. Handy Denim Repair collaborated together to create a small-scale atelier that presented their handcrafted approach to denim. Jesper Remmerswaal of Tulip shared his passion of old industrial machinery bringing in his 6900 Union Special belt loop and a 101 Reece keyhole machine where he demonstrated to visitors how he makes his Tulip Jeans. Another live craft project on the stand came from Melvin Rakers of Mr. Handy Denim Repair who also brought in some of his vintage machinery to show off his repair skills. Meanwhile, Lennaert Nijh of BDD showcased a small exhibition of work-in-progress fades on his dry Japanese denims. Lennaert also took the initiative take direct orders via his BDD crowdfunding page which you can help support here (39 hours left so act quick).
The international well-known jeans-collector from Switzerland, Ruedi Karrer (aka Swiss Jeans Freak) of The Swiss Jeans Museum, presented part of his unique and extensive denim collection in celebration of its 40th anniversary. For readers who are unfamiliar with Ruedi, he has been collecting vintage denim since 1973 in his local town of Graubünden. Over the years he has collected an amazing collection of denim via internet auctions, travelling, second hand stores and flea markets, which has amounted to over 12,000 pieces!
Anyone who spent 5 minutes on Ruedi’s stand would have no doubt experienced his overwhelming passion for denim and obsessive knowledge. His acute eye for authentic fades (selected judge for Iron Hearts 25OZ fade contest) and hard-to-find pieces has encouraged Ruedi to pick up some of the most rare items from the likes of Levi’s, Lee, Wrangler, Big Star, Carhartt, Diesel, Edwin. The expo of heavy fades was curated by Wouter Munnichs (www.long-john.nl) and was split into The Big 3 Jackets (vintage truckers from ’50s, ’60s and ’70s), The New Ones (fades from newcomer jeans in the denim market) and Oldies (featuring the big 3 Levi’s, Lee and Wrangler). Here’s some quotes from the man himself on a few of the key pieces on show at Blueprint:
“These jeans came from a Japanese student I saw in Utrecht while having lunch with friends. I skipped my meal and ran out across the street to stop him and I told him I need to have these! We couldn’t communicate because of the language barrier so I had to make a sign on my watch of a time to meet me back at this spot later in the day. So I called my boss and told him I have top skip the afternoon at work, met the guy later and convinced him after 4 hours to leave the jeans with me. I gave him a pair of original Levi’s ’70s jeans made in France – it was hard for me to let them go but I knew I must have these ones.”
“These I have broken in myself, two and half years and never washed. I have 3 steps to breaking in my denim: First I wear them in the office, then when I notice people are starting to flee away from me then I know to downgrade to my leisure pant for biking and walking in the mountains. And then when they are really falling apart, they are nearly ready for the final stage which is as my work pant to be used out in the forest for construction work. And in the last stage I don’t care if they are dirty, smelly, whatever because they don’t enter back into the living room I just throw them in the bunk house, I take a shower and then switch to my new jeans.”
“This is 60 years old, blanket lined Big E Levi’s, never washed for at least 5-7 years from anAmerican man in the rocky mounytains. You can see with love he was wearing it over the years and it was still functional because the blanket was still intact even though the outer denim was completely destroyed. You can still see some of the original indigo on the yoke.”
“I did this expo because I want to keep the spirit of raw denim alive for the younger generation. I hope that by showing these authentic fades they will understand the evolution and by sharing my passion it will wear of on them too.”
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