My Amsterdam: Jason Denham, denim designer
Hailing from London, Jason Denham has tailored himself a place among the denim greats with Amsterdam-born brand Denham the Jeanmaker.
How did you first come to Amsterdam?
I dragged my feet from London to Amsterdam 20 years ago, for work. To me, London was the centre of the universe, and I’d planned to just ‘see how it goes’ for 6 months. But I fell in love with the city very quickly, and blink! It’s 20 years later. Time flies when you’re having fun.
Is it really the denim capital of the world?
Absolutely yes, I’ve been saying it for a long time. Amsterdam is blue – London, Paris and Milan are not. It suits the lifestyle: the Dutch wear jeans all day everyday; they eat jeans for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This city has a great denim culture, and it’s very supportive of the denim industry with shows, education and a lot of great brands and stores. Big and small – the mix is perfect.
What is special about working here?
Amsterdam fosters creative partnerships. It’s a very innovative city – I think the international energy breeds ideas. There are many global creative companies and people in Amsterdam, with serious creative talent on all levels. Because Amsterdam is a small city, we are all well connected.
What about living here?
I’ve watched Amsterdam grow over the last 20 years and for me its gets better and better all the time. On all levels. There is a great balance between the new and the old – high level hotels, restaurants. Today Amsterdam genuinely competes with big international cities like London or Paris.
Where would you send a friend on a shopping spree?
The Nine Streets – its amazing how this area has evolved over the last five years. It’s a great social and retail destination.
What are you favourite Dutch brands?
KLM & Heineken… they both get me where I need to be.
Ha! And where do you hang out?
I love the bar in the Hoxton Hotel, a recent Amsterdam hotspot. As for food, Foodware on the Looiersgracht is great, and I’m very fond of Blue Boy in the centre – it’s unassuming but delicious and always unique. Moon in the newly opened A’DAM Tower is also a great place.
What do you love most about Amsterdam?
How easily accessible the city is; it’s very open, tolerant, international and beautiful.
And what do you really, really not like?
Where to from here for Denham?
We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing: ‘the truth is in the details’, it’s our motto. The Denham brand was born 9 years ago. Mrs. Denham and I took over an art gallery on the Prinsengracht and created a studio with a small team, and then we opened our first store. Today we sell in 22 countries and have 37 international stores, and are growing our market presence through our international offices in Tokyo, Shanghai and Dusseldorf. But Amsterdam is the brand’s home base.
And to you – Amsterdam is home to you now?
Its more than home – I’m lucky I get to travel the world with my work – I visit a lot of cool places, but I can safely say that Amsterdam is the best city in the world.