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Blue Bloods Gather at Amsterdam Denim Days

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Collaboration, creativity and circularity were common themes at Denim Days, the two-day B2C festival in Amsterdam that followed Kingpins Amsterdam.

With many of the industry’s key players in town, the festival teed up opportunities for denim mills, dye specialists and consultants to give consumers a closer look into some of the processes and ingredients that go into making their jeans.

Italian chemical specialist Officina +39 tapped into fashion’s color boom with “Circular Explorations: Recipe for Change.” The collaborative and educational project with Cocircular Lab founder Adriana Galijasevic showcased how color can prolong the life of waste and deadstock products and how five values—consciousness, courage, creativity, connection and collaboration—are linked to lasting change.

For the project, companies like PVH Corp. donated items that were otherwise deemed overstock, second-grade production, damaged or unsellable to be updated with newly developed applications made with Officina +39’s Recycrom, a patented dyestuffs range made from textile waste. QR codes associated with five colors used throughout the capsule collection shared details on color research and how the hues were achieved.

“Our Reycrom technology combined with Adriana’s creative soul gave us the opportunity to explore new materials and applications, reducing impact on the environment and cutting down on water consumption,” said Luca Di Guida, Officina +39 R&D manager.

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Naveena Denim Mills teamed with U.K. studio Endrime to create a “Denim Art Club,” where attendees could paint denim canvases. The activation was part of how the mill educated consumers about its new Future Cellulosic collection made with Tencel fibers. Garments made with fabrics designed by Endrime were also on display.

Natural dye producer Terra linked up with local studio Blue Print Amsterdam to host psychedelic veggie socks dye workshops throughout the two days. There, visitors dyed their own pair of socks with dyes sourced from hibiscus, saffron, marigold and more, while Blueprint founder Celia Geraedts described the benefits of natural dyes.

Terra hosted a natural dye workshop.
Terra hosted a natural dye workshop.

Conversations also focused on circularity and investing in denim’s sustainable future.

During a “Denim Talk” moderated by Tricia Carey, Tencel director of global business development denim and Americas, experts shared the environmental challenges and wins they see for the industry. Simply Suzette founder Ani Wells said one of the biggest issues is how to achieve a stream of waste that can be used to create a circular system—and how to do it so brands can ensure durable, high-quality circular products for the end consumer.

“It’s not always the most commercial part it, but it’s reality that we have 50 million tons of textile apparel that [are] discarded every year, and how are we going to address that,” Carey added.

The industry is moving the needle, however. Compared to a decade ago, when suppliers collectively described sustainable alternatives as difficult and expensive, Kings of Indigo founder Tony Tonnaer said “everyone is on board” with sustainability now.

While events like Denim Days are helping the cause, Tonnaer said getting retailers and consumers to take a proactive role in demanding sustainable and attractive products is the next challenge to overcome.