Menno van Meurs vouches for quality over quantity.
The owner of two successful denim stores in Amsterdam, Menno van Meurs has a major passion for denim, but doesn’t pander to trends, holding the belief that clothes in Tenue de Nîmes stores are meant to last.
He even goes so far as to encourage shoppers to buy fewer clothes while paying more for quality provided. Van Meurs said amid the lockdown period from Covid-19, Tenue de Nîmes learned shoppers only need a handful of products, such as a pair of jeans and a few T-shirts to go about their lives.
With that in mind, van Meurs feels that during a crisis, consumers will go for quality, not quantity, and their shopping habits will center on products they trust.
What will the denim industry be like in the next 18 months?
The denim industry will still be in a state of recovery. I also foresee a big shake-out of the business. Lots of companies have been taking big hits in the last few months. This will affect the next one and a half years. All smart companies will go back to basics and bet on their top sellers. Nothing wild will hit the stores, I believe. Looking ahead, I also think that’s exactly what we should be doing: make fewer SKUs, make better stuff and get the consumer to embrace one amazing product rather than 10 mediocre ones.
What changes would you like to see in the denim industry as a result of Covid-19?
We need to rethink the entire food chain. How is it possible that we have been so dependent on countries on the other side of the globe? If you look at the production chain, a garment (or its components) has crossed the globe multiple times before the consumer buys it. That system can't be sustainable. We should embrace local production now more than ever. We should source local fabrics, and build the product as close to home as possible. I sincerely hope this pandemic has taught us that we should take another look at all those beautiful European factories that have been suffering badly from the fact that brands went to the East.
How do you define sustainability in a post-pandemic world?
We need to relook at how we produce our jeans. For instance, we should use more recycled fabrics and we have to continue to look for less demanding ways to process jeans. In other words: we should define how we can make the product and its ingredients sustainable, step-by-step.
Also, we should provide the consumer with the right information. At the end of the day, the consumer is in full control. If they turn their back on brands which are unwilling to make a change, the consumer will force the denim business to take a turn. It excites me to see the speed at which the food industry is changing, with organic food and meat replacements. I feel that fashion could and should be next. We should actively show the consumer the difference between right and wrong, so they can take the right decision.
Describe your dream jeans.
I see my dream jean becoming a reality within our Tenue. denim brand. I’ve been working in this industry for 22 years and in my collection, I’ve tried to combine my love for traditional denim and my view on jeans of the future. It is my mission to learn from the past, source the best possible fabrics and look for traditional ways of producing my jeans to make them last a lifetime. When we combined that with a modern take on old-school denim pattern making, something magical happened.
Name one word that best describes denim.
Sustainability. And I believe there is nothing more sustainable than finding that one perfect pair of jeans that will last for years, and is so beautiful the owner wants to keep on repairing them. Dream jeans require fewer purchases, which ultimately creates a better world.