AMSTERDAM—After the Kingpins trade show wrapped up its two-day run in Amsterdam, textile representatives, designers and denimheads got a chance to celebrate their love of all things denim at Blueprint, a two-day festival held during Amsterdam Denim Days, a week-long, city-wide event featuring workshops, seminars, sales and parties.

At Blueprint, organizers rolled out the blue carpet at theWestergasfabriek, a turn-of-the-20th-century gas factory that now serves as a creative office and event space. Dutch brand Scotch & Soda brought its “Blauw on Wheels” fashion truck to the event, where they served fresh stroopwaffels, the traditional caramel and waffle cookie. To celebrate its 125th anniversary, U.S. mill Cone Denim brought pieces from its archive as well as new items from the company’s newly launched White Oak webshop.

At the Lee Riders booth, visitors checked out limited-edition merchandise as it was being embroidered, then headed over to the Kings of Indigo display, where they could add patches to their denim. Students from Amsterdam’s Jeans School were selling denim tote bags, which could be customized with GOTS-certified silkscreening by Superette or custom hand painting.

Textiel Fabrique had hand-weaving demonstrations and indigo-dyeing workshops. Bossa Denim was handing out T-shirts silkscreened on site. G-Star set up a teepee created in collaboration with Pharrell Williams. There were fashion displays by Calvin Klein and Hilfiger Denim as well as a denim market offering everything from vintage denim pieces to hand-made items and a bookseller offering titles about denim and jeans.

There were also film screenings, live music, and food and drink at the Westergasfabriek, while around Amsterdam, retailers hosted special Denim Day parties with live performances, limited-edition merchandise, food, drinks and gifts.

Mariett Hoitink, cofounder of the House of Denim and Jeans School
Mariett Hoitink, cofounder of the House of Denim and Jeans School

The April 11–17 run of Denim Days marked the event’s third run. The event was founded by Lucel van den Hoeven, chief executive officer of fashion trade-show organizerModefabriek, along with Mariett Hoitink and James Veenhoff, founders of Amsterdam’sHouse of Denim, an organization that seeks to find ways to make jeans “drier, cleaner and smarter.”

“Amsterdam is really a denim-loving city,” van den Hoeven said. “The brands, retailers and consumers are getting together getting to talk to each other, which is really special.”

According to Hoitink, Amsterdam has the highest density of denim brands, including international labels that keep an office in the city. When Kingpins launched its Amsterdam show, it added the “beginning of the supply chain” to the mix, Hoitink said.

“We’re weaving a new kind of denim fabric together by having all these companies from all over the world coming to share knowledge,” she said. “We’re trying to connect the dots from LA to Japan with Amsterdam as the denim hub.”

Amsterdam’s Jeans School—where students learn how to design, produce and market jeans—is a partner in Denim Days.
Amsterdam’s Jeans School—where students learn how to design, produce and market jeans—is a partner in Denim Days.

Hoinink is the owner of fashion recruiting agency HTNK, and Veenhoff had helped organize Amsterdam Fashion Week. The two joined forces to found the House of Denim in 2009. Three years ago, they opened the Jeans School, a three-year educational program that provides training in designing, producing and marketing jeanswear.

“We’re not really a fashion town. We’re a jeans town,” Veenhoff said.

Jeans School, working with Spanish textile mills Royo, has created its own denim, calledRed Light Denim, which is made with 19 percent post-consumer waste fiber. A new fabric, Red Light II, is currently in development. It will be made with 25 percent post-consumer waste fiber and 20 percent hemp.

Originally published April 28, 2016 at