Discover Amsterdam’s fashion industry

Over the years, Amsterdam has evolved into an influential fashion hub. The city is home to design houses, big-name as well as independent brands and schools educating the next generation of tastemakers. There’s also a thriving denim scene and a commitment to sustainability that’s helping Amsterdammers – and the world – enjoy beautiful clothes with a smaller environmental footprint. 

Welcoming the best brands

Many leading international fashion brands have chosen Amsterdam for their European headquarters, including Chanel, Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein, and they employ around 5,000 people in the city. Like the Dutch brands that have set up shop here – such as Scotch and Soda and G-Star – they have access to everything needed to run a global business. There’s a skilled, English-speaking workforce, an excellent quality of life and easy access to other fashion hubs like London and Paris. The forward-thinking business culture helps, too. 

Putting sustainability first

A strong career begins with a good education, and the Amsterdam Fashion Institute is training the professionals that will shape the future. The school is deeply committed to sustainability and believes the only ethical approach to fashion is a green one. Students are taught the importance of protecting the environment, whether they’re learning to sew a dress or preparing for a management role. 

At Fashion for Good, Amsterdam educates those outside the industry about their clothing choices. The world’s first museum dedicated to sustainable style innovation has interactive displays that teach visitors about non-toxic fabric dye, textile recycling and other hot topics. There’s an on-site store where you can shop for eco-friendly apparel, and the organisation  also serves as an accelerator for fashion startups looking to grow.  

A growing scene of second-hand clothing stores offers an alternative to fast fashion. By inspiring shoppers to buy ‘pre-loved’ apparel, they’re encouraging a circular approach to style and helping shoppers reduce waste, save money and dress smart. 

Skinnies, flares and straight legs

If you need a good pair of jeans, Amsterdam can provide. The city has the world’s highest concentration of denim brands; according to recent estimates, the industry is worth approximately €500 million a year. Iconic labels like Levi’s and Diesel have chosen Amsterdam as the location for their design studios, and native brands like Kuyichi are on the rise, too. 

Various initiatives are boosting Amsterdam’s reputation as a denim centre as well. Business leaders mingle at events like Denim Days and Kingpins, while Denim City has a store and workshop that welcomes shoppers and teaches designers the latest techniques.  

Rebellious, adventurous and opinionated

In the words of Jason Denham, founder and chief creative officer of DENHAM the Jeanmaker, Amsterdam is “slightly rebellious, adventurous, opinionated, never afraid to make a statement and always individual.” This assessment is spot-on. And the city’s independent spirit is attracting people and brands from around the world to join a vibrant community (which includes a growing startup scene) powered by passion and creativity.