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Letter from Managing Director Vivian Wang: Welcome to the Year of the Blue Dragon

February, 2024

t’s a big one for Kingpins as we celebrate our 20th anniversary, as well as 10 years in Amsterdam. Plus, we head back to China in May. There’s a lot to celebrate and it seems especially fitting that we’re ushering not only the year of the Dragon, but the year of the Blue Dragon.

Did you know that 2024 is gabjinnyeon, meaning it’s the year of the Blue Dragon? This is the 41st year of the 60-year cycle in Chinese astrology and gab, meaning yang or blue, is one of the 10 Heavenly Stems and is marked by the color blue. Jin refers to “dragon,” making this officially the year of the Blue Dragon.

That is a very auspicious beginning for all of us in the denim community and for the team at Kingpins, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

2024 is forecast to bring about opportunities, changes and challenges. As an industry, we are constantly facing challenges and changes. But at the same time, there are opportunities everywhere — if we pay attention.

Kingpins’ anniversary year is off to a good start with a successful kick off at our New York show in January. The cold weather didn’t chill all the warm and friendly responses we received from our exhibitors and visitors.

Our goal is always to be a platform for sharing our passion, knowledge and fun. The New York show, with a focus on collaboration, innovation and education, brought the community closer as we inspired each other, shared information and opened our arms to welcome everyone new and old. Business is important, but the people make all the difference. Our community is our strength.

I count myself fortunate to be able to find new opportunities that allow us to change how we deal with the inevitable challenges that come our way. That is what our industry does and that is what we will be celebrating this year, the year of the Blue Dragon.

The next stop on our global tour will be Amsterdam in April and after that, we return to China in May. It will be our first time back in mainland China since 2019. We chose to pause our China show during the pandemic (challenges! changes!). With our return, we are bringing our community full circle.

We are so excited to return to China, but we are taking the opportunity to change the show formula and I want to share some details about what we have planned.

Rather than a typical two-day show or the three-city China tour we’ve done in the past, Kingpins China will be a three-day show in a central location: Hangzhou.

The bicycle-friendly city, located about an hour drive from Shanghai, is a major commercial center, home to Fortune Global 500 companies such as retail giant Alibaba. It is also a growing fashion hub. WWD listed Hangzhou as a hot spot for fashion design and fashion retail in its 2023 Asian Fashion Cities Directory and the China’s New Fashion Capital Vitality Ranking. The city is also a destination for cultural and environmental tourism with sites such as the West Lake Cultural Landscape, the Low-Carbon Science and Technology Museum and Xixi National Wetland Park, a 2,800-acre urban, agricultural and cultural wetland.

Hangzhou’s mix of commerce, fashion and the environment make it the perfect place to begin our return to China.

The show will run Thursday, May 23 through Saturday, May 25. The first two days of the show will be focused on both B2B and B2C. There will be a dedicated B2C area of the show with specific exhibits — including DIY activities and retail — for all denim lovers. The seminar area will also be in the B2C area, inviting everyone to learn about issues important to our industry, such as sustainability, history and craftsmanship. The last day of the show, Saturday, we anticipate will draw even more consumers and denim lovers.

I will be sharing more information about Kingpins China as we get closer, as well as details about our 20th anniversary celebration plans and the upcoming Amsterdam show, where we will celebrate 10 years in that great denim city!

We pride ourselves on being a global community and we love to share our inspirations as well as our innovations with everyone in the denim supply chain, from the farmer and fabric mills through to the brands, retailers and consumers.

This is a celebration year for us. I wish you all a happy and successful year of the Blue Dragon!

– Vivian Wang

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