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.
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.
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:
OHA, Sinju Ohashi
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:
Isko and Tonello
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.
They gave us a chance to take the machine for a whirl and see the action for ourselves.
Seeing the pre and post-laser results are even more dramatic:
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:
On the periphery of the inner table were a whole gamut of vintage garments, including this gem:
Each piece was procured along Denham’s travels around the globe either through auctions or shopping.
Denham had a few prized possessions that were a part of what he calls the “Grafted” series:
Some of his personal favorites made an appearance as well, including this work pant:
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:
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:
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.
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.
Loom State Atelier – Candiani x Jean School x AMFI
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!
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:
It’s hard to do this fabric and piece justice in photos:
He’s also made his move into bottoms, riddled with all sorts of technical details:
Aside from the hickory-striped pocket bags sewn into the selvedge sideseam, get a load of the selvedge-lined 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:
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)