The Denim Window (TDW), a collective hub in Amsterdam where manufacturers, insiders and designers can connect, collaborate and discover new and sustainable ideas for creating jeans, will close by end of June 2021.
The project was founded by Silvia Rancani, an expert insider of the jeanswear and denim industry. It was born in October 2018 and started operating from January 2019. It was opened in a first highly inspiring location, at the West border of Amsterdam, near Halfweg where Kingpins was going to move, and more recently it moved to Schakelstraat, near Amsterdam-Sloterdjik, not far from Westergasfabriek, near the past location of the show.
Because of the pandemic, from an intimate meeting place where garments, fabric and accessory manufacturers, along with finishers, chemical and yarn manufacturers, held single or collective meetings with brands, designers and insiders, it transformed itself into a digital hub where key players and personalities discussed various topics with Rancani during Instagram-live broadcasting. Though, after 2019, when TDW held four collective presentations and additional one-to-one appointments, 2020 was not as successful.
Rancani told TSO about her experience and visions of the future.
Why did you decide to close TDW?
The situation here in the Netherlands, but generally in the market, has reached a deadlock. Brands are not looking for new fabrics or new suppliers; they simply order some never-out-of-stock articles for pieces that complete the unsold products from the two past seasons, most of which are still laying in their warehouses.
Moreover, as I personally don’t have any financial backer, I have no other financing than my annual contracts and most recently companies who agreed to sign one will stop by June as no clear evolution is predictable for anyone.
And again, in this country the pandemic is not under control yet, and the number of vaccinated people is still behind for reaching an overall reassuring situation.
Many insiders have encouraged me to continue for a bit longer as they appreciate my work and how I brought some lightness, humanity and color that was missing in this segment. They felt that TDW was an occasion for meeting people of our business in a relaxed and cozy way. Though, unfortunately, I cannot continue running additional risks.
You had also moved to a new location. Didn’t that help?
I signed that rental contract in February 2020 and Covid-19 started here two weeks after. When I entered the new location it was August 2020, and I only managed to organize a couple of very small events in September… I couldn’t even inaugurate my new place as everything closed down again right after.
The Denim Window’s recent location in Schakelstraat
Through 2020 I organized a series of live talks via Instagram with lots of insiders–more or less twice a week. I first held my “Spritz” series of talks speaking via the Web sipping a typical Italian apéritif. Then I started my “Kitchen” meetings inviting insiders to cook their favorite recipe live, though I stopped that too as I understood people prefer to meet in person.
Along with it, as Kingpins has just announced that Kingpins Amsterdam will not take place as a physical show next October [also see here], this is further changing the dynamics of international insiders usually recalled by Kingpins we all benefitted from. This is another reason why I didn’t see a positive future for TDW.
‘Spritz’ online meetings series organized by The Denim Window during lockdowns
Have you already started working on some new project? What is your expertise?
I am specialized in product development, washing and fabric developments. As I have been working for 16 years in this field I have collected lots of contacts and experience globally. I worked for companies from Mauritius (Denim De l’Ile), Hong Kong (Coin Group), and Asia for Diesel’s Asian productive pole, among others. Then I moved to Amsterdam where I worked for brands like Tommy Jeans, but also worked in other fields as I learned to make tattoos in a tattoo studio in the Red Light District. I also love animals much. I created my own line of denim clothes and accessories for pets, The Denim Dog, which I recently sold to a pet store in Amsterdam. Plus I own a horse….
I am very curious, ambitious and always looking for new challenges and stimuli… I don’t know exactly what I will do. Very probably, I would like to work as a consultant…but first I want to take some holidays in Italy…maybe then I might even go back to my country of origin, but that’s not decided yet.
Do you see any recovery sign?
I see a sign that is not very encouraging. Despite when the Covid pandemic burst out, everyone hoped that consumers would have gone back to buy responsibly, spending more for better quality products. I rather see the opposite as, for instance, here in the Netherlands, I see long queues of people in front of Primark, Pull & Bear and Stradivarius. All signs that show that the spending power has shrunk but also that people are not willing to buy less but better.
The Denim Window’s first location in Amsterdam
Another sign is that European industry insiders are traveling less as European are not allowed to reach Asia. For this reason, some brands have started working with nearer manufacturers and finishers, mostly located in the Mediterranean basin and Europe, where they can keep track of their work more easily.
My impression is that the denim market is not facing a great time for now….