Meet the Maker – Denim.Lab
An interview by Robin Meijerink
Denim.lab is a quality inspired Dutch denim brand for both men and kids and was established in 2015 by Sander van de Vecht. For the dry collections, Denim.lab does not follow seasons, rather every now and then Sander adds some new drys to the collection. The number of new jeans depends on the fabric he can lay his hands on.
In the picturesque village called Nijkerkerveen, in the center of the Netherlands, you can find the Denim.lab headquarters. At the headquarters, Sander’s workspace, his vintage collection and the Denim.lab collection come together. During our visits, Sander told us everything about the history of Denim.lab and we got impressed by the fact that Denim.lab grew in only two years to an impressive denim brand.
Back in 2015, Denim.lab started with just a couple of drys and a few kids’ jeans. Sander is a denim veteran who worked at several Dutch denim brands and since five years owns his own denim production company. The brand was initially created as an inspiration collection for his production customers (brands – retail – private label). Later he started to produce small series of jeans from deadstock selvedge fabrics in a modern, post-heritage look and those were picked up by some local jeans stores and they came back asking for more.
Denim.lab developed as a sourcing driven company which means that the fabric comes first. During the sourcing trips, once every few weeks, Sander is on the hunt for the most exclusive (denim) fabrics that will be an addition to his collections. Once Sander has found a fabric, he starts drawing until he finds the item that matches best with the fabric. A good example of this process is Denim.lab’s recently launched Kimono’s. During one of his sourcing trips, Sander found some incredible Japanese deadstock fabrics, like a camo jacquard, and created some limited Kimono’s from it.
Fabric & Construction
The construction takes place at the Denim.lab production facilities near Bangkok, Thailand. These manufactories, with their own laundries, are responsible for the production of all items inside the collection. The factories, specialized in producing jeans, also have special lines setup to create shirts and jackets, which is very convenient as not many jeans suppliers can do this.
For all the jeans, including the drys and the pre-washed jeans, Denim.lab only uses selvedge denim. In contrast to many denim brands, the origin of the fabric isn’t leading when selecting new fabrics. Whether the fabric is coming from Japan or Thailand, it has to be unique, well-made and it must fade beautifully. In our interview with Sander, he explained the differences between denim made in Thailand and Japanese denim.
Over the years, Denim.lab developed several signature details. For the jeans, Denim.lab added a tailored lining in the waistband and placed a chambray fabric on the inside of the yoke. The same chambray is used for the back pockets to increase the durability. Also, the matt black trims and the Italian leather patch, washed in indigo, has become Denim.lab’s signature details. Most of the dry’s in the current collection are stitched with indigo dyed thread, so the thread will fade alongside the jeans.
The Denim.lab collection can be separated into three different programs, namely; The NOS program, the limited’s and the kid’s collection.
The NOS program is the foundation of Denim.lab’s collection. This is the collection that is always on stock, can be reordered by stores, and changes maximum once a year. With the NOS program, Denim.lab give his customers a style to rely on. The NOS program features many jeans, washed as well as drys, jackets and some accessories
In addition to the NOS program, every season, Denim.lab launches a few Limited’s. It is the Limited’s that keep the collection fresh, dynamic and desirable. The limited items are just made once, so when they run out of stock, reordering isn’t possible. Currently, the limited collection features shirts, jackets, blazers & chino’s.
The third program is the Kid’s collection, named Mini.lab. Since the start of Denim.lab the Kid’s program is an important part of the collection. Which denim head wouldn’t like to dress his young boy or girl in a dry selvedge jeans? Over the years, Mini.lab evolved from just a few drys to a collection existing of three stretch selvage fabrics and one ripped & patched wash. Also there is a miner jacket, which is a cool reimagined mini version a Type 1 jacket.
The Denim.lab collection is a gathering of exclusive high-quality fabrics, vintage processes and a modern take on fits and construction. For the 2018 Denim.lab added some beautiful deadstock Japanese shirts, sourced from Kobe-Japan, to the collection. Besides the Denim.lab collection, you can also find denim fabric, that you can order per meter, and Union Specials in the webstore. Curious? Head over to the Denim.lab web storeto see it for yourself.
written by RobinDenim