By  on November 13, 2008

Fiat heir Lapo Elkann’s commu-nications agency, Independent Ideas, along with the city of Genoa and event planner Skyline Grandi Eventi, are creating Italy’s first denim trade fair in Genoa.

The exhibition, called Blue de Genes, will feature live performances, art and photographic exhibitions, concerts, creative labs, a charity auction, a Jeans Pride Parade and business forums. The fair will run June 4 to 6, with events taking place in several locations in and around Genoa, including the Cotton Warehouses, Genoa’s port or Porto Antico, restored by architect Renzo Piano, and the town of Portofino.

High-profile brands such as Diesel, Meltin’ Pot, Elkann’s Care Label, Seven For All Mankind and production giant Martelli are among those expected to participate in Blue de Genes.

“After three centuries, jeans are coming home,” said Elkann, referring to the belief that the word “jeans” might have originated from the mispronunciation of Genoa’s name.

In the 16th century, cotton was shipped from the port city and around the world in boxes labeled with the name of the place of origin.

Marta Vincenzi, the mayor of Genoa, said denim was an immediate success during a period of general crisis in the 1500s. “In a similar way, we are reacting and responding to today’s difficult economy with this event,” she said.

Independent Ideas was tapped to work on creativity and communication strategies, but the organization is also drawing from Elkann’s connections to the denim world to bring attention to the event. Independent Ideas has worked with Puglia-based Meltin’ Pot on the rejuvenation of the Moschino brand, now called Love Moschino, and on the campaign for the new Fiat 500 designed by Diesel.

Elkann emphasized that Blue de Genes “is not in competition” with men’s wear exhibition Pitti Uomo, based in Florence, and Barcelona’s Bread & Butter, which are scheduled for later in June and early July, respectively.

“This is a more leisure and pleasure event, a tribute to the denim culture,” Elkann said.

For the time being, it is planned as a yearly event. Exhibitors will be categorized as emerging, historical or established brands. Each will be free to choose the manner in which they participate; whether they want to focus on communication or on trade, or show their pre-collections or vintage pieces. There will also be an area dedicated to machinery and suppliers.

“Jeans are the icon of icons, forever,” said Elkann, whose grandfather, the late Fiat tycoon Gianni Agnelli, helped make denim pants more acceptable in high society with his innate sense of style. “They are the most comfortable and practical pants.”

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