Meet the Repair Artist: Clinton James Topley

Clinton James Topley is a bona fide denim enthusiast. His career with DENHAM dates back to 2011, when he began working as a sales assistant in London. He since relocated to Amsterdam, where he heads up the men’s denim bar and Service Co. Here, he shares insight into his role as a denim repair artist.

Name: Clinton James Topley

Age: 38

Location: Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Number of years working at DENHAM?

Since 2011.

In your words, what’s the concept of the Service Co?

It’s customer service on steroids. It’s very practical — not a gimmick or a sales tool. It’s something the customer can respect and appreciate as soon as they walk in the store. You get the feeling that we’re hands-on; it’s the visual signature of the brand, without speaking about it.

How did you become involved with the Service Co.?

I am a hands-on guy, and like working directly with the product and machinery. The Service Co. is what set DENHAM apart for me.

What do you like about your job?

It’s never the same day twice!

What type of equipment do you use?

Not many companies give their staff the types of the sewing machines that I get to use here. We have a Singer darning machine 153B1, a Union Special (mainly for raw and colour block denim) and a Durkopp sewing machine (great for stitching patches and hems).

What’s the most challenging repair you’ve ever done?

The first repair I ever did, which was a women’s jacket that she always wore with a bag carried over her shoulder. The fabric was totally worn out, so I took it home and worked on it for three days — all repaired by hand.

Do you have a repair specialty?

I think I’ve spent the most hours on the Singer 153B1 sewing machine. I try to bring “The truth is in the details” to the repair shop.

What’s your best Service Co. memory?

My first tour of Asia on a Service Co. road show. We went for a week and did pop-up Service Cos at different Lane Crawford stores in Hong Kong.

What’s the most unique service request you’ve ever received?

A customer had had an accident, and the medics needed to cut his jeans off. They were only two weeks old and hardly worn, so I resealed the denim from the top to the bottom.

What’s your favourite pair of jeans?

Too many!

Have you ever had a jean that was so worn-in you couldn’t repair it?

A few times. I try to never turn people away, but sometimes when a jean is dead, it’s dead. I’ve never turned a rigid jean away, but sometimes with stretch you aren’t able to repair it anymore.

Photos courtesy Iris Duvekot.

Jason Denham’s Favourite Things in Amsterdam

Though originally from England, Jason Denham (Founder of DENHAM the Jeanmaker), has lived in Amsterdam for over 20 years. From shopping to beer drinking, here are his tips for how to best enjoy Amsterdam.

9 Streets

My favourite district in Amsterdam is the “9 Streets.” I put the DENHAM HQ there and I live very close by. In the last 10 years I have watched the 9 Streets evolve. This area is full of hotels, bars, cafes, galleries, flower stores and smaller boutique speciality stores.

Canals at Sunrise

In the days before we had our daughter, I had a terrible habit of waking up and going to the studio at 5:00 a.m. Now I have a little more “life balance.” Though I have to admit that I love the city at this time. The canals are beautiful and very still — you feel like you own the city at this time of day.

Libertine

This place has a buzzing brassiere vibe. It’s a cool hotspot to hang out and have some bites and a drink.

Mendo

I love to collect and get inspired by books. MENDO, in Amsterdam’s 9 Streets, is one of my favourites. I feel like we’ve grown up with MENDO, because they opened two years before DENHAM, just around the corner. They have a beautiful store design and an incredible passion for retail.

Foodware

Sander is the best-dressed chef in Amsterdam and he makes the healthiest, tastiest lunchtime bites.

Brown Cafes

I love to have a beer on any terrace in the summer, and the dusty old brown bars in the winter. One of my favourites is Cafe Tabac on the Brouwersgracht.

Eye Film Museum

This film museum is incredible; Amsterdam also has lots of cinemas, from small art house films to blockbuster locations.

Coffee

I love coffee so much so that I decided to make one of our stores a coffee bar. We open at 8:00 a.m. everyday. My favourite coffee is Buscaglione Italian coffee, so we partnered with them to supply our beans. All of the staff is barista trained. Retail today is an experience, that’s why good coffee is so important.

