Amsterdam’s Denim Days Festival returns to its physical format April 22-23, inviting denim makers and fans to gather at De Hallen and Denim City to shop, meet and learn.
Described as the “market edition,” the event will shine a spotlight on independent designers, artisans, and local brands. The program includes workshops, customization opportunities, vintage shopping and the education series “Denim Talks” sponsored by Lenzing’s Carved in Blue.
“The Dutch have always had a love for denim and that got strengthened by the presence of some big brand names that created a lot of jobs in the denim business,” said Sander van de Vecht, owner of Denim.lab and a Denim Days exhibitor. “Adding some cultural reasons and being in central Europe, it attracts a lot of people from around the world to settle here and find a job in the denim industry.”
Circular Dutch label Mud Jeans will bring its denim shredder to give a live demonstration on how to shred jeans. The brand takes back worn-out jeans to recycle, or give a second life to denim in good condition. At Denim Days, visitors can buy a selection of pre-owned jeans, while getting sneak peek of a new collaboration with The Van Gogh Museum. The capsule collection includes laser-printed jeans and jackets made with hemp and post-consumer recycled denim.
Officina+39 will invite visitors to apply its circular Recycrom dyestuffs on secondhand garments. The event is an opportunity to break the invisible wall that usually stands between the supply chain and the end consumer and build trust, said Andrea Venier, Officina+39 CEO. “We can become more [conscientious of] what [consumers] are looking for, they can get more consciousness on the processes [behind] the final products,” he said.
Accessories maker Sir Redman will launch a collection of six denim suspenders and two bowties made in collaboration with Candiani Denim. Each suspender is finished with premium chrome-free tanned grain leather and is made entirely by hand in the Netherlands. “The authentic style arises from passion, craftsmanship, and more than 50 years of experience,” a brand rep stated. “With the utmost precision and attention to design, they create eye-catchers that no one can ignore.”
Vintage enthusiasts will enjoy CKX Studio’s curated collection of vintage and antique clothing, artwork and home accessories. “The vintage denim market is one that’s definitely on the rise in the Netherlands,” said Harmony Hendrickx, CKX Studio owner, noting that interest in sustainable options, handcrafted goods and local production is on rise.
The studio will offer “lots of old workwear” from the U.S., France and Japan, jeans with the “big E and more” and handmade indigo pieces.
The Dutch denim market’s strength lies in its diversity and clear segmentation, according to Johan van de Berg, co-founder of Indigo People. “There are many brands, from small one-man-brands to huge international brands, offering a wide range of denim products that cover the denim market from the authentic jeanswear to young streetwear,” he said.
Indigo People will focus on the artisan side of the business when it showcases natural indigo dyed scarves in ikat weaving and natural indigo dyed bandanas in batik print. All products are handcrafted by traditional artisan communities in Asian countries where batik printing, ikat weaving and indigo dyeing have been practiced for generations, he added.
Despite adjusting to online formats during the pandemic, the return of in-person events is a welcome development for most. “It is extremely important to connect, to meet in person, get inspired, get noticed and to collaborate,” said Ewout Key Rameijer, Amsterdenim CEO.
The Amsterdam-based label will bring an exclusive collaboration with Rotterdam-based IF Denim to the festival. The line of upcycled products spans on-trend bucket hats and ties made from old stock of Amsterdenim jeans.
Love Denim, which opened its own U.K. factory last year, will travel to Amsterdam to showcase its distinct contemporary designs including Japanese selvedge jeans and indigo-dyed workwear-inspired jackets and trousers.
Along with being more accessible for smaller brands than large trade events, Denim Days tees up opportunities for business owners to connect—a factor that is uniquely important to the industry.
As the owner and designer of the emerging brand Hargan Denim, Reagan Marelle Begley said visibility can be difficult to gain in a sea of blue and big names. “Amsterdam Denim Days gives the exposure needed to build connections with buyers, suppliers, consumers, even future employees,” she said.
The full Spring 2022 Hargan Denim collection—made from repurposed denim—will be available at the festival, including new color ways, three new fits for women and the brand’s first-ever men’s line.
Children’s wear will be a focal point for Denim.lab at Denim Days. The brand will offer its Mini.lab collection of premium selvedge denim collection for kids. The range includes a mix of jeans and jackets in dry and washed fabrics. It will also make available deadstock selvedge and special indigo fabrics from “the best mills around the world,” van de Vecht said. The fabrics are usually only available online by meter.
“Denim people have always been more like-minded and possibly more social compared to the general fashion industry, there is no competition—everybody collaborates and shares their ideas,” Denim.lab’s van de Vecht said. “It is one big indigo family.”