Denim.lab is a Dutch denim brand with a clear focus: true premium denim.Instead of hunting for new designs and a faster supply chain, its founder Sander van de Vecht just follows his own obsession for great products. Denim.lab is sourcing driven, which means: ‘fabric comes first’. Sander van de Vecht explains his idea.
S a n d e r v a n d e V e c h t – f o u n d e r
What is the philosophy behind Denim.lab?
Denim.lab creates quality inspired denim collections for Men and Kids. All our jeans fabrics we use are made from shuttle loom selvage fabrics, as they are the highest grade of fabrics you can get.They are amazing to work with. But selecting the fabric is just the first step; we spend a great deal of time sourcing and developing the best trims for each garment, like a variety of chambray fabrics for the yoke and pocket linings, our cotton micro logo made in France, the matt black metals, and our Italian leather patches. And mostly we stitch our denim with an indigo dyed sewing thread that fades with the jeans. Finally, we do not use plastic bags for packing and shipping, so each garment is shipped in a reusable cotton bag. These details are a big part of our success as they are very appealing in the stores for consumers and great tools for the sales crew to tell about.In my opinion, there is a little offer available in the ‘premium’ menswear denim market, maybe some brands are expensive, but does that guarantee premium denim? I mean, what defines premium denim? The expensive photo shoot and the famous designer name, or the product and its ingredients?
“Maybe some brands are expensive, but does that guarantee premium denim?
I mean, what defines premium denim?The expensive photo shoot and the
famous designer name, or the product and its ingredients?”
Denim . Lab products are clean & extremely well – made, with the premium shuttle – loomed selvedge fabrics .
How do you work?
My sourcing is determining my collection. I only use what I really like. So we use selvage denims only for jeans, shirts and even jackets. In rare occasions we also use other fabrics, like blends with wool or other specialty fabrics. When a product is good, we do not touch it anymore and so we keep the range as simple as possible. We have three denim fits, the slim,the regular and the chino, we have one shirt, one blazer and two jackets or coats. All of these styles remain in the collection and we only change the fabrics when needed.
Where do you produce your denim?
We source and produce mainly in two places, Japan and Thailand, both very good in selvage denims and manufacturing.
You are not following the regular rhythm of the fashion industry with at least 2 collections a year, why?
I believe that denim should not be dictated by four seasons and deliveries per year, most jeans collections can be sold throughout the year and for a longer period. This is especially important as nowadays the sales of denim has cooled down a lot and stores need more time to work with their denim offers. A solid NOS system is also very important to me. We keep an average of six styles on stock for weekly reorder. What I consider a high end jeans brand is not about marketing budgets, it’s really about what goes into the product, the fabric, the leather, metals,re-usable packaging… and that is exactly what the independent retailer needs in the future since all the big marketing driven brands will open up their own stores anyway.
Hunter jacket made with rainbow wool
Why did you start your own denim business?
I worked for 15 years for brands like Pepe Jeans, JC Rags, Gsus, Tommy Hilfiger, Gaastra Blue but it seemed inevitable that I would start up my own business. Five years ago I started Denim.lab Productions where we design and produce jeans for other brands and private label collections for bigger retail chains. The brand evolved from that.So, at the beginning, Denim.lab was meant for other designers and private label buyers. In the meantime, we also started buying more and more dead stock selvage fabrics which I picked up on my sourcing trips for our own web shop. And whenever I really liked something, I produced some new jeans from it, selling them online and at events. That also includes our fantastic kid’s collection called Mini. lab. Finally, I started selling them to some local Dutch menswear stores and they sold very well and came back asking for more. Today we are selling the brand with customers in UK, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium and Japan.
“I started selling them to some local Dutch menswear stores and they sold very well and came back asking for more. Today we are selling the brand with customers in UK, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium and Japan.”
What is so special with Denim – why did you decide to do your own denim brand or to work with denim?
I just cannot get bored from the endless possibilities of denim and the passionate people, I work with. Traveling and the everlasting chase of sourcing and developing new stuff are very, very addictive.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I travel every few weeks, visiting mills and factories; I go to fabric warehouses hunting for dead stock fabrics we can use. But I also like to work directly with the mills and develop our own ideas and all that together is very inspiring to me. Also meeting the sales teams in the different countries and talking to my customers about what was good can set off other ideas in motion.
Denim.lab is only menswear, why?
Half of the world is men, which is enough for me.Seriously, men and especially male denim customers are more stable and value a great pair of jeans much better and longer than woman do.Women’s fashion is going much too quick. I like working for women for my production customers, but they don’t fit my values for Denim.lab.
What is the mainstream trend in denim right now?
For woman I really like the fabric mixing, creating that re-used look. Very fresh and endless in options.
You are also selling selvage denim in your web shop – what kind of customer is buying denim fabrics?
We sell them to all kinds of people, tailors, bag makers, hobbyists, fashion students, shoemakers etc. Basically to anyone who only needs 3 to 300 meters of fabric. But we also sell bigger volumes when buyers cannot find what they need and call me.R.H.
Denim . Lab showroom.