Noodermarkt

This sums up Amsterdam life. You have beautiful organic markets with fresh, incredible ingredients. My wife and I like to go shopping there on weekends.

Photos courtesy Iris Duvekot.

How to Wash Virgin Denim

Once you’ve invested in a pair of virgin denim jeans, it’s important to take care of your purchase with proper washing. But there’s a secret art to washing virgin denim … in the name of the holy denim gods, please do not put these jeans into a regular washing machine! Here’s our 10-step guide on how to hand-wash your virgin denim.

Before you begin the wash, double check your bathtub and make sure there are no chemicals or residues in it! The last thing we want is your jeans getting accidentally bleached.

Remember: virgin denim should be worn as much as possible before you wash them.  Before your first wash, we recommend you wait six months (yes, six months!). This will help to create a more unique, imprinted wear pattern.

  1. Check your pockets, close the buttons and turn the jeans inside out (this is important for preserving the colour of the denim).
  2. Fill the bathtub with cold water (or lukewarm at most). Add some gentle soap or a denim wash and let it dissolve.
  3. Submerge the jeans, lying flat in the water, for 30 to 45 minutes. You may need to add some weights to hold them down. Don’t freak out if the water turns blue! It’s normal that virgin denim will bleed a little, especially on the first wash.
  4. Once soaked, dip the jeans in and out of the water a few times.
  5. In the meantime, you can lightly brush the fabric (still on the inside) with a gentle brush and a little bit of soap. But don’t use anything too abrasive, and always brush in the direction of the fabric.
  6. Place the jeans back in the tub and rinse until clean. Refresh the water as many times as needed.
  7. Once clean, remove the jeans and turn them right-side-out.
  8. Pull into shape and let them air dry vertically (wise to do this outside, as they’ll drip water for a bit).
  9. Let them air dry for at least 48 hours. Voila!

If that sounds like too much work, you can also visit our stores with a DENHAM Service Co. and we’ll hand-wash your jeans for you.

If you need to freshen your denim along the way, either hang them inside out in a steamy bathroom, or use our DENHAM Denim Refresh spray.

Photo courtesy Iris Duvekot.

Meet Team DENHAM: Kim Woestenburg

Meet Kim Woestenburg, a sales assistant at our Amsterdam men’s denim bar (Runstraat 18). 

Name: Kim Woestenburg

From: The Hague, but now living in Amsterdam

Worked at DENHAM since: November 2015

Favourite thing about working at DENHAM? That I’ve found my favourite pair of jeans (multiple actually…)

Favourite jean? Can’t choose between the Monroe BRA and Farrah Flare YBRI. 

Virgin denim or stretch? Stretch.

Trench coat or leather bomber jacket? Trench coat.

Favourite sneaker? A classic Nike Air Force 1 white 

Best thing about Amsterdam? Daydrinking at the Noordermarkt on a sunny Saturday.

And a fun one: beach or mountains? As a person who grew up in The Hague I’d have to say the beach.

What Kim’s wearing:

Spray Super Tight Fit Jeans – ABBF

Amelia Camel Cardigan (previous season)

“I love this versatile sweater because it keeps me feeling warm and cosy, plus the combination of black and blue is so pretty. It’s perfect whether I’m hanging out at home, or going out for casual drinks. Every time I wear it, I get a lot of compliments.”

Shop a similar style here.

 

Photos: Catharina Veder.

From Team DENHAM: Our Favourite Sneakers

A great pair of jeans only gets better when they’re worn with a great pair of sneakers … and here at the DENHAM office, that’s pretty much all we wear. Five members of our team tell us their favourite sneakers of all time, and why they love them so much.

 

“Low Top Converse All Stars in the classic dark blue. The older the better. They show a little ankle for femininity and my feet look smaller in them!”

Catharina Veder, Graphic Designer

“Nike Air Max 97 in silver. I can wear them with skinny fit jeans and girlfriend fit.”

