Amsterdam Denim Days 2014 Part II – Blueprint and More
Be sure to check out Part I of our coverage on Amsterdam Denim Days.
It came as no surprise that the Amsterdam Denim Days team was sure to create something special just for denim lovers. As opposed to shows that are reserved for professionals, the Blueprint show was geared to any and all denim enthusiasts.
Positioned inside the historic Zuiveringshal refinery that dates back to 1885, the 1,200 square meter hall was filled with a mix of indigo-themed exhibitions and workshops, alongside just as many booths run by various local brands and shops, as well as a few international textile producers.
In an effort to make wool more relevant for modern wear and use, Australian heavyweights, The Woolmark Company, made their debut at Blueprint by showcasing their new, innovative Wool Denim. The material blends Australian merino wool with cotton, adding an extra degree of warmth without compromising garment breathability and flexbility.
Aside from wool samples on hand, Woolmark brought out a few pieces incorporating the fabric, including some items from their capsule collection with Timothy Everest, Hemisphere, as well as a special edition Levi’s Wool Denim 501 jean.
Butcher of Blue
Local denim label, Butcher of Blue, and founder, Bob Rijnders, were sure to join in on the festivities and show off their collection. As some might recall, about one year ago Butcher of Blue and Denham The Jeanmaker unveiled a printed compilation of their faded denim after a year of wear. Rijnders hung on to each and every pair featured in the book and displayed them at Blueprint the only way a respectable butcher would.
Rijnders, who also runs the suburban Amsterdam clothing store Best of Brands, walked us through the construction and special detailing of his flagship model.
For better or for worse, a few readers weren’t shy to voice their thoughts the last time Olaf Hussein graced our pages. The hardware and construction detailing were seemingly quite advanced, tidy, and thoughtful, but fell short with some of the look book images conjuring a more “primitive” lifestyle.
Well, Hussein heard readers loud and clear and has dropped any and all nomad references from his label. He’s still maintained some of his previous hardware, such as the handmade Guild of Holland green leather patch, but has completely shifted his focus towards great fabrics and clean aesthetics.
But Hussein still has fun with his line like any young creative designer. Notice the playful animated graphics throughout his garments piece and his choice of neppy rainbow speckled fabric for his next denim release.
Benzak Denim Developers
When he’s not tending to his product design duties at Kings of Indigo, Lennaert Nijgh is at the helm of his “made in Holland, crafted Worldwide” denim line, Benzak Denim Developers (BDD). Implied within the brand’s tagline, Nijgh takes pride in looking beyond his borders to find the right fabrics as he expands his collection.
He previously utilized a dead stock, green cast, LHT denim for his BDD-710, and has recently teamed up with a Singaporean leather maker for his vegetable tan belts, and vintage sportswear producer, Ebbets Field Flannels, for his baseball cap.
For Amsterdam Denim Days, Nijgh gave us a glimpse of what he has in the works. First up is the BDD-016 – a slim-tapered model featuring a grey cast, 13.5 oz., left hand twill denim from Japan’s Collect Mills – that will retail at €279 and hit shelves in September.
Next up is the BDD-006, a slim fitting model that utilizes a 14 oz. right hand twill fabric with indigo-dyed warp and weft yarns (leading to the ultra-dark tone). Similar to the BDD-016, the denim is also sourced from Collect but boasts a much more slubby texture. The jean will also debut in September and retail for €299.
While on a recent trip through South East Asia, a group of Dutch travellers stumbled across a small community of artisans handcrafting naturally indigo-dyed scarves and bandanas. The labor-intensive process and products left the visitors in awe, so much so that it eventually gave birth to the brand we now know as Indigo People.
The line exclusively offers the very hand-dyed and handcrafted scarves and bandanas they first encountered. Their passion runs deep for this level and type of craftsmanship and they work directly with the weavers, so there’s no limit as to what they release next.
Previously featured in our one man brand series, we reconnected with Jesper Remmerswaal of Tulp Jeans who is based out of Delft, roughly one hour south of Amsterdam. Remmerswaal is continuing to refine his craft and collection and experiment with new products constructed almost entirely of denim and leather.
Having just settled into their nearby monumental new headquarters, G-Star maintained a tight and tidy presence at Blueprint. Most of the focus was on their new line, Raw For The Oceans; a collaborative project with Pharrell Williams and his company, Bionic Yarn. With the goal of keeping our oceans clean and oceanic ecosystems healthy, Bionic Yarn retrieves plastic debris, converts them into fibres, which is then woven into yarn and fabric.
Raw For The Oceans is still in its infancy and development stages, but you can find out more background and receive updates via their site.
Denim Archive by Antonio di Battista
Curated by Long John‘s Wouter Munnichs, a special selection of vintage denim pieces were on showing from Antonio di Battista‘s 3,000+ private collection. The entire archive has taken di Battista more than twenty years to compile and no doubt has been invaluable in helping him develop his own brand, Blue Blanket.
For the Denim Archive presented at Amsterdam Denim Days, a majority of the old artifacts were sourced from the “big 3” – Levi’s, Lee, and Wrangler – some of which have been heavily customized and repaired by their owners more than fifty years ago. Each garment was available for purchase.
On the periphery of the Zuiveringshal, a whole spectrum of vintage indigo goods were up for sale; from obscure 1940s chore coats to the more commonplace LVC raw denim jeans. Toronto’s Flashback Vintage made the trip across the pond and brought a little Canadiana with them, including a pair of denim from the now extinct line, Jacks.
Take a look inside the back pocket and you’ll find step-by-step fade instructions which in true Canadian form, come in both English and French!
If the booths and exhibitions weren’t enough for attendees, a plethora of indigo-themed workshops were in full swing; including a natural indigo dye station, denim manufacturing discussion and seminar, sashiko jeans repair workshop, denim alteration station, and indigo paper origami session, to list just a few.
Kings of Indigo x Textielfabrique Natural Indigo Dye Workshop
Indigo Origami Workshop by Kanako B. Koga
Denim Goodies by Jeans School
That wraps up our coverage from Amsterdam Denim Days 2014. We look forward to seeing even more denim development in the Dutch city next year.