Denim Days is back in New York. And the two-day shoppable industry festival that connects professionals, designers and brands to denim consumers is billed to present a slate of events and offerings centered on sustainability, customization and education. The festival takes place Sept. 22 and 23 at the Metropolitan Pavilion.
Show organizers for New York Denim Days said there will be an outdoor public “denim bazaar” on Sept. 23 that features vintage dealers and artisans, food trucks, festival games and entertainment, including a complimentary concert headlined by Nashville-based country musician and vintage denim purveyor Nikki Lane, proprietor of the vintage boutique High Class Hillbilly. The concert is a teaser for the Nashville Denim Days Festival, which will debut in November this year. Lane’s hand-selected vintage offerings will be available for purchase at the denim bazaar.
Andrew Olah, cofounder of Denim Days, told WWD, “The biggest trend we’re seeing [right now] is that everyone participating in Denim Days is searching for connection. Sure, shopping is a big focus because this is a shopping event, but the key commonality is that everyone wants connection. Designers, brands, retailers, members of the supply chain all want to connect with and make a lasting impression on consumers and their peers; attendees are all looking to experience something new and unique with their favorite brands or to discover something that excites them — whether that is a new designer or a new piece of rare vintage denim or new information that helps them better understand the denim landscape. Our goal is to create an environment where this connection can happen and to help foster a deeper sense of community and vitality in the New York denim market.”
Featured events at New York Denim Days include its “Denim Talks” speaker series, which will feature a panel of fashion influencers, a session with Abrima Erwiah, co-owner of Studio 189, and discussions with industry leaders on topics such as heritage, technology, sustainability, environmental advocacy and the circular economy. Its denim-focused bookstore will offer attendees the opportunity for book signings and to meet authors such as Amy Leverton, author of “Denim Dudes” and “Denim: Street Style, Vintage, Obsession”; Doug Gunn and Roy Lucket, authors of “Worn x Kingpins” and “The Vintage Showroom: An Archive of Menswear”; and Nick Williams, author of “Denim Branded: Jeanswear’s Evolving Design Details.” The bookstore will be stocked with these books and other denim-related titles, the organization said.
A number of denim brands and retailers are creatively taking part in the event: Madewell will offer discounts on new pairs of jeans for attendees that bring in their old denim for recycling; Mavi Jeans will have an artist on-site to customize denim jackets; Brit Eaton, a longtime denim dealer, will show select pieces from his collection and vintage brand; and Hudson is scheduled to bring Get LIT performers to the event. Also new at this year’s show is the unveiling of M Collection, the first denim line launched by former football player and TV personality Michael Strahan.
In addition, Atelier & Repairs, an apparel company led by founder Maurizio Donadi that creates one-of-a-kind apparel by “improving, re-creating and upcycling clothing that already exists,” will hold a contest for students attending New York City’s Fashion High School, challenging them to transform a $5 T-shirt into a garment of their own original design. The winner of the competition will receive a mentorship with Donadi himself. Atelier & Repairs is a cult favorite among denim aficionados, denim heads and supporters of sustainable fashion: The firm said that its “renewed purpose is to inspire creativity and sustainability by raising awareness about the issue of overproduction while working with our peers to scale this endeavor at a global level through innovation and ingenuity across design, manufacturing, and commercial processes.”
And as the title sponsor of the event, Tencel will create a “shop-in-shop,” offering a selection of garments made with Tencel from brands such as 3X1, Mavi, Reformation and Godfather of Denim among others, the organization said. Its “interactive forest” will show the process of how denim is made from trees and offer an “Instagram moment” for event-goers as they enter the show. Tencel in denim has risen in popularity throughout the industry as more brands prioritize sustainability, as Tencel is derived from sustainably harvested trees and praised for its softness and low environmental impacts, the company said. Tricia Carey, Tencel’s director of global business development, said, “We are pleased to be returning to New York Denim Days as a sponsor and bringing ‘Tencel Feels So Right’ to consumers. It is amazing to see denim enthusiasts discover how trees are made into jeans and feel the comfort of Tencel denim.” Olah added that Tencel “is not only a beautiful fiber that makes for incredible denim, it is one of the most important fibers in the denim industry and is helping to make the denim industry more sustainable and environmentally responsible.”
Olah described the current denim market as “exciting,” and said that “the changes that are needed to reinvigorate the jeans industry are fun and require brands and retailers to go meet the consumer and engage like never before. What is not needed is to sit and wait for the consumer to come to them. This requires social media, events like ours, and stuff that has still not been discovered to get everyone involved.”
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