Around this time last year, we hit the road and made our way across the pond to Amsterdam, The Netherlands for the very first edition of the Amsterdam Denim Days festival – a four-day celebration of all things indigo and denim for professionals and consumers alike. Compared to other industry events, Denim Days is a special happening in that it caters to even the slightest enthusiast and hosts an enormous range of sub-events.
For those inclined to check out what the 2014’s edition offered, you can read up on part I and part II of our coverage. Already up to speed? Then read on our for our part I of our 2015 recap, where we walk through what caught our eye at the world famous denim textile and fabric trade show, Kingpins.
Artistic Fabric Mills
During our last encounter with Pakistan-based mill, Artistic Fabric Mills, we caught up with Product Development Manager, Henry Wong, and were introduced to their new Ajrak denim fabric. Unfortunately they didn’t have the “latest and greatest” on display at Kingpins, but they did bring out a couple of other interesting pieces, including this natural denim randomly woven with red warp yarns:
They also had a deep tone black denim that was plain and simple upon first glance, but boasted a four-way stretch for a little more give.
Collect Mills–the famed denim mill operated by The Japan Blue Group–brought out a range of pieces, reminding us why they’ve earned the reputation as one of the best in the business.
We recently saw Left Field NYC unveil their Heavy Slub denim with an irregular, crunchy 18 oz. fabric sourced from Collect. Although they didn’t have the 18 oz. at Kingpins, they did have the slightly lighter 16 oz. version:
But don’t think they left the lightweights at home. Below is their featherweight 6.5 Oz. organic cotton selvedge denim, an optimal choice for warmer temperatures albeit I’d have my doubts how it’d hold up to even the smallest of abrasions.
The sister brand and mill to Momotaro and Japan Blue Jeans also had a few other non-denim fabrics on the rack, including the below 10 oz. multi-color sashiko border sample. I’m not exactly sure how this could/would be used with denim, but I’d intrigued to find out.
We’ve seen North Carolina’s Cone Mills come under heavy critique amongst commenters lately, but some often forget that the company has one of the richest history’s around, and they were sure to remind us of that at Kingpins.
Serving as more of a time capsule than tradeshow booth, highlights included the select pieces from their inspiring Found Collection (which was equally satisfying to drool over after our first round at the Liberty Fairs show in 2013), as well as few original samples dating as far back as 1905!
As promised, the grand daddy of them all:
In light of their 110 year anniversary as well, Cone is slowly rolling out a new collection of “White Oak 110” fabrics, such as the peculiar “Corded Indigo”. Inspired by one of their deadstock fabrics, the twisted striped effect is achieved by weaving in an alternating twill and plain weave construction.
And for those curious to see how the Corded Indigo would look in application:
Cone is still working hard to develop denim in innovative ways that lessen their impact on the environment as well. We previously saw them put old ketchup and mustard plastic bottles to better use, and now we see them applying their craft to reusing brown beer bottles in denim (safe for all ages too!).
Launched just in time for Kingpins, Seven Senses offers up handwoven denim fabrics with organic cotton and a strong ethical ethos. From how they source their raw materials to how they power their machines, every decision in their manufacturing process is made with the environment and their worker’s well-being in mind. The result? Eye-popping, bold, 100% natural denim.
Their team as well as their co-founder, Andriana Landegent, are based in Amsterdam, but the fabrics are actually woven in India. Seven Senses donated looms to 250 farmer families who hand-weave every inch of denim.
Notice that glittering selvedge-ID? As a nod to India’s culture, almost all of the denim fabrics are finished with recycled saris.
Local designer, Paul Kruize, also lent a hand and crafted this sample chore coat in time for the show:
Collect Mills wasn’t the only Japanese mill on the floor as the family-run, Kuroki Mills, was just a few steps away. During our last encounter, we had the pleasure of meeting Kuroki’s president, Tatsushi Kuroki, and walking through some of the collection together.
He unfortunately was not in attendance, but the old mill did not disappoint. First up, a deep indigo double weave herringbone which surprisingly weighed in at just 9.9 oz.
On the even lighter end, Kuroki had a few chambrays at Kingpins, most notably this beauty:
Like some, I’ll admit I have a bad habit for flipping up the hem to get an even better read on the weft, selvedge, and overall denim. I knew there was something different to this one, but it’s always fun to get hit with this sort of surprise:
Same goes with this one too.
What do you get when you cross Kuroki’s blanket-lined and double weave “kilt” denim? Yup, you guessed it:
When it comes to Italy and denim sourcing, the first mill that comes to most people’s minds is Candiani Denim. But just outside of Venice in the small town of Bovolenta is Blue Selvedge; owned and operated by parent company, Berto Industria Tessile.
Each fabric produced by Blue Selvedge comes off a restored 1950’s Picanol loom, monitored daily by an artisan and operational in two hour runs with thirty minute periods in between to cool. Only 70 meters of fabric are woven per day; the range, weight, and wabi sabi-like irregularities of which can vary greatly.
Starting with the heaviest, below is their 23.5 oz. “Square Plot” selvedge denim that could easily be mistaken for a rug seeing as how it’s rolled at the bottom.
On the more luxurious (and forgiving) end is their 12.1 oz. cashmere selvedge denim, which has as soft of a hand as shimmery of an appearance.
I always appreciate those who are unafraid to show their experimental, unpolished work. Below is a heavyweight color nep denim, reminiscent of the 14 oz. fleck used in Freenote Cloth‘s limited run Rider jacket.
Underneath are a couple of raw wool/cotton blend denims, bringing hairiness to a whole new level.
Brand manager, Maurizio Zampollo, was quick to point out too that they’re not just focused on fabric development and manufacturing either. They also dabble in garment and accessory construction and when it comes to Blue Selvedge, the sky’s the limit!
Be sure to check back in this Saturday for the conclusion of our coverage on the Amsterdam Denim Days.