Last week was all about denim. At least this was the case in Amsterdam. The Amsterdam Denim Days took place from 13-18 April, including events like the fabric trade show Kingpins, the end-comsumer show Blueprint, the official opening of Denim City and many more denim-related happenings throughout the city.

The Blueprint event held at the Westergasfabriek started successfully on Friday. The two-day denim festival offered end-consumers and industry experts a balanced program of exhibiting brands (Amsterdams Blauw, K.O.I, Denham), workshops, panel discussions as well as culinary and musically entertainment.

This edition of Blueprint seemed even more interactive than the previous edition. Visitors could for example create their own bandanas. The Blue Print Amsterdam Print Studio taught interested people the art of Katazome, a traditional Japanese dye technique. Another workshop by Facing West offered to learn a traditional Japanese stitching technique.

Right in the entrance area visitors couldn’t overhear the loud noise of the Candiani weaving machine. In collaboration with Amsterdam’s local schools AMFI and Jean School the Italian premium denim mill manufacturer Candiani demonstrated visitors the whole production process, from stitch to jeans. Candiani`s shuttle loom weaved the fabric and a team of young students transformed the fabric into 5-pocket jeans.

Isko presented the creative hub Art&Indigo at Blueprint in cooperation with artist Skulljan, Tonello, Creative Room and C&S. Skulljan presented illustrations, while Tonello, specialist in finishings, lasered these illustrations on Isko denim fabrics. Visitors were asked to share their denim outfit and appear directly on a LED wall in the Art&Indigo booth, and they could win a pair of jeans personalized by Skulljan.

Blueprint also offered upcoming denim designers to showcase and sell their products. Wing Mok of concept label Harbour Town: “It has been very good so far. I have also showcased my products during Modefabriek in Amsterdam but I didn’t get that much attention.  The advantage of being at Blueprint is that you really have the right people coming, because it is already a denim-focused event and the selection of newcomer labels is manageable, so that you don’t drown in the mass of labels.”

Paul Kruize, who only designs bespoke jeans selling for up to 500 Euro: “There are only denim heads coming to this event, they understand the product.”

Kingpins 2029 The Transformers
On Friday 17th the Kingpins show organizers, in collaboration with House of Denim, announced their new conference concept – Kingpins 2029, The Transformers. The idea behind this concept is that representing members of the denim community discuss their role in creating, implementing and sharing the changes that need to happen in the jeans industry to make it more environmentally viable, socially responsible and financially sound by 2029.
“Our concept is that the jeans industry must undergo a sea change if we want to be around in 2029,” said Andrew Olah, founder of Kingpins and The Transformers. “The Transformers are those along the supply chain that recognize that we must evolve and invent new and better ways to do everything from making dye stuffs to making fibers, weaving fabrics to laundering and finishing and everything in between.”

The inaugural Transformers event was held as a two-part panel discussion on the topic of water usage in the production process of denim. Companies like Garmon, Jeanologia, Karl Mayer and Saitex discussed topics of fibers, fabrics and finishing and presented their concepts for change in their specific areas of focus.

Denim City
The official opening of Denim City took place on the 16th April.  Denim City is the new headquarter of the House of Denim. Based in a former tram depot in downtown Amsterdam, the denim innovation campus consists of a craftsman’s workshop, an archive, working facilities, a training center and a sustainable laundry facility called Blue Lab. Denim City is also the new home of Jean School’s international course.

James Veenhoff, co-founder of House of Denim: “Denim City is a huge platform that focuses on denim, creating sustainable innovations and designs.  It will bring together brands, producers, mills, launderers, academics and students.”

The refurbishment of Denim City was paid by the industry. Partners of Denim City are e.g. Bossa, Candiani, Garmon, Jeanologia and Philips. The Italian denim mill manufacturer Candiani has already rented two offices at Denim House. Levi’s sponsors the archive of Denim House. Denim House also offers showroom space for everyone who is interested. “That’s how we pay the rent, we depend on the help of the industry and sponsorship,” says James Veenhoff.