As Amsterdam stakes its territory as Europe’s denim capital, Rivet caught up with three retailers designing and selling denim in the city. Each have made a name for themselves in the denim world with concepts that pay homage to tradition while focusing on products built for the future.
Tenue de Nîmes
What began as a passion project by René Strolenberg and Menno van Meurs to bring better denim labels to Holland has become a wildly successful destination in Amsterdam for Levi’s Vintage, Acne, Momotaro and unique collaborations with Japan Blue, Denham and Converse, to name a few.
Tenue de Nîmes shouldn’t have worked. As Strolenberg noted, the first store of three stores was launched during the height of the global financial crisis in 2008 when banks stopped lending to small business owners. Instead, he and van Meurs turned to friends and family who believed in their concept: selling quality denim and carefully selected item to go with it. By zeroing in on one group and one product, Strolenberg said they have been able to create a warm and inviting space that slows down the speed of shopping and keeps customers in their stores longer.
“When we started, it was out of passion for what we were doing. We want to work with that going forward,” Strolenberg said.
Tenue de Nîmes is seven months into its next project, selling its own collection of European-made men’s denim on a new online platform. The line will launch online in July at prices comparable to the brands Tenue de Nîmes stocks. Strolenberg said the company “needs more practice” before it considers launching women’s.
He added that they have no plans make it available for wholesale, as the goal is to keep the quality high and the cost low. “Lots of brands are held up by investments and the amount of money they have to make. We can talk about quality if we can lower the price and not have to think about mark-ups,” he explained.
While Strolenberg admits that transparency is a marketing tool, he believes that only good things can come from it. “It’s like food. People don’t necessarily need to know if it’s good or bad, but they want to know where it comes from,” he said, adding that the more consumers know about the denim, the more they’ll understand about the cost and the price of their jeans.