Since its inception in 2004, Kingpins has set out to unify the denim industry—and it’s continuing that mission now more than ever. This week, the denim trade show organizer announced two digital initiatives that will help bring the industry together in light of the Covid-19 pandemic: the return of Kingpins24 in September—this time geared toward a Canadian audience—and a digital marketplace and showroom set to launch in October.
Kingpins24 Canada, the organizer’s digital alternative to the traditional Kingpins show, will take place on Sept. 22 at 12 p.m. ET, co-presented by Canada-based Ani Wells, founder of Simply Suzette, Vivian Wang, Kingpins Show’s managing director, and Andrew Olah, founder of Kingpins Show and Kingpins24.
Though previous Kingpins24 events in April and June were upwards of eight hours and lasted multiple days, this edition will provide shorter, “bite-sized” content to sustain participants between the larger seasonal events.
“Kingpins continues to explore digital ideas and opportunities and we are excited to collaborate with Ani on Kingpins24 Canada,” said Olah. “As a Canadian, it is refreshing for me to be able to shine a spotlight on my homeland—which rarely features in conversations about denim but is home to a lot of interesting and engaged denim players.”
The event will showcase a combination of live and pre-recorded content that focuses on new models of business, future-proofing brick-and-mortar retail, and circularity in denim design.
Sharing their insights are industry experts such as Adriano Goldschmied, designer and consultant Malin Ekengren, Denim Dudes founder Amy Leverton, Naked & Famous founder Brandon Svarc, Fashion Takes Action founder Kelly Drennan, Retail Council of Canada senior director Philippe Cantin, and Sustainable Strategies & Solutions founder Sabine Weber.
Olah also announced the upcoming launch of Kingpins Exchange, a new online denim marketplace and digital denim showroom platform created in partnership with Materials Exchange. The companies first announced their partnership in July, when they discussed plans for a platform that would complement Kingpins’ physical shows and allow exhibitors to showcase their textiles year-round. The digital format gives denim brands tools for sourcing denim and denim-related fabrics in real-time and allows them to view detailed product data whenever they need it. Olah likened the platform to the “Netflix” of materials sourcing.
While Kingpins24 will be a destination to “share ideas, innovation, inspiration and education,” Olah noted that Kingpins Exchange is an initiative to “serve our community’s supply chain sourcing needs.” Both initiatives make Olah optimistic about the future of the in-person Kingpins event, which he predicts will look different as the industry continues to embrace sustainability in new ways.
“Meeting in-person will be more appreciated than ever before when the shows return, but perhaps when we do meet again, it will be with fewer swatches and samples,” he said. “Maybe booths will be replaced or enhanced with 10-foot walls of TV screens—who knows? With Kingpins Exchange, we hope to make that vision a reality.”