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Bill Curtin On Energizing New York’s Denim Industry With Blueprint

“Trade shows are like nightclubs,” said Bill Curtin, owner of BPD Washhouse. “They have to be reinvented to stay fresh.”

Curtin wants to bring newness to the New York denim scene with Blueprint, a new intimate and interactive trade show for denim mills, local producers, pattern makers and even denim brands. The show will be held in the Meatpacking District from June 24-25, and as Curtin reported, is getting a positive response from mills regularly on the show circuit and those that are not.

“Everyone is hungry for something new,” he said. “People are open to new ideas.”

It’s a curated and “more manageable” concept that Curtin has been floating around for a while, having experienced trade shows as both a vendor and a visitor. “I’ve interviewed a lot of attendees and vendors to find out what’s missing from trade shows,” he said. Ultimately, he found that it was productivity.

Curtin said Blueprint is designed for doing business. The goal, he explained, is to have all of the supply chain materials in one place. “You’ll be able to sit down, review the line and talk to the mills,” he said of the toned down, relaxed show. “People will be able to check off their entire list.”

By scheduling the show for the end of June, Curtin said attendees will get the full scope, as mills will likely have their entire A/W 16-17 collection ready to present.

Calik, Orta Anadolu, Raymond UCO, Grandtex, Mount Vernon, IPU142 d.b.a ITOCHU Prominent USA, Tyfountex, Eratex and Sota Style have signed on for the inaugural show. Curtin said he wanted mills that complement each other, ensuring some are mid to low and others are mid to high. Likewise, he said some are indigo specialists, while others are great at color. The show will also have a dedicated space for designers and brands to meet with New York-based pattern makers, sewing contractors and sample producers to jump start business.

Mills are encouraged to have rolls of denim they want to promote available so they can have leg tubes sewn up on site and ready to be washed at BPD Washhouse. Attendees will have an opportunity to take part in denim washhouse classes put on by BPD technicians, who are essentially recreating a portable facility at the event. Technicians will teach visitors how to do hand sanding, grinding, paint splatter and more.

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Vintage denim from BPD’s library will also be available for purchase, for business and personal use. Proceeds will benefit #DenimDoingGood. And good times will be had at pre- and post-show parties for the industry to catch up and mingle.

Initially, Curtin said he hoped to hold the show close to the BPD Washhouse in Jersey City, New Jersey, so attendees could visit both. However, getting people to leave the island isn’t easy, he said. Plus, he added, “New York is a big city. It should have more than one denim show.”