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Denim Days

This year more than ever, the Netherlands’ largest fashion trade show the Modefabriek was characterized by a strong denim presence. In collaboration with Amsterdam Fashion Week, talks were held about a new denim projects including HTNK’s House of Denim.

By Cassandra Pizzey / 18-07-2013

The Netherlands is well known for it’s high-quality denim, take G-Star RAW, Tenue de Nîmes or Denham, brands that in a short time have become iconic and some even known around the world. 

There is however a new brand of jeans makers about to break through. Not necessarily schooled at a fashion institute or with any marketing experience but with a strong, visible passion for their favourite garment: the bluejeans. 


After a talk by trend-forecasting bureau Stylesight’s denim editor Samuel James Trotman, two young denim brands took the stage during the 35th edition of the Modefabriek. First up was Mick Keus, whose same-name brand started after a search for the perfect pair of jeans. Unable to find them, Keus – an Amsterdam Fashion Institute graduate – started collecting old pairs of iconic Levi’s 501s which he chopped up to make new jeans with a more modern fit. He adds a personal touch with buttons and a label featuring his signature cross and sells the jeans for a fair price. The small Scheveningen-based atelier is currently working full steam to produce and sell to a growing demand for these reclaimed jeans, but Keus says it’s time to look ahead and start a production line overseas. 


Another young denim brand starting just over a year ago is Olaf Hussein. It’s frontman has taken Dutch name Olaf and his own heritage Hussein, a combination of cultures and the starting point for the brand. Hussein tells us how he started out as a marketing student with a young collective named Daily Paper, a creative bunch who produced cool products and T-shirts. Just like Keus, the search for that perfect jeans fit was the trigger to begin the label which focusses on high quality materials. Virgin denim is imported from Japan, leather details are from Guild of Holland and the highest quality indigo ensures that garments will keep their colour longer. To counteract the effects of the imported denim, Olaf Hussein’s latest collection is created from 100% recycled denim. 


Both young creatives come from a completely different background, fueled by their love for denim and both are part of the HTNK Story Store presented at Blueprint, an entire hall at the Modefabriek devoted to denim. In the store a variety of products is for sale, not only jeans but also jewellery, accessories and shoes. Their makers are present and in for a chat about their brand, but it is the Jeanschool stand we are interested in. 


Started in September 2012 and an initiative of House of Denim and ROC Amsterdam, the Jeanschool is an MBO course (comparable to further educational college) that teaches students everything about denim, from cotton plant to ad campaign. Two students represent the school at the Story Store and tell us how excited they are about the new year. After both interning with Dutch denim brands (G-Star RAW and Tenue de Nîmes) and learning the ins and outs of the business they have heard applicants from all over the Netherlands are coming to start the course. What drove them to apply at the Jeanschool? “Denim is a living material really, it comes from the cotton plant and when it’s worn it changes to fit the user.”


HTNK’s Mariëtte Hoitink is also proud to announce that another House of Denim project is about to launch. The Kinkerstraat in Amsterdam will soon be home to the House of Denim Home, a place to experiment with denim, showcase new samples and bring denim to a more sustainable future. 

All images © 2013

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