By Robin | March 15, 2023

Bluezone Discovery: To Denim & Beyond 

On January 24th and 25th, Bluezone took place in Munich. This version of the biannual international denim trade show—part of Munich Fabric Start—might have been the best ever. An incredibly high-level exhibition, Bluezone was exceptionally well-elaborated, with even the smallest details expertly overseen. We’ve come to expect nothing less from the team that has been putting this world-class show together for the last 20 years.

With the banner Discovery, denim experts from all around the world were invited to discover and experience the industry’s latest developments. The ever-strong line-up was reinforced with some key players in the industry who were showing their collections for the first time at Bluezone, resulting in one of the greatest line-ups we’ve ever seen at Bluezone.

Together with Koen Kuik, we joined the Bluezone Social Media team in order to give you a behind-the-scenes look at what was going on in Munich. Being involved in one of the leading denim shows was a great experience for us. We gave you a taste of what was happening on Instagram, but with this article we’ll dig a little deeper. If what you have seen or read makes you eager to experience the Bluezone atmosphere first hand, the next Bluezone is scheduled for July 18th and 19th. We hope we’ll see you there.


Photo courtesy of Koen Kuik.


To Denim & Beyond

With the theme Discovery, Bluezone invited a global mix of denim professionals to join the conversation and become part of the joint endeavor to guide the denim industry towards a circular future. Elaborating on their previous Back to the Future and Campus shows, Bluezone continued to help exhibitors and visitors to discover their accountabilities and responsibilities so they can strive together towards a less harmful denim supply chain.

The Bluezone team left nothing to chance and organized another masterpiece of a show. The theme Discovery was nicely interwoven in all facets of the show, including in the visualization. As soon as you walked in, you were greeted with a huge rocket and astronaut that together made it very clear that visitors were about to take off to a world of denim and beyond.

Walking around the show, we saw all the familiar faces and felt the spirit of denim expertise and joint passion. Walking around the show was a journey of exploration and, as ever, a comfortable and engaging experience. We spoke with several visitors (some of them professionals, others denim lovers) who visited the show for the first time. They all mentioned the low-key atmosphere and said that they felt very welcomed, as though they had become a part of a big blue family.


Photo courtesy of Koen Kuik.


Debuting Key Players  

This year’s lineup was enriched with some leading companies who were showcasing their recent collections and developments for the first time at Bluezone, including renowned denim mills Saitex and Strom. Having a major impact on the denim industry as leading sustainable mills, Saitex and Strom were a huge asset for Bluezone Discovery. We dropped in at both of their booths to get to know the companies and teams better. We are super happy we did.

We received a warm welcome from the Strom Denim team when we entered their booth. They explained that Strom is a fully vertical factory and laundry that was established in 2008 in Istanbul. Over the years, they have become one of Turkey’s leading companies, with innovation and flexibility as strengths.

With their patented sustainable production solution called Blue Drop, Strom have transformed their processes to create high-quality but low-impact denim. Under this label, Strom Denim introduced sustainable fiber elements, lower energy, water, workmanship and advanced technology. Sustainability and quality have been woven into their manufacturing processes, and they can boast one of the smallest footprints in the industry.


Photo courtesy of Koen Kuik.


Saitex, another Bluezone first-timer, is a Vietnamese manufacturer that was founded in 2012. Being one of the industry’s most sustainable manufacturers, we expected to talk about their sustainability measures, but they seemed more interested in discussing the qualities of their latest fabrics. Sustainability has become so ingrained in their manufacturing practices that it seems to be almost an afterthought. Saitex produces only top-notch sustainable denim fabrics. They are constantly evolving and searching for ways to make their already-small footprint even smaller.

During our visit, they introduced us to Saitex Rekut, a one-of-a-kind production line that is giving people from disadvantaged backgrounds an equal and open opportunity.

This has helped turn the Rekut production line into a platform for the differently-abled, who have new opportunities to receive training and support towards obtaining a sustainable job and a stable income. With a respectable ambition to create 1.000 jobs and avoid 1.000.000 kg in landfills by 2025, Saitex is making clear that the Rekut program is more than just another project. They are creating equality and opportunity, making this a key part of their identity. They say that they hope to inspire other organizations to follow suit.

Learning more about Saitex Rekut was one of our most valuable discoveries at the show, and we were truly touched by the team’s passion and sincerity. Head over to the Saitex website to learn more.


Photo courtesy of Koen Kuik.


Innovative Highlights

The Bluezone shows are the place par excellence to discover the latest in the field of innovations and developments in the denim industry. Walking around and looking at all the collections which were presented by the mills, it becomes increasingly obvious that the entire supply chain is laser-focused on a more responsible future. From fabrics and trims to labels and leather patches, every facet of denim manufacturing is becoming more and more sustainable.

When entering the huge ISKO booth, the first fabrics which caught our eyes was Ctrl+Z, which shows the leading manufacturer taking its circular approach to the next level with material science. With Ctrl+Z materials science offers the chance to hit undo (like the name suggests) and face the industry’s manufacturing and sustainability challenges with a new point of view.

The Ctrl+Z fabrics are made from a blend of recycled cotton and polyester, but they look and feel identical to the more traditional compositions. There hasn’t been any compromise in terms of quality and performance, and the fabric promises to be even more durable than its 100% cotton cousins. In a nutshell, these advances in textile technologies are creating longer-lasting denims than those produced conventionally.

