The Kingpins Show is adding a one-day conference to its April exhibition in Amsterdam to focus attention on the uses of water in the production of jeans.

Planned as an annual event, the first of the conferences, “The Transformers — Denim, Jeans and Water,” will take place on April 17, just after the two-day run of the Kingpins denim show at Machinegebouw-Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam.

Kingpins is held as the business-to-business arm of Amsterdam Denim Days, next scheduled for April 13 to 18.

“Our concept is that the jeans industry must undergo a sea change if we want to be around in 2029,” said Andrew Olah, founder of Kingpins and chief executive officer of its producer, Olah Inc. “The Transformers are those along the supply chain that recognize that we must evolve and invent new and better ways to do everything from making dyestuffs to making fibers, weaving fabrics to laundering and finishing and everything in between.”

The full-day program at the first conference will begin with presentations from sponsoring companies involved in the push for sustainable materials and practices in the denim industry, with a discussion of related issues involving guests and panelists following lunch.

“A pair of jeans requires huge amounts of water in all stages of the manufacturing process,” said Mariette Hoitink, cofounder of the House of Denim, which organized the Denim Days program. “Transformers are those who offer us new technologies and alternative practices to significantly reduce the jean industry’s water usage. We must actively pursue, explore and develop these techniques.”

Hoitink is also managing director of HTNK, a fashion recruitment and consulting firm, and a founder of Amsterdam’s Jean School.

The first conference will be dedicated to ways to reduce the amount of water employed in the growing, processing and spinning of cotton; the weaving, dyeing and finishing of denim, and the manufacturing and finishing of jeans.

Olah told WWD he’s been highly cognizant of the fact that some of the hubs of denim and jeans production around the world are in drought-stricken areas, including Bangladesh and Southern California.

“Our approach to this issue needs to get a lot more serious, and it has to happen in a hurry,” he said.

Participants in the conference will include Invista, Jeanologia, Bayer, E3, Lenzing, Candiani Denim, Archroma, Garmon/The Italian Job, Dystar, Crailar, Karl Mayer, ITV Denim, Saitex and Royo. Olah said he’d already received expressions of interest from numerous potential attendees, including a number of major retailers, but had yet to receive commitments.

“The sponsors will probably bring in about 60 people, and we’d expect another 200 guests to attend,” Olah said.

Admission to the program is free, but reservations are required. More information on the program is available at kingpinsshow.com.

The 2016 edition of the conference is expected to be dedicated to energy issues.

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