Dutch Denim Exploring The Opportunities For A Sustainable Denim Production Platform In The Netherlands
House of Denim.NL
Exploring the feasibility, viability and optimal set-up
of a sustainable denim production platform in the
An open invitation to professionals & experts:
Please comment, query and contribute to our preliminary ideas
5 slides & 5 Questions - July 2009
The House of Denim Project
The idea of establishing a ‘platform for sustainable denim development/production’ in
The Netherlands was formed during discussions between local denim aﬁcionados and
city government ofﬁcials from Almere (Amsterdam’s nearest neighbour to the East).
Jeans are very popular in the Netherlands, and a demand for sustainably produced
garments is gradually emerging. Although the Amsterdam area is home to many
successful international denim brands, there is no local weaving or (sustainable) denim
development tradition. Knowledge and developments are decentralized, to say the least.
The idea struck a chord with numerous stakeholders, so Fronteer Strategy (an
Amsterdam-based consulting ﬁrm, denim lovers ourselves) were asked to execute a quick
exploration of the potential feasibility, viability and optimal setup for a sustainable denim
platform in the Amsterdam/Almere region. Could it be possible to develop, create and
produce a sustainable jean, from start to ﬁnish, in the Netherlands?
House of Denim - Concept & Questions 2
Ambitions, Goals & Starting Points
Almere City Ambition
Almere is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, eager to stimulate local talent,
employment, education, entrepreneurship, pride and creativity. The fashion industry has
been earmarked as a potential source of growth. With good logistics, a vision of sustain-
ability, space for development and workers in abundance, Almere has good cards, but
could beneﬁt from an inspiring ‘landmark’ to kick-start further development.
Crafts, Entrepreneurship, Education, Knowledge
The denim industry is both aspirational to young people and a strong part of the
Amsterdam fashion industry. A great topic for linking up education, employment
perspective, entrepreneurs and craftsmanship. Crafts are crucial for a society. *
Amsterdam Denim Capital ?
Amsterdam is home to many innovative designers and leading denim (producing) brands.
What a shame that all the denim development knowledge is hidden away in Japan, Italy,
Turkey, the US and North-Africa. Locally, the main denim industry players are based in
Amsterdam, whereas the main knowledge about design, technology and textiles is
centered around academies & industries around Tilburg, Arnhem, Eindhoven & Enschede.
House of Denim - Concept & Questions 3 * Richard Sennett, The Craftsman, 2008
The Process & Next Steps
We set out on our exploratory mission in May of 2009. First reporting is due for mid-July,
with decisions, discussion & further development work planned in Fall. Since time &
resources for this initial exploration were limited, we chose for the following set-up:
May & June 2009 : Expert Interviews
To establish a starting point for further work, industry, education and denim experts were
probed on the following sequential questions:
1. What should ‘it’ be? Which parts of the denim production cycle should we aim for?
2. How to set it up? Which partners to involve, which form/shape to organise it in ?
3. What do we need ? Which skills, assets, materials, and resources are required ?
Current status: inviting input from industry professionals
Having established a hypothesis/starting point and are nearing our reporting deadline, we
have chosen to present our ideas so far to denim industry experts, inviting input,
feedback, comments and suggestions; all in the spirit of progress and open innovation.
Thanks in advance for commenting on our ideas and questions (slides 5 & 6)
House of Denim - Concept & Questions 4 * Richard Sennett, The Craftsman, 2008
House of Denim current ideas - For Discussion
To maximize viability & reach all objectives, the current concept is built up of 5 elements,
focusing on weaving, cutting, sewing & selling (yarn making, dyeing & laundry considered
potentially a ‘step too far’ for this ﬁrst step into the art of denim craftsmanship)
1. Dutch Denim Mill 4. Denim Laboratory
Battery of 1-10 vintage shuttle Top-level R&D facility and
looms that produces high grade, knowledge center for designers,
artisanal sustainable selvedge denim developers, brands and
denim onsite. Potentially co- weaving professionals. Includes
operate with existing denim
producer(s) abroad and local Platform development of textile, laundry &
treatment expertise. Potentially co-
weaving experts. op with Textile Museum and foreign
2. World of Denim 5. Atelier/Sewing Shop
Museum-style installation that Production facility with denim
shows all steps from ‘cotton to pattern, cutting and sewing
cowboy’, e.g. for educating shop 3. Denim Shop expertise. Combines (simple) craft
staff or denim lovers. Includes Retail section sells house produce as education sewing line with house
Denim Library: archive of denims well as broad array of sustainable design production, sample creation,
& Publications. Co-op with local denims. Co-op with retail education customization and repair services.
denim brands, scene & media. course, retailers, experts and brands Coop with ROC (local education).
House of Denim - Concept & Questions 5
We welcome your thoughts and input on the following key topics:
1. What do you think of the idea in terms of feasibility ?
2. In your view, what will be the main challenges to solve?
3. Are there any case studies, comparable projects or initiatives we should
know about? (e.g., education/entrepreneurship models, crafts centers,
sustainable yarn making, dying, weaving, jeans making, etc.
4. Would you be interested to be informed/involved, participate or
collaborate in subsequent stages of this project’s development?
5. A key challenge will be to get hold of machinery & skilled craftspeople.
Any suggestions for contacts, sources would be greatly welcomed.
House of Denim - Concept & Questions 6
A big thank you to all the denim, industry and education experts
who have contributed to our research so far.
A ﬁrst report to City of Almere is due on July 15th of 2009, but your
comments, thoughts and suggestions are welcome and valuable
beyond that date too.