We’ve all got that one friend, maybe you’ve got a few? Maybe you’re married to one. That friend who is ‘into’ denim. Do you know your weft from your selvage? Do you melt at the thought of Japanese 20 oz raw? Or does that sound like special at Yo! Sushi?
Over the 26th and 27th of October 2016, we attended Kingpins Show in Amsterdam. This bi-annual event brings together the ultimate collection of companies that own denim mills, ie factories that make denim. From one central building in Amsterdam, Westergasfabriek, the fashion industry comes together to shop, sorry work. Women and men in production and development find the latest fabric rolls from their favourite denim mills and discover ones they’ve never used before. They have incredible coffee and snacks, and they are all free. Dangerous.
The cool thing that everyone loves about denim, I think, is the fact that you don’t have to be precious about it. The more worn in, the better it looks. It’s like a second skin. When I buy a good pair of jeans, I can wear them for half the week for two years! I find that black jeans look best when new, but indigo and stonewashed just look better and better with time. Not like my first skin unfortunately.
It totally depends on what kind of jean you bought and how you want them to look. For raw denim, the advice is to get high contrast fades don’t wash them for 3 months at least. That said most people don’t break their own jeans in from raw. Basically the rule is that indigo is not a fixed dye and every time you apply water to cotton jeans the colour will get a little lighter. So if you want them to stay as when you bought them, turn inside out and cold wash with a gentle detergent. I tend to wash my jeans about every 2 weeks or so.
Of course, the reason why steamers are always at these events is because steamers can freshen up fabrics like denim with in a breeze (a hot steamy breeze). Have you ever tried to iron your jeans and then they go all weird and shiny? Like with a suit? It’s a mistake we only make once, especially if they were your favourite Miss Sixty jeans in 1998.
Steamers are a gentler alternative to ironing. Without a heated plate, the hot steam sanitises and deodorises fabrics like denim. Also most importantly, it doesn’t make them shiny! Here’s a demo of us steaming a denim shirt and some super indigo jeans. Steamers knock creases out, soften material and freshens up fabrics. Happy times.
After the show we went to a place called Foodhallen, which was basically paradise, a hip food court. I ate a burger with chips and mayo. Animal. We went on a short walk afterwards and found an incredible place called Denim City. Built by Levi’s, it’s an incredible place you can see every step of making a pair of jeans. From the materials, the sewing machines to the trims. So good! I wish our offices look like their shop.
Our denim adventure in Amsterdam was fantastic. So next time you slip on your favourite pair of jeans take a look at the buttons, pocket placement and zip. Somebody else has thought long and hard about them before you bought them!