A love affair with denim

Amsterdammers of all stripes love jeans. Walk along the canals, and you’ll see that denim is the unofficial uniform of executives, students, creatives and pretty much everyone else. Denim also plays a major role in the city’s fashion scene and is shaping its status as a centre of style in multiple ways.

Popular brands such as G-Star RAW and Kings of Indigo (KOI) are based here, and the city hosts the headquarters of Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein and other leading labels. Industry leaders gather at the annual Kingpins Show, an invite-only trade event that promotes innovation, heritage and connection. All of this activity is creating new opportunities across the industry, and the city is always prepared to welcome new talent.

Bringing sustainable style to Amsterdam

With an average of five pairs of jeans per person, Amsterdam natives lead the world when it comes to denim ownership and are embracing sustainability like never before. Eco-centric brands like Kings of Indigo, which uses organic cotton and cutting-edge production techniques that have slashed water consumption, are gaining prominence. 

At the Denim City innovation campus, new generations of talent are working with the House of Denim platform to learn how to create jeans with a smaller carbon footprint. House of Denim is also behind the annual Amsterdam Denim Days festival and the world’s first (and only) Jean School, which has a special year-long programme aimed at internationals. 

A magnet for international talent

James Veenhoff, House of Denim’s co-founder, believes the local skilled workforce simplifies the process of setting up shop in Amsterdam. “Brands that are considering a move to Amsterdam will have an incredible talent pool at their disposal,” he explains. “From design and development to merchandise and social media: all the know-how is already here.”

Those joining the local denim community will also find that Amsterdam offers a high standard of education, an excellent quality of life and all the support new residents need to settle in. Bringing people to the Netherlands is also a smooth process for companies, thanks in part to the efforts of IN Amsterdam. This organisation serves as a facilitator between companies and international newcomers, helping arrange visas and other paperwork required for relocation. 

Edwin van Eis

Keeping it casual

There’s something in the Amsterdam spirit that makes denim a natural match for this bustling city. Willa Stoutenbeek, founder of sustainable communication and branding agency W.Green, says, “The Dutch dress more casually than other nations. The Germans and French go to work more dressed up. In this country, we don’t object to jeans.”

Thank goodness. This timeless piece of clothing is bringing new opportunities to Amsterdam, enhancing its reputation as a fashion capital and even making the clothing industry a little greener. If that means laidback style is here to stay, it’s hard to think of anything better.