Back To The Future with Bluezone
573 days after the last edition of Bluezone, the trade show show re-opened its doors with ‘Back To The Future’. Being one of the major denim trade shows, Bluezone was the first which decided to take the risk and offer a physical, face-to-face, trade show. By working together with German healthcare regulators, Bluezone made sure to take all factors into account in order to organize an inspiring and safe get-together, with great success.
Being part of Munich Fabric Start, Bluezone was founded in 2013 as the first of its kind denim dedicated trade show serving all kinds of companies from within the denim supply chain. The biannual denim trade show attracts many major denim companies and has become one of the key events for manufacturers, suppliers, laundries and brands. Bluezone’s roots are firmly anchored in authenticity and innovation, which are then intertwined with sustainability, circularity and consciousness.
On August 31st and September 1st we were invited by the show to report the activities and to capture all things indigo, which we did in collaboration with our good friend and talented photographer Hans Jellema. Keep reading to find out more and to see what we got up to during our first post-pandemic denim trade show.
With exceptional enthusiasm we were looking forward to Bluezone for weeks prior to the show. Of course we couldn’t wait to see the latest in denim developments and innovations, but what we were looking forward to the most was being reunited with our denim family. We have missed all our beautiful denim friends who together form the backbone of our industry and seeing them in real-life instead of on a (Zoom) screen was a refreshing and much needed change from the norm.
Wandering around the show, togetherness and solidarity were present and visible by all the smiling and happy faces. Yes, the industry is about making denim, pushing innovation and enhancing product, but being all together after the pandemic – with such an impact on all of us – for the first time, it felt more like a family reunion.
The feel of togetherness was perfectly translated into a collaborative project between some leading companies from the denim industry led by Lenzing, who together created a sustainable denim collection. The extensive collaboration, named ‘Bast Recast’ consists of 9 fabrics and 18 garments, all of which were made using the latest technology and responsible materials. The collection is strongly focused on sustainability, relying on the expertise and vision of the involved partners, and design-wise took its inspiration from authentic vintage denim. All fabrics were developed by Naveeda Denim from Pakistan using hemp mixed with TENCEL™ Lyocell and were then transformed into vintage-inspired garments by the renowned Endrime Studios from the UK.
‘ReSource’ – The Industry’s Latest Innovations
Picking up the thread where we lost it during to the pandemic, new innovations and developments were shown with even more urgency and necessity. Covid-19 made us realize that we’re not invincible and that things need to change, quickly. It made us rethink our strategies and reevaluate our priorities, both in business and on a personal level. The pandemic further highlighted that a sustainable and responsible denim industry is the only healthy future, and although we didn’t physically meet each other during the last eighteen month, the denim industry hasn’t stood still. Quite to the contrary.
In order to facilitate the industry’s urge to move forward, Munich Fabric Start developed a new innovative platform named ‘ReSource’. The overarching concept was brought to life as a unique sourcing platform for sustainable innovations and textile solutions. ‘ReSource’ is an online fabric library, offering an overview of current material developments produced in an ecologically and socially responsible manner, distinguished by the fabrics’ characteristics and certificates. For Munich Fabric Start, the show translated the online platform into an attractive and engaging physical exhibition, where visitors could browse through a selection of sustainable fabrics from the exhibitors.
Next to showcasing the worlds’ most innovative fabrics, ‘ReSource’ also played host to some groundbreaking start-ups and young companies who translated their vision on a future-proof denim industry into a fantastic concept which combined sustainability with technology and style. We spoke with most of the people behind these concepts and we are sure these brilliant minds are an added value for our industry, awaiting a bright future. From all great initiatives, we would like to highlight ‘New Blue’ and the ‘Textielfabriek’.
Berlin based New Blue project stems from a desire to rethink the notion of recycled materials and to create a truly circular product lifecycle. Designer Tim van der Loo has managed to develop a new circular jeans material, where worn-out jeans are decomposed and recomposed into a reborn denim fabric. Worn-out garments that normally end up on landfills are now being processed into new garments which are ready to be worn again.
The Dutch manufacturer Enschede Textielstad, is based in the city Enschede which was once one of Europe’s major textile centres. The small-scale industrial weaving mill was established to bring textile production back to the city in the most ‘local’ and responsible way possible. By using recycled yarns, Enschede Textielstad produces a variety of fabrics including hand woven selvedge denim, providing brands with high quality sustainable and traceable fabrics, made in the Netherlands.
‘Back To The Future’
Although ‘Back To The Future’ might sound a bit cinematic or cliched at first, it was the perfect metaphor for the first edition of Bluezone post-pandemic. With this title the team wanted to inspire the industry to go back to the boldness, creativity and thoroughness of yesteryear, while embracing today’s knowledge, technologies and consciousness. Elaborating on Bluezone’s previous ‘ECOISM’ show, all parts of the industry were invited to join forces in order to build a future-proof and eco-friendly denim industry with fresh energy and decisiveness.
We reached out to Mohsin Sajid, owner of Endrime Studios, and Panos Sofianos, curator at Bluezone, to hear how they experienced the ‘Back To The Future’ show, to prove us with a broader impression and different perspectives;
Mohsin Sajid, Endrime: I enjoyed coming to Munich and seeing the denim community again. It’s my first trip since March 2020. Reconnecting with friends and once again seeing and feeling denim fabrics. My company Endrime presented for the 1st time the Tencel Bast Recast collection. This collection is our most advanced collection these past 20 years. I’ve been a denim designer and it was a huge privilege to use custom Naveena fabrics. I’ve been coming to Bluezone for a few years and especially enjoy hearing denim talks. This past event was extra special as we held the blue Lenz denim videos at Bluezone. Excited to return next year.
Panos Sofianos, curator at Bluezone: We are very satisfied with the fact that Bluezone finally succeeded in its mission. Our commitment to bring business “Back to the Future” – according to our motto – seems more than accomplished. The professional set up worked accurately giving to our exhibitors and visitors the feeling of security and normalcy. On the other hand, this makes us even more optimistic about the luck of the next event. A very big thanks to all who trusted and supported the one and only physical trade show in the community of Blue.
With the ‘Back to the Future’ show Bluezone gave the industry a new energy and a fresh vision for a brighter future. During the show, we were invited to look back in order to move forward and to rewrite our future together. Although it might have felt too soon for some people, which we understand and totally respect, Bluezone sparked the fire to continue the mission to take our responsibilities with the utmost seriousness, and to go all-in for a circular and waste-free denim industry. Working together with German healthcare regulators, the organization of the show was brilliant and didn’t leave anything to chance. We felt safe, secure and reassured.
Now, a few weeks after the show, we are already looking forward to the next edition of our favourite trade show. Bluezone will return on January 25th and 26th 2022 at the usual location in Munich, welcoming hundreds of people from the colorful denim community once again. But if you can’t wait another four months, head over to the website of Bluezone to read the latest news, to meet people from the industry, or to visit the digital trend space.
Photo courtesy of Hans Jellema.