Denim capital Amsterdam
Jason Denham moved to Amsterdam from London in 2008, with Pepe Jeans. Initially unenthusiastic about the move, he soon changed his mind. “I realised that this is the real denim capital of the world,” he says. “Amsterdam is the personification of everything jeans represent. Slightly rebellious, adventurous, opinionated, never afraid to make a statement and always uniquely individual. It makes sense that many of the major modern denim brands are getting their start in Amsterdam or are moving here. This is the modern heart of the international denim industry.”
The relocation of the Tommy Hilfiger brand’s head office from New York to Amsterdam is a sign of the Dutch capital’s growing importance in the fashion industry. The G-Star denim label began its worldwide advance here, as did Gsus and G+N. Even ‘old’ labels like Levi’s and Diesel have recognised Amsterdam’s pivotal position in denim and have chosen it for their design studios. Over 2,600 fashion-related enterprises currently call Amsterdam home. Together, they injected 6 billion euros into the economy last year.
After leaving Pepe, Jason Denham (even his name sounds like denim, he jokes) co-created Kuyichi, the first organic jeans brand. He points out that the local fashion industry benefits from its compact size, and the fact that “the best and most creative designers want to live and work here. That’s exactly what drove Levi’s to move its design studio from Brussels to Amsterdam, for example – they were afraid that all their best talent would eventually leave if they didn’t.”
Three years ago, Denham launched his own Amsterdam-based label. From the start, Denham The Jeanmaker (with a pair of scissors as the brand icon) has distinguished itself by targeting the upper segment of the luxury jeans market. Customers can customise many aspects of their jeans, and only the best denim from Japan and Italy is used.
Control over the creative process still lies fully with Denham himself, who has now assembled more than 20 creative minds in his headquarters in the heart of Amsterdam. “I’ve got an extremely international team here”, he says, explaining how different nationalities bring different qualities to the design process.
Denham is quick to credit the international atmosphere of Amsterdam for bringing together his unique team. What’s more, the global success of his premium jeans brand reflects its international roots. ”Here in Amsterdam, denim has evolved into a high-culture product, ” the jean-maker says.
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