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A Re-Cap of New York Denim Days 2019: More Than Just Denim

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Denim portrait made in collaboration with Andagain and artist Deniz Sagdic.

I may spend more of my time thinking and talking about denim than most people. And as many denim thought experiments I’m running through my head, it is rare that I find myself saying that I spent an entire weekend dedicated to denim. Except, that’s exactly what I did this past weekend at this year’s New York Denim Days.

Held once again at the Metropolitan Pavilion, dozens of vendors gathered to meet thousands of denim enthusiasts. Local brands like Joswick and 1st Standard Co. sat alongside visiting denim brands like Naked & Famous and Atelier & Repairs. But there was much more denim to experience than these decidedly more heritage-leaning brands with raw denim purist tendencies. Artists using denim as their proverbial canvas were in attendance as well as those in the natural dye community.

Local indigo-dyer Indiko overdyes vintage pieces using indigo they grow themselves in Upstate New York.

Some of the natural ingredients artist Cara Marie Piazza uses for her natural dyes.

New York-based Glenn’s Denim makes their debut using American-woven selvedge denim.

If you walk a few aisles feeling a bit too blue, there was a smattering of related non-denim brands to pique your interest, showcasing their handmade ceramics, indigo paintings, repurposed vintage clothing, and so much more. I was struck by the natural dyeing of Cara Marie Piazza who holds regular workshops in Manhattan as much as I was intrigued by the offbeat denim designs of 1st Standard Co. It’s not all products, though. A handful of panel discussions took place throughout the event from industry insiders like Amy Leverton and Kelly Harrington to get your brain ticking. I particularly enjoyed the discussion on vintage clothing, its impact in today’s fashion landscape and where it’s heading.

Speaking of vintage clothing, the outdoor market was free for anyone to attend. Though it was only held on Sunday (as opposed to the entire weekend at Nashville Denim Days), curious passersby and intentional enthusiasts could come and witness the wares of artisans like those represented by Chinalai while perusing through racks of vintage booths from John Gluckow.

The outdoor market, free and open to the public. Many tempting treasures on display.

Eric Kvatek in his booth of vintage wares (left). Up-close details of Indiko’s vintage fabrics overdyed with natural indigo (right).

Patchwork and hand-stitched pieces from Chinalai.

What’s amazing about Denim Days is that you get to see so many different sides of the denim industry beyond what we usually cover here on the site. Regardless of whether you fall into the camp of denim purists, streetwear hypebeasts, fashionistas, or “I had nothing to do this weekend”, Denim Days is for everyone.