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Amsterdam Denim Days CEO on Rebooting the Consumer-Facing Festival

Amsterdam Denim Days, the two-day shopping and educational festival that connects consumers to denim artisans, global brands and the supply chain, is returning on April 22-23 after a two-year covid hiatus. The event, set to take place at De Hallen and Denim City, will follow Kingpins’ return to live trade shows April 20-21 at Sugar City.

Lucel van den Hoeven, Amsterdam Denim Days CEO, anticipates an atmosphere not unlike a family reunion. “People really love to gather. We want to tell our stories and meet each other again,” he said.

And in the process, the event aims to help reignite Amsterdam’s struggling denim retail sector.

“Our hope is that we’ll get back that energy of touching and feeling denim, because that didn’t die,” he said. “[The industry] has continued to work on how to get better and how to get more unique.”

Like retail, which has been battered by closures, curfews and sharp decline in tourism, live event organizers in Amsterdam have also dealt with one blow after another.

“It’s [been] a hell of a ride last two years,” van den Hoeven said. Organizers have been in a cycle of planning, canceling, and rescheduling the festival due to changing covid restrictions in Amsterdam, while ramping up efforts to connect the denim community through online events.

Amsterdam Denim Days, the two-day shopping and educational festival, is returning after a two-year covid hiatus on April 22-23.
Amsterdam Denim Days Tim van Cappellen/Courtesy

Fatigue from digital-only events, however, is kicking in. “In the beginning, we thought [digital] was the future, but I think now we have come to a different opinion,” he said.

Denim Day’s online platform—be it videos, webinars or written content—has revealed a greater interest in fashion processes, and the content that touches on sustainability performs the best.

“People are really interested in the story behind the denim,” van den Hoeven said.

The event, which organizers are calling the “market edition,” will center on small brands and young designers as well as workshops and talks featuring leading denim players. This focus on fresh talent echoes the denim industry’s greater shift to one-of-a-kind designs, local production, handcrafted garments and sustainability in general.

“Hopefully, our event and our online platform will help consumers be more aware,” he said.