Next weekend see’s a couple of fairly important social events in the European Denim and Work Wear calendar. Midweek is the Bread and Butter trade show in Berlin and the weekend immediately following is the now annual Iron Heart summer party (amusingly tied in with the title “Fish and Chips”) at their headquarters in Gosport on the South coast of England. After much thought I decided against going to Bread and Butter this year, the brands I wanted to speak with are not going and to be honest it was an expense I could do without, a real shame as I know that there are some really cool people going that I would have enjoyed the opportunity of speaking with in person rather than just over the internet, maybe next time.
The Iron Heart summer party though is something that I will attend and bring my family along to, as we have all been friends of Giles and Paula and Haraki-san for some time now. It presents me with a nice opportunity to catch up with some old friends, hopefully make some new ones and have some quality denim chats, food, booze and fun. Last years party featured a legendary barbecue, a visit from the Iron Heart Japan crew and a chance to meet the great guys from Obbigood Label and Tuckshop in Singapore and it was a truly great event enjoyed by around 40 people on the day. This years party sees the return of the Iron Heart Japan crew, alongside another visit from James and Johnny of OGL and a meal out at a lovely local restaurant.
The social side of the denim scene is quite unique in terms of the closeness of the relationship between brand, retailer and customer, all will be present in Gosport, there is involvement and discourse on an unprecedented level. This kind of interaction leads to a real sense of community along with a customer base who are educated and appreciative of flexibility and constraints inherent in the manufacture and procurement of ethically produced high quality items, this can be a huge advantage all round when communicating requirements and restrictions from both sides of the coin.
Personally speaking, my involvement in this scene has to this point been much more focussed on the social side of things, and I know some really nice folks through the common interest in wearing blue jeans. I am particularly looking forward to the Iron Heart party as it will give me time to catch up with folks who I haven’t seen in a while and also to see the new products which the brand is currently developing, not to mention I am particularly fond of food and beer !