Sportswear International talked to Jason Denham, founder of the Dutch denim brand Denham, about the label's recently opened second worldwide store in Tokyo and the expansion plans for Japan and the rest of the world. Here, Jason Denham also talks about the major themes for S/S 2011. 

Denham has just opened a shop in Tokyo, which is the brand's second store worldwide, after its first stand-alone store in Amsterdam, the 495 shop. Why did you pick Tokyo as a location?
First of all, we think Japan and also Asia on the whole is a very important market in the future, whether it be trendwise or in economic terms. Furthermore, you can find great factories here which use innovative techniques for washes. We already produce a large part of our collection at local laundry facilities. We still have a smaller team in Tokyo than at our headquarters in Amsterdam of course, but we will put a lot of effort in enlarging our presence here — this will happen step by step. I also have a very personal relationship to Japan because I have been travelling there for 15 years now and I love the culture and the taste-level of Japanese people. It’s an honor for me to open a store here now, especially in my favorite district of Tokyo, Daikanyama. 

Is the store similar to the store in Amsterdam?
It is similar in terms of the idea of presentation. Like our HQ store in Amsterdam which combines the shop, design studio and showrooms all under one roof, the denim house in Tokyo also gives space to the shop as well as a little design studio with a workbench, just in a smaller concept.  

What is the retail and expansion strategy for Denham?
We are already very successful in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, the UK and Italy. We believe strongly in private retail. We would like to have stores in the most important cities of the world. At the moment we are looking for locations in Paris, London and Düsseldorf. We have also recently set up offices in London and Paris in order to settle there more permanently. Next to our private retail plans, we also want to grow with shop-and-shops. In February, we started with a shop-in-shop at Selfridges in London, which already is a fantastic success. And of course wholesale is also very important for us — we need good partners. That’s why we are very selective. Right now we work together with about 300 retailers worldwide.    

What are the most important themes for Denham for S/S 2011?
The S/S collection is inspired by Cuba and is called “Havana Makeshift.” For men it will be very vintage and very masculine; the ladies collection is completely feminine, very sophisticated with a lot of lightweight fabrics. We have also worked on three major themes: the 1st Edition Washes which are made 100% in Japan and are only sold at selected stores; the Virgin collection with unspoiled, very clean denim made out of 50% indigo cotton and 50% high-shine paper; and the Re-cut story where we used raw materials; for example, Dutch army tents were re-cut into chinos. For Denham, the vintage character is omnipresent but always translated into a new, modern look. Also, the non-denim part is getting more and more important, but denim still is our main focus.   

Credit: Mark Seelen