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Amsterdam Denim Days 2015 Part II – Blueprint

Nearly two months ago, we trekked across the Atlantic Ocean and descended upon Amsterdam for the annual Amsterdam Denim Days festival. In part I of our coverage, we recapped our visit to the famous denim textile show, Kingpins, and walked through the many different fabrics from mills all around the globe.

For part II, we take you to the more consumer-oriented aspect of the show, Blueprint, which took place during the latter half of Denim Days and is meant to showcase the finest denim designers and makers that Europe has to offer.


Ben Fokkema, Amsterdenim

Ben Fokkema, Amsterdenim

With one of the most unforgettable brand names (and odours) in the room,  Amsterdenim’s founder Ben Fokkema, was on deck with the company’s very own Oakwood dyeing station.

As history tells us, centuries ago the natural brown dyestuff played an important role for dyeing old sails, tents, and eventually, the first pair of dungarees. Amsterdenim’s mission to bridge the old and the new, tying many of these traditional techniques and details into the garments they offer today.

Oakwood Dyestuff

Oakwood Dyestuff

Any and all visitors were welcome to dunk their denim in the steaming vat, and one could expect their denim to fade with a slightly brown hue:

Amsterdenim oakwood-dyed denim

OHA, Sinju Ohashi

Sinju Ohashi, OHA

Sinju Ohashi, OHA

Set up just steps from Amsterdenim was the denim dude himself, Sinju Ohashi, representing his new line of Japanese indigo-dyed sashiko aprons, OHA.

Aside from a few of his very own creations, he also had a range of his own sashiko fabrics up for sale. As a past designer with Kapital, it’s no surprise to see the artisanal design and feel of his samples:

OHA sashiko samples

Isko and Tonello

Isko and Tonello laser machine

Although what ISKO and Tonello had on tap isn’t everyone’s cup of tea (ours included), it never hurts to be aware of the latest industry happenings outside of the world of raw denim. Take for instance their “Blaze K1” laser machine Tonello hauled all the way from their factory in Italy. With a little caution and careful editing, you could have your very own set of #laserfades in a matter of minutes.

Laser meets denim

Laser meets denim

They gave us a chance to take the machine for a whirl and see the action for ourselves.

@iskodenim during. @amsterdamdenimdays

A video posted by Heddels (@heddels) on


Seeing the pre and post-laser results are even more dramatic:

Isko and Tonello Denim Before and After Lasering

Denim Expo – Jason Denham’s Archive

Denim Expo - Jason Denham's Archive

In the 2014 edition of Denim Days, visitors were treated to a select number of rare vintage items from Antonio di Battista’s 3,000+ item collection; curated by Long John‘s Wouter Munnichs. This time around, Munnichs is back at it and in partnership with Jason Denham, founder of eponymous label, Denham.

Although di Battista was a hard act to follow, Denham was sure to not disappoint and the set the stage by kicking off in the biggest way possible. So big in fact, that we could barely fit it in the frame:

Original Levi's Big E 501 Lot #405 - waist 76

Original Levi’s Big E 501 Lot #405 – waist 76″, inseam 45″

On the periphery of the inner table were a whole gamut of vintage garments, including this gem:

Amish Denim Jacket, found at a vintage store in U.S.; circa 1930-40

Amish Denim Jacket, found at a vintage store in U.S.; circa 1930-40

Each piece was procured along Denham’s travels around the globe either through auctions or shopping.

French Fireman Uniform Jacket, found in a vintage store in Tokyo; circa 1940's

French Fireman Uniform Jacket, found in a vintage store in Tokyo; circa 1940’s

Denham had a few prized possessions that were a part of what he calls the “Grafted” series:

Big Yank, Grafted Shirt found at a vintage store in NYC; circa 1940's

Big Yank, Grafted Shirt, found at a vintage store in NYC; circa 1940’s

Levi's 501 Big E found at vintage store in Tokyo; circa 1940's. Note the burn out repairs and grafted right leg.

Levi’s 501 Big E found at vintage store in Tokyo; circa 1940’s. Note the burn out repairs and grafted right leg.

Some of his personal favorites made an appearance as well, including this work pant:

Denham's favorite patched up work pant - The American Brand 10 oz. work pant; circa 1930.

Denham’s favorite patched up work pant – The American Brand 10 oz. work pant; circa 1930.

