Worth an estimated $90 billion, the denim industry is a major cash crop with massive influence and responsibility. Its reach, which spans virtually every country and time zone, makes collaboration a necessary—but challenging—part of business.
Denim Room was designed to facilitate collaboration and serve as a microcosm of the industry, complete with denim veterans and newcomers alike. Powered by Tmall Global, the activation was led by Atelier & Repairs co-founder Maurizio Donadi and featured conversations with CEOs, designers, sustainability experts and other influencers throughout the denim industry.
One standout panel brought together Donadi, Denim Dudes founder Amy Leverton and Rivet president and founder Edward Hertzman, who highlighted key findings from Rivet’s state-of-the-industry denim report, Blueprint 2020. The conversation covered challenges the industry is currently facing, including how to balance sustainability with profitability, as well as social and political factors influencing the ways denim is produced and sold. Notably, panelists discussed trends that could potentially result in the end of the billion-dollar denim brand.
“There’s been a big shift in the industry, and I don’t see it going backwards at all,” Leverton told the audience. “I’m excited to see some of the greed and huge corporations pull back.”
Denim Room was a destination for brands of all sizes to display their collections and get in front of retailers, media representatives and others who could help amplify their message—as was the case for first-time exhibitor Trinidad3, a Los Angeles-based brand founded by military veteran Trinidad Garcia III.
“We were definitely excited to be in the presence of all of the major labels and retailers in one spot, at one time,” said Garcia. “To be able to have the option to tell our story to the industry itself, in person, was something that we felt was important and needed to be achieved.”
Garcia made the most of his brand’s presence at the show, participating in a panel with Leverton, speaking with members of the media and debuting a new product—which won the Rivet Award for Best Showpiece—all within the confines of Denim Room.
“We had one shot to do PROJECT—and we had severely limited funds—so we knew whatever we did, it had to count,” he said. “From receiving coverage by some of the largest media outlets in the industry to having some of the nation’s most sought-after retailers spend plentiful time in the collection with us, we hit the proverbial nail on the head our first time out.”
Other PROJECT newcomers included BDG, Tommy Jeans and Modern American, with returning brands such as 7 For All Mankind and G-Star Raw coming together to present their latest pieces in one shared space. Representatives used the platform to discuss their newest innovations, which focused primarily on sustainability.
“We put together a brand mix that covered the premium dual-gender market where most, if not all, brands promoted their efforts in being responsible by reducing their impact on the environment,” said Lizette Chin, president of of men’s fashion at Informa, the company behind PROJECT.
One of the show’s most sustainable denim brands—and winner of the Rivet Award’s Best Sustainable Collection—was G-Star Raw, which featured its fully Cradle-to-Cradle certified gold products made with 100 percent recyclable materials and sustainable design methods. Every part of the jeans, from pocketing, labels, threads, interlining and prints—is Cradle-to-Cradle certified and created with circularity in mind.
Also driving home the message of sustainability was the Artifact Collection, a display of 100 unique denim pieces curated by Donadi and centrally located in Denim Room. The installation featured “forgotten” denim pieces—samples that were never produced, pieces that were commercial flops, and limited-quantity denim—that he collected over the course of 30 years to show how fashion trends change over time, and how they can even become more relevant as time goes on.
This and more contributed to Denim Room’s theme of collaboration.
“By bringing together community, education, media and experience, our focus was to put a spotlight on the denim community,” said Chin. “With Maurizio Donadi as our ambassador along with Rivet and Denim Dudes, there was a constant renewed energy which was palpable. The Denim Room was a success, and we will be building and supporting the denim community moving forward.”
Apply to attend or exhibit in the next installation of Denim Room at PROJECT.
PROJECT New York: July 19-21, 2020 | PROJECT Las Vegas: August 17-20, 2020