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How Amsterdam is Proving Itself as a Denim City

Mariette Hoitink, HTNK founder and a co-founder of Amsterdam Denim Days, says a lot of cities and countries like to claim denim as its own, however, Amsterdam is changing the way it is sourced, designed, sold and celebrated with Amsterdam Denim Days (April 11-17).

“Amsterdam Denim Days is the unique combination of a business-to-business platform which fluently goes into a business-to-consumer event for denim professionals and denim lovers of all kind from around the globe,” Hoitink said of the one-of-a-kind event.

What started as a three-day event in 2014, driven by the House of Denim initiative to foster the denim industry and the arrival of Kingpins Amsterdam, has turned into a week-long extravaganza that begins this year with Transformers, the Kingpins-sponsored conference series focused on the environmental and social challenges and solutions. The seminar is followed by the invite-only Kingpins trade show showcasing A/W 2017-2018 denim, as well as WHY by Kingpins, the first-ever trade show focused on labels, trims and other branding components for the denim sector.

Amsterdam Denim Days culminates with Blueprint, the two-day denim festival and meeting place for trade and consumers. “Kingpins functions at the heart as well as at the starting point of all this, but Amsterdam Denim Days offers also a lot of events open to all jeans lovers,” Hoitink said.

Rivet spoke to Hoitink about the development of Amsterdam Denim Days, its champions and what it means to Amsterdam to be a blue city.

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RIVET: What has been some of the major investments the city has made to support the denim industry?
Hoitink: House of Denim started in 2009 as a foundation to make the denim world smarter, brighter cleaner and the city supported House of Denim to build the first denim innovation campus in the world named Denim City.

RIVET: How important has Kingpins been to the creation of Amsterdam Denim Days?
Hoitink: By having Kingpins come to Amsterdam, we get next to the mills at the start of the supply chain where most of the innovation takes place. Kingpins is a big supporter of House of Denim, Jean School and Denim City. We share the same values and passion for denim.

RIVET: Are events like Transformers and Amsterdam Denim Days helping consumers make wiser purchasing decisions?
Hoitink: Our industry will become totally transparent in the coming years and consumers want to know more and more where their clothes come from and how they are made. The mills and manufacturers invest every day in innovative solutions, but the end consumer still has to learn and understand that they have to pay more for an honest and pure product.

RIVET: How does Amsterdam put its own mark on denim?
Hoitink: In Amsterdam, it’s all about craftsmanship, innovation and sustainability.

RIVET: Who have been some champions for the local denim scene?
Hoitink: G-Star RAW, Scotch & Soda, Denham the Jeanmaker, Kings of Indigo, one man brands like Benzak Denim Developers and Mick Keus, but also the store owners of Tenue de Nimes and Butcher of Blue which are well known in the local and global denim industry.

RIVET: What is it about denim that speaks to the city’s population?
Hoitink: In Amsterdam, it’s casual Friday every day. You can wear denim on every kind of occasion and with any kind of style.