This is the second part of our interview with Taavi Kuisma, the owner and proprietor of Finnish denim shop, Nordic Denim House. The online company prides itself in being “by denim freaks, for denim freaks” and specialises in high quality denim, mostly from Japan.
Taavi is also the founder of Northern Denim Co. With its altruistic twist, the profits from NDC’s first batch of jeans were donated to the victims of the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami.
If you haven’t done so already, be sure to check out Part 1.
RD: What are the biggest trends in the raw industry right now?
TK: Collaborations are a pretty big thing right now. I see more and more collaborations between brands and that’s pretty awesome. I mean there are expected and unexpected collabs going on and I believe we will see even more in the future.
Aside from that, I guess it’s the traditional “weight game” with brands experimenting and introducing heavier and heavier weight jeans. Then there are the seasonal cuts. We’re getting more and more inquiries for classic straight-cut jeans instead of skinny jeans which have been the in-thing these past years.
It’s great to see different brands introduce different types of denim and pushing the boundaries of what a brand can do with this traditional fabric.
RD: What do you feel is the biggest difference between the European, Asian and North American markets? Is there even a difference or does raw denim have the same standing internationally?
TK: I guess vintage denim has a sort of a universal appeal. The difference comes in terms of availability and demand. The Asian demand and availability of denim is still surpassing that of the European market.
I can’t really speak on behalf of the North American market as I’ve mainly operated in Europe and Asia, but based on the number of American customers we have it’s still a matter of availability for specific brands and designs that makes the difference.
RD: Do you have an idea of where the market is heading?
TK: Who knows? You can feel the market is expressing signs of saturation in terms of brands and stores selling denim. But it’s still growing. People are getting more quality-conscious and are willing to invest more in a good pair of jeans. That’s why you have these premium denim brands beating the market even during tough economic times.
These are tough times for some of the brands, though. The exchange rates are pretty crazy right now and it’s tough for European stores to compete in terms of pricing. But the bottom line is that these brands and Japanese denim as a market have a pretty solid following and those into Japanese denim, will keep buying and wearing Japanese denim.
Even if the prices did increase, it’s pretty much the same thing with any other product in the premium market. I guess that’s why these companies can beat the market no matter what’s going on with the global economic situation…
RD: Thank you, Taavi. Any last words of wisdom for our readers?
TK: Just have fun. Don’t take anything you do too seriously.