Turning over a new decade marks a moment for new beginnings—and opportunities.
Ushering in the next evolution of denim is PROJECT’S DENIM ROOM, a creative collective debuting at this year’s PROJECT Las Vegas and New York shows. Maurizio Donadi, of Atelier & Repairs, will act as brand ambassador and creative director of DENIM ROOM, co-hosting this fusion of heritage and next-gen men’s and dual-gender brands.
Together with the industry’s fashion creatives, DENIM ROOM will gather today’s cultural and fashion protagonists to instigate a larger dialogue on issues and topics relevant to the denim world, such as cultural drivers, ethics and responsibility. DENIM ROOM will also serve as a hub of innovation and a creative space where men’s and women’s denim and fashion communities can converge.
Donadi said he was grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with PROJECT for the launch of DENIM ROOM. “This space is meant to inspire, provoke, disrupt and build a new way of looking at the denim industry with creativity and a profound sense of responsibility,” he noted.
DENIM ROOM utilizes PROJECT’s core tenets of community, education, media and experience as its foundational basis through which Donadi will commission a full suite of content programming and activations. Attendees will experience never-before-seen celebrity denim art installations, curated archives of recycled one-of-a-kind denim pieces, and an explosion of content ranging from studio shoots to a denim-specific educational forum, Denim Conversations.
“Together in 2020, we will introduce four activations built to progressively redefine the role and importance of denim during a moment of crucial environmental and social change,” Donadi said. “The aim of DENIM ROOM is to inspire our industry—designers, manufacturers, marketing and commercial teams, students and CEOs—by bringing new values to the business of denim, from responsible design to clean manufacturing as well as product conceptualization and alternative retail formats.”
The three activations include the following:
Denim Lounge (Las Vegas): A fully fabricated content studio lounge—and the area where all original content will be shot—will serve as the central hub of creativity and community for DENIM ROOM.
Denim Archives (Las Vegas): Donadi will curate a denim art gallery featuring personally owned and signed, one-of-a-kind vintage denim pieces from celebrities and fashion icons, open to auction with a charitable donation from proceeds.
DENIM ROOM Conversations (Las Vegas): Rooted in the success of The N:OW Forum, Donadi, Rivet and Amy Leverton of Denim Dudes will create a full suite of educational content, including trend presentations, panels and workshops. Sessions and discussions will feature insight from both seasoned veterans and emerging players in the denim industry.
Buyers are gearing up for a productive event just as denim is gaining traction at retail. A rebound in apparel sales is anticipated for 2021, according to The NPD Group, and denim is expected to play a big role in this, NPD industry analyst Maria Rugolo said.
“The men’s business has been changing really quickly, and one of the things that’s great about the shows is that you can see everything moving quickly along with it,” Ken Giddon, president of men’s boutique Rothmans, said. “We love being surrounded by like-minded retailers and we love seeing our vendors here willing to talk business.”
Preston Souza of gender-neutral clothing store THE PHLUID PROJECT echoed this sentiment. “The robust programming with the panels and speakers [are] very innovative and great resources for retailers and brands alike,” Souza said. “I get to see everything I would ever need to see, and learn a lot along the way.”
Returning exhibitors include such companies as 7 for All Mankind, Blank NYC, Mavi, Fidelity Denim, DL 1961 Premium Denim, Lucky Brand, Silver Jeans Co. and Rock Revival, while first-timers include Liverpool Los Angeles at the New York show, and G-Star RAW and BDG Urban Outfitters at the Las Vegas show. Cotton Citizen will also make its PROJECT debut this year.