Another innovative highlight we discovered at the show was Bossa’s Brown Cotton. The Turkish manufacturer’s research into brown cotton fabrics ticks off all the criteria for a new sustainable material. It is an environmentally friendly, no-dye product grown using regenerative farming techniques. The end product is a pure and breathable fabric with a soft and delicate feel.

Because it eliminates the dying stage, the brown cotton fabric requires less water and chemicals, dramatically reducing the garment’s overall footprint. The result is a well-balanced fabric that combines elegance, durability, and breathability. Bossa’s Brown Cotton has the unique potential to adapt to ever-evolving trends with vividly colored garments that not only look incredible but also prioritize the health of the planet and all of its people.


Photo courtesy of Koen Kuik.


Robin Denim Discoveries

In the article we uploaded prior to the show, we mentioned that Bluezone is more than just an advanced marketplace where the latest denim innovations are exhibited. The show has also become a place for visitors and professionals to mix and meet. In this facet, Bluezone really excels.


The Blogger Space

Newly introduced at Bluezone Discovery was The Blogger Space right next to the entrance of the show. In collaboration with Monsieur T, Bluezone set-up a space where denim lovers and bloggers could have relaxed conversations. Denim authorities such as Long John, Swissjeansfreak, Denimhunters, the Indigo Invitational, and Koen Kuik and Robin Denim used The Blogger Space as home base during the show.

At The Blogger Space, Ruedi Karrer exhibited some of his most precious faded pairs of jeans from the Jeans Museum. The beautifully faded jeans and jackets helped show why what it is that keeps raw denim fans coming back for more. Next to the faded pairs of jeans, Thomas Stege Bojer of Denimhunters and Bryan Szabo of the Indigo Invitational were promoting their lately released new book, The Rebel Outfit. Finally, Robin Denim exhibited a side-to-side comparison of a thoroughly faded and a brand-new pair of his Realign Denim Tapered Yoshis.


Photo courtesy of Koen Kuik.


BROTHER direct-to-garment printer

Opposite to The Blogger Space, BROTHER set up an impressive DTG printer GTX600 direct-to-garment printer, which was running during the show. Supported by the helpful team, the printers showcased the latest in the field of direct-to-garment printing using vegan inks. With accelerated print speed, seamless design, and low maintenance, the DTG printer GTX60 takes printing on garments to the next level. We enjoyed seeing the huge printer print a variety of designs on t-shirts and hoodies, and we were amazed by the speed, quality and accuracy. The running printer grabbed a lot of attention from the visitors and gave a unique insight into this fascinating facet of the industry.


Photo courtesy of Koen Kuik.


Indigo Dyeing by Tintes Egara

The Spanish garment Dye house Tintes Egara specializes in made-to-order dyed garments that are full of life, authenticity and personality. At Bluezone Discovery, the dyeing house showcased their sustainable and eco-friendly indigo dyeing processes live on stage, making a batch of unique Bluezone tees. The indigo dying of Tintes Egara at Bluezone Discovery was a good-looking eyecatcher and gave an interesting insight into the world of garment dyeing.


Photo courtesy of Koen Kuik.


Knowledge and Inspiration

With knowledge-sharing and innovation at the top of Bluezone’s agenda, the game-changing conference program, with over 90 top-class speakers, was more extensive than ever. The focus was mainly on digitalization, innovation and sustainability. Bluezone devoted a great deal of effort and resources to their profound and high-level education, and the interest from exhibitors and visitors was extremely high, giving a nice rendering of the zeitgeist in the denim industry.

Munich Fabric Start’s unique Keyhouse concept is an innovative hub where the industry’s latest innovations, developments and technologies are presented. In a separate building, in between Bluezone and Munich Fabric Start, dozens of companies give product demonstrations, interactive experiences, and talks focused on everything from trends to technologies. Keyhouse is entirely focused on innovation and enhancement, with some of the world’s leading textile companies joining the hub to show off their latest contributions that are helping the industry become more circular.


Photo courtesy of Koen Kuik.


So what’s next for Bluezone?

The denim industry is in the midst of a challenging period. The pandemic caused a huge drop in sales and closed down countless factories, and the ensuing period of inflation has affected the industry at every level. The increasing costs and uncertainty are making it hard to predict the near future, yet the industry soldiers on, coming together at Bluezone and continuing their push for innovation and development.

In the midst of a turbulent world, Bluezone Discovery provided a place for the industry to discover and rediscover itself. They exceeded all our expectations. In close cooperation with the exhibitors, each with their own unique contributions, Bluezone helped us all to focus on the bright spot on the horizon. With Discovery, Bluezone took the industry by hand, even in this difficult time. This is what they’ve been doing for more than 20 years, and they will continue to do so in the years ahead.

We’ve only scratched the surface. The show was packed with the best that the denim industry has to offer, and the spirit of cooperation and unity was tangible. Bluezone has become a true cornerstone for the industry and an unmissable event for the presentation of new collections and innovations.

Although the theme of the next show is still shrouded in mystery, the dates have been confirmed. the next Bluezone will take place on July 18th and 19th, 2023. One thing that we’ve learned from all of our Bluezone visits is that we can trust the team behind Bluezone to organize an incredible show. Make sure to book your flight to Munich and join the conversation about the future of our industry, discover the latest innovations, and get inspired with denim discoveries and rediscoveries. We hope to see you in Munich in July!


Photo courtesy of Koen Kuik.