Don’t think it’s just about Jason though. Just across the way from the above 10 oz. pants were his daughter’s first pair of vintage selvedge jeans:

Levis 501 Red, Waist 18

Levi’s 501 Red, Waist 18″, Inseam 12″; circa 1970.

Facing West

Facing West x Amsterdam Denim Days

Inspired by heritage dyeing and repair techniques, positioned in one end of Blue Print was Facing West and a plethora of fabric samples and custom-dyed garments. Above is a vintage work shirt that was originally purchased white but ended up blue by the time founder/designer, Lizzie Kroeze, was finished with it.

It’s tough to pinpoint just one or two standout pieces from the whole collection, but that was of course before Kroeze unveiled this incredible indigo patchwork quilt:

Facing West indigo patchwork quilt

We mentioned before that Denim Days has something for everyone, and we mean it. Alongside running her own booth at Blueprint, Kroeze was also leading sashiko stitching and boro technique workshops.

Facing West Sashiko and Boro Workshop

Indigo People

Indigo People Amsterdam denim Days 2015

We first met Indigo People at Denim Days in 2014 and got a taste of their naturally-dyed woven scarves. Though their selection then was more limited, fast forward one year and they’ve clearly made some strong progress. Amongst their current collection were a few new pieces for Autumn/Winter 2016.

Indigo People's naturally-dyed silk scarves.

Indigo People’s naturally-dyed silk scarves.

Indigo People naturally-dyed sashiko stitched scarf.

Indigo People naturally-dyed sashiko stitched scarf.

Loom State Atelier – Candiani x Jean School x AMFI

Candiani Denim Picanol Loom

Special to the Denim Days show, Italian denim mill, Candiani Denim, and local Amsterdam Schools, Amsterdam Fashion Institute (AMFI) and Jeans School, teamed up to craft a 100% made-in-Amsterdam denim jean. That’s right, Tonello wasn’t the only one to bring out the tech as their compatriots, Candiani, stationed a 1950’s Picanol loom that ran once per hour.

On the other side of the Picanol were the troops of sewers fulfilling custom orders. We weren’t able to pick up a pair of the denim jeans ourselves, but we did manage to get our mitts on some of the fabric. Stay tuned for updates on that front!

Jean School

Dyemond Goods

Dyemond Goods x Wijsman Cobblers shoe - vegetable-tanned leather, selvedge denim, and a Vibram Gloxycut outsole

Last but not least, we managed to catch up with Mike van der Zanden, who we also met last year when he was still a part of the Jean School and was carrying around a 32 oz. messenger bag. Now that’s van der Zanden is finished up his schooling, he’s looking to strike out on his own and make some big moves with his line, Dyemond Goods.

Picture above is just one of his new creations from this past year – a collaboration shoe made with Wijsman Cobblers, incorporating vegetable-tanned leather, selvedge denim, and a Vibram Gloxycut outsole. However, his prized piece–and by far the standout garment for me over the course of the show–was this 10 oz. selvedge-lined four-weave work coat:

10 oz. selvedge-lined four-weave work coat

Dyemond Goods 10 oz. selvedge-lined four-weave work coat

It’s hard to do this fabric and piece justice in photos:


From the bottom up on the right side of the seam: right-hand twill, plain weave, broken twill, plain weave, left hand twill.

He’s also made his move into bottoms, riddled with all sorts of technical details:

Dyemond Goods 13oz right hand twill Kurabo selvedge denim

Dyemond Goods 13oz right hand twill Kurabo selvedge denim

Aside from the hickory-striped pocket bags sewn into the selvedge sideseam, get a load of the selvedge-lined one-piece zipper fly:

Dyemond Goods one-piece zipper fly

Flip the pant over and it’s clear van der Zanden isn’t yoking around here. Bad puns aside, rather than using a yoke to build out the pant seat, he’s instead opted for darts:

Dyemond goods yoke-less seat
As we’ve covered just a small part of what Blueprint and Denim Days had to offer, be sure to check out the coverage from other press and media outlets that were also in attendance:

  • Amsterdam Denim Days Photo Gallery (via Amsterdam Denim Days)
  • Amsterdam Denim Days 2015: Kingpins and Blueprint (via Denimhunters)
  • The Official Opening From Denim City Amsterdam (via Long-John)
  • Denim Market At Blueprint Amsterdam Event (via Long-John)
  • Denim Expo: Private Archive Jason Denham At Amsterdam Denim Days (via Long-John)
  • Amsterdam Denim Day 2015 (via WGSN)

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