Denim Dudes

The Weekened in Milan: Denim Boulevard

Amy LevertonComment

Directly after Pitti and in-line with the Milan mens fashion week shows, Cristian Murio, Antonio Isaja and team opened the doors to their 3rd annual Denim Boulevard show last weekend. This intimate gathering of like-minded enthusiasts is not exactly a trade show, not really a festival but rather a celebration of denim; its craftsmen, producers and consumers. Denim and apparel shows are getting more and more intimate and its a great thing to see: Desert and Denim back in March proved that true enthusiasts would travel to the middle of a desert if it means hanging out with like-minded people and this definitely shows a shift in the apparel industry. Denim Boulevard is held in a beautifully picturesque part of Milan and the characterful buildings add to the authentic atmosphere. I sent Antonio Giacometti down to photograph some of the key exhibitors. 

The show is in part run by the guys from Crackers and always supported by Antonio from Blue Blanket, but this season the event teamed up with leading Italian mill, Candiani, more on this later.

 

Antonio Di Bastita

Longtime supporter of Denim Boulevard, Antonio is a force to be reckoned with in the denim world. Known globally for his vast collection of denim and workwear, Antonio exhibited choice items from this personal archive as well as showing his own label Blue Blanket. 

Below: An amazing Stronghold garment dating back to the turn of the century. La Brea based Stronghold have done a great job of resurrecting this old workwear company but its wonderful to see the 'real thing' up close and personal.

 

Candiani

Leading Italian mill Candiani presented Loom State, an event that spanned the three days of the show and celebrated the entire production chain of a pair of jeans. They bought in a vintage Picanol loom and wove selvedge denim, designed, pattern cut and stitched jeans as part of a live workshop.

Above: Denim Dude Simon from Candiani concentrating on threading the shuttles.

 

Endrime

Another Denim Dude, Mohsin Sajid took his brand Endrime to Denim Boulevard for the first time this season. After exhibiting at Liberty fairs last year, Mohsin preferred the intimate setting of DB and the great selection of like-minded brands. Mohsin's attention to detail and highly premium items have been getting him quite a bit of attention at trade shows lately, he's just returned from CC Show, Japan where he received equal success.

 

Le Group

With Candiani re-creating the denim production chain, it was  Le Group's job to represent the laundry stage of the denim process.  This famous Italian finishing plant based in the heart of Cagli, north-east Italy, works with some of the leading denim brands out there. They displayed some of their most impressive replications of vintage denim in the baking hot cobbled courtyard.

 

RDD

   

 

 

As well as the smaller, artisanal brands, Denim Boulevard did include some other interesting ventures. RDD (Royal Denim Division) is the exclusive line from high street retailers, Jack & Jones. The attitude, however, sat very much in-line with the other brands at the show: think selvedge denims, garments produced in Italy in collaboration with Blue Line and all quality hardwear. 

 

Samurai & Studio Artisan

A purist denim show would not be complete without a few key Japanese brands and Studio D'Artisan created a fantastic area in the show, using vintage pinball machines and Americana influences. Other brands to show at DB included Tellason, Flying Horse, Blue De Genes, Jacob Cohen and many more.

The show looked like an absolutely fabulous experience and one that I would love to see first-hand next time. Personally, the most important feeling I get from this show (and other boutique purist shows like it) is that this scene is continuing to grow steadily. Gone are the days where giant trade shows rule the apparel calendar. Now its about seeking out great quality brands with like-minded attitudes. These shows are about lifestyle, community and collaboration, not competition. From what I heard, there was a tangible sense of support and comradeship that I am sure will continue to strengthen denim relationships around the world as well as support local industry.

Congratulations on another successful show, dudes!