Looking at Kingpins’ Past, Present & Future
Letter from Managing Director Vivian Wang
As we enter the final stretch of 2023 and look forward to the New Year, I am mindful of what a significant year it has been for the Kingpins Show. To be sure, 2023 was challenging, but when I look back at the events of the year, it puts me in an optimistic frame of mind about the future of our show and our industry.
In 2023, we were back to in-person shows for the second year in a row after the pandemic. We held two shows in Amsterdam, two in New York. This year, we also went to Colombia and we returned to Hong Kong.
Vivian designed the invitation and logo for the first Kingpins Show in 2004. The denim patch on the invitation was the “pass” guests used to enter the show. (From the Kingpins Show Archive)
We saw our Most Sustainable Production initiative grow and gain traction in the industry. With the help of Miguel Sanchez, Piero Turk, Serena Conti and Alice Tonello, we were able to develop the MSP collection, as well as an interactive installation about the initiative and the collection at the Amsterdam show in October. MSP is a special project for all of us at Kingpins, because it demonstrates how collaboration across our entire business can result in beautiful and sustainable products that educate, inform and inspire us all.
This year, we launched The Boxes and Key Pieces from Inspiring Wardrobes Around the World, two projects that illustrate how creative collaboration and sharing our own experiences can be educational and also fun.
Holding a pop-up event right after our Amsterdam show was no small feat, but we had a fantastic and successful time. We did something similar at the beginning of the year when we hosted a networking event in Medellín, Colombia. We believe these smaller events held between our main shows are a powerful tool to bring our community even closer by providing an intimate setting where we can all talk and learn. With that in mind, we are working on adding another city to our pop-up event lineup in 2024. Stay tuned for more details. What I can share now is Kingpins’ return to China in 2024, when we plan to hold a three-day event in Hangzhou in May. Our Hangzhou event is inspired by the China city tour we had held back in 2019, but with its own special character.
Obviously, the big news of the year was Messe Frankfurt becoming a shareholder in Kingpins.
It is, indeed, a very big deal for our company, which will be celebrating our 20-year anniversary in 2024. We welcome Messe Frankfurt and their team to join our denim family and look forward to their help growing our show to be even stronger.
I know there are a lot of questions about what this means for Kingpins’ future. I can tell you that I plan to continue to lead the show with my team just like I have been doing for the past 19 years. Every season and every year, we try to improve Kingpins by adding new initiatives, new educational programs and workshops, and new services for exhibitors and attendees. We have plans to do that next year with more collaborations and more inspirational activities. We will also celebrate the 20th anniversary of our first show in July and then celebrate the 10th anniversary of our first show in Amsterdam in October.
What will remain the same: The team, our core values and how we run the show. We will continue to connect with our community, to educate and to build a strong foundation for everyone, from those with a long history in the denim business, as well as the creative, young newcomers. We are all one community. Our little show has succeeded for so many years because we stayed true to our belief that our community is our strength — and I intend to keep it that way.
I use the word “community” often when I’m speaking about our industry colleagues. But a more appropriate word is “family.”
It is with a very heavy heart that I want to talk to you about the passing of one of our family members, Miguel Sánchez, this month. Miguel was Kingpins’ Technology Leader and the person who spearheaded and championed the MSP initiative. A textile engineer who studied at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, he was also a member of the Board of Directors of the Transformers Foundation.
To me and to many of us, Miguel was not just an expert and an educator, he was a good friend who selflessly shared his knowledge, support and warm heart.
All of us at Kingpins will miss Miguel’s kindness and his counsel. His friendship was very precious to me and it reminds me of the importance of cherishing our friends and our community and our history. We have accomplished so much over the last 19 years and, in so many ways, we have our friends and community to thank for that.
I am thankful for all my Kingpins family across the world and I look forward to seeing you and celebrating our anniversary in 2024.
– Vivian Wang, Kingpins Managing Director & Global Sales Manager