apparently the Monday that starts the last full week of January is called blue Monday. It is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year. Even though it is still early January, last Wednesday felt pretty blue to me. Partly because of the weather – not a single ray of sunshine and drizzling rain – but mostly because I finally went to see the latest exhibition in the Centraal Museum in Utrecht called Blue Jeans. Not that it made me feel blue, far from it. From pieces of denim trousers dating from the end of the nineteenth century found in American mines to an Yves Saint Laurent denim trouser suit and contemporary glue jeans, you’ll find them all at this exhibition.
The exhibition is made up around a few themes, such as the history of jeans, sustainability, street wear and craft. The last is being illustrated live by Koen Tossijn from Atelier Tossijn who makes jeans that are made to measure. He has a traveling workshop and during the running of the exhibition you can find his atelier at the museum, as part of the exhibition. While I was there, he was working on the waistband of a beautiful pair of hand made blue jeans.
Nowadays, you really can’t talk about fashion without taking into account the subject of sustainability. Blue Jeans is no exception and with a special room dedicated to the subject, the museum really made an effort to bring new technologies to the attention of the public. What I liked best though, was that the overall exhibition invigorated my love for my own blue jeans. It stresses how denim gets better with age. How you really have to wear it, take care of it and stay away from too much washing and detergent (how we wash our clothes is a big part of their ecological footprint). If you invest in a pair of denim, not with money but by wearing it constantly, it will reward you by becoming the softest pair of pants that carries your personal history with it. And is there anything more sustainable than simple wearing the clothes you have, instead of always buying new ones? I don’t think so.