Photography: Cindy Baar
Andrew Olah, the founder of the Kingpins trade show, has consulted for the best; after 35 years in the industry, he remains one of the least-known, yet most influential people in the denim industry. Book of Denim spoke with Olah on the future of denim. And since a lot happened. Kingpins grew into the leading European denim tradeshow with Amsterdam as a clear pinnacle. And Amsterdam Denim Days found it’s way to New York with a successful first edition in the summer of 2017.
The most important reason I started Kingpins was that there was no specific show for the jean supply chain, which was incomprehensible to me. Jeans take up 35% or more of all the cotton in the world, yet our industry exhibited products in places where silk, wool, and skiwear textiles were shown. We are an industry in our own right, and we should be proud and stand on our own legs, away from any other apparel segment. Kingpins is a curated event, where serious players in the jean supply chain can exhibit their ideas and products.
When we discussed the opportunity of making a show in Europe, we were clear that we wanted our show to be in a city where the users of denim lived – like New York, where there are many brands, or Los Angeles. Amsterdam fit that niche because the city houses so many brands. On top of that, we were attracted to all the jeans-related activities in the city, like the House of Denim and the Jean School, which combine to make Amsterdam a denim lover’s dream city.
Takes Pride In
My father started Olah Inc. in 1959 – a textiles development and marketing agency. We’re working on side of fashion which is most of the time invisible to consumers Professionally, I am most proud of the textile work. It’s both creative and rewarding, and, oddly, I’ve worked through five decades, which gave me a great ride through the history of denim.