‘You only get one chance to make a first impression,’ and Hans Bollen, owner of Antwerp’s Kings & Queens, sure doesn’t pass up that chance. He’s the kind of proprietor that always gives each customer a warm welcome, even when he’s busy helping out other customers. And with a combination of a distinctive 50′s style and the emerging biker-scene with the more contemporary fashion market, King & Queens reaches out to both hardcore enthusiasts and denim novices.
Over the past years, “vintage” and “heritage” have been bastardised by the fashion industry and you won’t have a hard time finding petty startup brands or shops marketing their products as “authentic” or “original.” But in few occasions such labels do ring true, like it’s the case with fein und ripp. Most of the garments sold in the shop were produced between the late 1920s to the early 80s – deadstock and unworn. Swooped up from an abandoned factory in the Swabian alps near Stuttgart in southern Germany, the garments they sell are true and rare old world beauties – they simply don’t make them like this anymore.
In Berlin you will find yourself spoiled for choice in just about every way. The possibilities to experience history, theatre, arts, cultural and simply a damn good time are in abundance. Whatever it is you are looking for Berlin caters for it all and more. It is no different when it comes to denim. You’ll find the Usual Suspects within, quite literally, a ten minute walk of each other. Burg&Schild, 14 oz. and DC4 all carry a fantastic range of denim and gear; however if you stray a little bit further there are a few other haunts that are well worth a visit. Along the way you can see some of the best bits of Berlin, eat some good food and get a great coffee.
Denmark has a lot to be proud of. The extensive safety net of our welfare system, our free top-level educational system, the record low crime rates and the almost non-existent corruption of our society. But one of the more tangible features of our culture is a long-standing design tradition. For decades, Danish design has been praised abroad and soon New Yorkers will be able to shop for it locally when one of the Danish design marvels of the 21st century, Han Kjøbenhavn, opens a flagship store in Prince Street in Soho this February. The interior of the shop is designed by the creative Copenhageners themselves spiced up with a few classics from Arne Jacobsen and Hans Wegner. Hopefully we’ll get some pictures of the shop soon. In the meantime, you can read more about Han Kjøbenhavn here.
Although Amsterdam is clearly the denim capital of the Netherlands, there are also a few other interesting shops for denim purists to visit in other parts of the country. One of them is Best of Brands located in Hoogland near Amersfoort. Owner Bob Rijnders recently introduced his very own Butcher of Blue jeans. As a follow-up we have had a closer look at the shop and asked Bob a few questions.
Switzerland: the world’s multilingual neutral ‘bank reserve’ famously known for its fine chocolate, watches and most recently Roger Federer. As the largest city with nearly 400.000 inhabitants (and a metropolitan are of 1.8 million), Zurich is the economic and cultural powerhouse of the country. The city is also home to one of Europe’s most well-stocked denim shops: VMC.
“They’re not scared of you. They’re scared of what you represent to ‘em.” This is how George (Jack Nicholson) sums up the essence of what the biker culture represented in the 1969 cult movie Easy Rider. Even though criminalised and drug-financed hardcore biker gangs still shake down our society now and then, a new and more civilised biker culture is flourishing in the Copenhagen area with workshops like Wrenchmonkees and Customs From Jamesville. Most recently, back in March this year Copenhagen got itself its very first supplier of “vintage motorcycle spare parts, obscure accessories and junk you didn’t know you needed.” And it’s the only supplier of Eat Dust in Denmark too.
Berlin is one of my favourite denim destinations. Most of the hype is focused on the three main denim suppliers of the city centre that with individual ‘themes’ stock the cream of the world’s most premium brands. On Saturday the 17th earlier this month, the former residence of the German Kaisers and part of the Berlin metropolitan area, Potsdam was put on the German denim map with the grand opening of Kersting & Henschel. Curious to find out more about the new boys in town, stockists of brands like Momotaro, Iron Heart, Eat Dust, Indigofera, The Flat Head, Filson, and Red Wing Shoes, I had co-owner of the shop, Torsten Kersting answer a few questions.
As part of my job with Edwin, earlier this fall I hit the Danish country roads to have a closer look at the highlights of the provincial shopping opportunities spread around our country. My schedule took me to Esbjerg, a seaport located on the south western coast of Jutland and Denmark’s fifth largest city. For almost three decades, Jill & Joy has been the main fashion and denim outlet of the city, a position they’ve cemented earlier this year with a complete interior redecoration cornered by a wall of denim. Step inside and have a sneak peek for yourself.
Let me be completely honest about this, once you get outside of Copenhagen there isn’t really that much to explore for hardcore denim nerds in Denmark. Sure, there are a few decent shop scattered around the country that know a thing or two about denim and run a tight operation, one of such is Kul & Koks. Located in Kolding on the southern east coast of the Jutland peninsula, Kul & Koks is the no. 1 shopping destination for the 90,000 residents of the Kolding municipality. The shop celebrated its 20th anniversary in November 2011 and for almost a decade Kul & Koks hasn’t been following the regular sales season – that’s how well-established the shop is.