Jessica Kleyn, Ecommerce Fulfillment Manage

“Almost seven days in a week I wear Red Wing boots, but otherwise I’m a classic Chuck guy. I love the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star 70 Hi; it’s comfortable, easy, and looks good combined with every style jeans. Plus they age very nicely.”

Fabian Hemesath, Account Manager

“Sneakers!? A WWII Corcoran parachute boot, if you don’t mind! Though I might accept a Chuck Taylor Converse if pushed.”

Leo Brancovich, Design Director

“For me the perfect sneaker is the Tanino Buttero sneaker. It is just a beautiful well-made sneaker, and it keeps its class even when they are worn-in.”

Jop Visser, Outbound Logistic Coordinator

 

Meet Team DENHAM: Julien Ong Alok

Meet Julien Ong Alok, a sales assistant in our Amsterdam men’s store (Prinsengracht 495). Outside of work, Julian has a guilty pleasure: posting his latest outfits (and a glimpse inside his sneaker obsession) on his Instagram channel. 

Name: Julien Ong Alok

From: Amsterdam

Worked at DENHAM since:  September 2014

Favourite thing about working at DENHAM? It’s a growing company and I like to grow with the company.

Favourite jean? I’ve got a few: Tokyo, Razor and Patrol. The last one is an older fit which we don’t have anymore.

Virgin denim or stretch? Virgin denim!

Trench coat or leather bomber jacket? Leather bomber jacket for sure.

Favourite sneaker? Actually I’ve got a few, but my all time favourite sneaker is the Air Jordan 1.

Favourite thing about Amsterdam? It’s a big city but at the same time it feels like a small town.

And a fun one: swimming or skiing? Swimming

What Julien’s wearing:

Razor 4YJ (Made in Japan)

“I’m wearing an old Razor jean that was made in Japan. I love that it’s a limited-edition style, so it’s numbered inside. Each jean is totally one-of-a-kind, which makes me feel special when I wear them.”

This is a style from a previous collection, but you can shop a similar style here.
Click here to read more about our “Made in Japan” jeans.

Gusset Sweat

The Gusset Sweat is older style; we’ve since revamped the silhouette and renamed it the Crew Sweat. We’ve improved the design with increased ribbing on the side and arm panels, which allows for enhanced comfort and movement.

 

Photo: Catharina Veder.

Introducing: The Recut Parka

One of the most special pieces in the Fall-Winter 2017 collection is the “Re-Cut Parka,” a one-of-a-kind, limited edition parka.

The jackets have been crafted from vintage Dutch military tents from the Second World War. DENHAM repurposed the tents — from the original ripstop fabric to the seams and toggles — to create the parkas, working around the tents’ seams, windows, doors and flaps. Each has a completely unique colour pending the original tent’s exposure to sunlight and other wear-and-tear.

The original ripstop fabric used to make the tents was produced with a special technique that reinforced nylon with interwoven thick threads. The unique crosshatch pattern increased strength and durability, making the fabric resistant to tearing and ripping — a coveted quality for military tents that would endure exposure to harsh elements.

We upcycled the vintage military tents and gave them a new purpose, for which they weren’t initially intended. Instead of making the parkas from new fabric or material, we’ve created something more sustainable and eco-friendly.

The parka features a removable, down-filled liner for additional warmth on chilly days. Thus, it’s a three-in-one garment: wear with or without the liner, or wear the liner on its own. It also has a detachable hood, which is made from a vintage parachute camouflage fabric.

“It’s not oversized, but it’s spacious enough that you can layer up in winter,” says Evans. “ This parka is the perfect cold weather jacket.”

The jacket’s silhouette was inspired by the M-1951 fishtail military parka; the US Army originally designed it with an olive-coloured shell made from wind-resistant cotton sateen. It had slit front pockets, sleeve pockets and a hooded liner; later it was redesigned in a way that was cheaper to manufacture in mass-produced quantities.

DENHAM Re-Cut Parkas have been produced in limited quantities; only 250 have been made in total.