Jan 17, 2018 | By Samuel Trotman
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Back in January of this year, NYC kicked off textile week with the intimate yet renowned denim Kingpins show, with over 60 global exhibitors in attendance. Artistic Fabric Mills treated their visitors to a collection of very rare denim books from Loomchatter group Henry Wong’s library, which caused some real excitement in the denim community.
A truly great denim book comes along very rarely, but when they do indigo enthusiasts snap them up straight away. The past 30 years has produced just a select number of releases that range from historical references through to denim culture or even surrounding subjects on indigo or Japanese craft. The past year alone has seen another two amazing releases including Denim Dudes and True Fit by Viktor Fredback. Some of the best releases on the WGSN denim teams library include rare and hard to finds like Cone Denim’s Denim Legends, This is a Pair of Levi’s, Jeans of the Old West, Vintage King and cult classics like Karl Weinberger’s Rebel Youth.
But no other denim library quite competes with that of Henry Wong of Loomchatter Group. As the director of product development and marketing of Artistic Fabric Mills (one of the leading suppliers of premium denim), Henry is one of the most knowledgeable and enthusiastic denim dudes we know in the industry. So knowledgeable is Henry, that he and some of his pals from respective corners of the blue world set up Loomchatter to help further the knowledge of denim and indigo amongst other enthusiasts. Their collective experience in the industry has allowed them to amass this comprehensive library of denim books.
The collection consists of topics ranging from antiquarian swatch catalogs to modern denim fashion coffee table releases with a healthy representation of indigo dyestuff and mill history in between. The January 2015 edition of Kingpins was the first time this exciting library has ever been exhibited and the AFM’s product development team had edited the selection specifically for their guests attending the show. Designers and product developers were invited to use the library as starting points for new trend directions or to add dimensions to existing concepts. We spoke to Henry on the library:
Can you tell us a little bit behind the collection and how it came about?
“The library serves as a comprehensive survey of denim and indigo literature covering topics such as cotton history, indigo history, mill history, loom diagrams, inspirational images, and antique swatch books. It has taken a decade to get this far and it will take another hundred years to get it to a point I am satisfied with. And probably even then I would not consider it complete”.
We love the book on vintage labels, what are some of your favourite pieces from the library?
“My favorites pieces are those books that shed light on burning questions. When did synthetic indigo overtake natural indigo, especially for denim? Where indigo come from during the World Wars? It excites me to know that the library can serve as a starting point to answer many obscure questions that a denim enthusiast may have. And of course there are those beautiful, modern coffee table books full of inspirational denim and indigo images.”
About Artistic Fabric Mills and Artistic Garment Industries
Artistic Fabric Mills (AFM) and Artistic Garment Industries (AGI) are one of the leading suppliers of premium denim fabrics and garments in the world. With a large-scale, fully vertical denim operation based in Karachi, Pakistan, the company produces some of the most innovative denim products for top jean brands.
About the Loomchatter Group
The Loomchatter Group is a collective of denim enthusiasts whose sole purpose is furthering the knowledge of denim and indigo. Its members live and work around the globe and meet to share research from their respective corners of the blue world.
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