The power of storytelling: With Amsterdenim you’re buying ‘a little piece of Amsterdam’
27 Jan 2021
There’s a story behind every design in Amsterdenim’s collection, whether it’s a pair of jeans or a T-shirt with an original print. And there are certainly quite a few stories to tell about jeans and the city of Amsterdam with its rich history. The slogan decided on by this brand established in 2014 is therefore no coincidence: With Amsterdenim you’re buying a little piece of Amsterdam.
City of freedom
What connects Amsterdam and denim is freedom, explains Managing Director Ewout Key Rameijer. Jeans were originally designed as workwear and they have become popular as casual clothing too since the 1950’s, thanks to film stars like James Dean and Marlon Brando. “These days, both construction workers and bankers wear jeans”, says Rameijer. “The same applies to the T-shirt: A pair of blue jeans with a white T-shirt is a classic combination. Even though T-shirts were really still labelled as underwear until after the Second World War, bankers will now also happily wear T-shirts without a shirt on top in their spare time. The ultimate democratisation of fashion. That rebelliousness, that diversity, those are certainly very typical of Amsterdam too.”
The Amsterdenim brand name demonstrates the strong connection between Amsterdam and denim. The logo reflects the pointed roofs of Amsterdam’s canal houses, but you’ll also recognise the sails of ships and the three Amsterdam crosses. Rameijer: “We have linked Amsterdam’s history – as a trading city and sanctuary for all kinds of cultures and creative disciplines – with what Amsterdam is today: a genuine denim city. The latter is thanks to good infrastructure and the many creative people who live and work in Amsterdam. That’s why major jeans brands such as Pepe Jeans and Tommy Hilfiger decided to establish themselves here. Amsterdam has even had a Jeans School since 2015. The manufacturing of jeans is quite a specialist business.”
A longing for adventure
A longing for adventure is very typical of the Netherlands, and certainly also of Amsterdam. That true entrepreneurial spirit. There are certainly some fascinating stories to tell about that too. Rameijer uses a baseball T-shirt from Amsterdenim’s collection as an example. The back features the playful ‘Jan-Kees’ text. A nod to the famous New York Yankees team. “New York was founded as New Amsterdam. And the Amsterdam people’s DNA is still very much evident in the New Yorkers’ mentality. The very first settlers were the blunt Dutch. We are known for being incredibly direct. That swagger, which can certainly also be referred to as arrogance, forms part of Amsterdam. We sell self-confidence as a fashion brand.”
Douwe Bob, figurehead
Douwe Bob is the ‘personal embodiment’ of the Amsterdenim brand. The singer has been the face of the brand for some time and has recently become a co-owner too. “A handsome chap, who could certainly also have been a model. But this tattooed artist also has a dark side,” according to Rameijer. “And what about those stunning blue eyes! Definitely an excellent match with jeans.” Douwe Bob likes horse riding, riding motorbikes and travelling. He is a fan of both jeans and suits. Every man wants to be young and cool, but also to be seen as having good taste. Like a man of the world. Just like Amsterdam has a bit of a rough image, but is in fact just an oversized village, Douwe Bob has that rare combination of the ‘perfect son-in-law’ image and someone from the fringes of society.
Tulips and indigo
Amsterdenim is presenting a pocket collection in collaboration with Douwe Bob for spring/summer 2021. This consists of items with prints of his tattoos. One particular eye-catcher is the Carolus print with tulips and the indigofera plant, which gives jeans their blue colour. This print perfectly represents Amsterdenim: tulips from Amsterdam and indigo. The name refers to Carolus Clusius, the Flemish doctor and botanist who introduced the tulip to the Netherlands around 1600. This print can be found on T-shirts, Hawaiian shirts, long-sleeved shirts, boxer shorts, beach shorts, belts and bags. Rameijer: “Many fashion brands like to play it safe. There’s an awful lot of black and Scandinavian minimalism in today’s street scene. That’s exactly why we thought it would be fun to come up with a colourful floral print, which we want to use to spread a positive message.”
A growing little gem
Amsterdenim is sold by around a hundred retailers, half of which are located abroad. From multi-brand stores to Blauwe Winkel shops specialising in denim and “hypermarkets” like Elinga Mode in Drachten, Henk ter Horst in Almelo and Mijn Modewereld in De Wijk. The brand also has a flagship store in Magnaplaza, as well as its own webshop. The aim is to expand that network of shops, says Rameijer. In Germany, for example, where Amsterdam denim has an excellent reputation. “We have started negotiations in New York too, but these will remain on hold for the time being. We have also entered into a collaboration with Wiseguy Originals, which has resulted in our own braces for jeans. I have identified plenty of growth opportunities in these types of collaborations.”
Interested in purchasing Amsterdenim as a retailer? Discover the collection in the FashionUnited B2B Marketplace.
Photo credits: Douwe Bob.
Photographer: Tim Kasper.