MEET THE STORE #8: Tenue de Nîmes

Today the 8th episode of the topic Meet the Store. This topic Meet the Store shows you the best (denim) stores. The stores you need to know to find the right pair of jeans, the most durable boots, an outstanding jacket or your new favorite denim item.

This eighth edition of Meet the Store is with Tenue de Nîmes from Amsterdam. It’s a special edition as they celebrate their 10th anniversary this year with special collaborations and events. Thanks for sharing your story Menno!

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Menno van Meurs

menno van meurs

Pic by Rene Kramers.

  • Name: Menno van Meurs.
  • Living in village & country: Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
  • Age: 36 years.
  • Instagram ID of the store: @tenuedenimes.
  • Number of Instagram followers of the store: 28.3K followers.
  • Website: www.tenuedenimes.com.
  • Daily work: Chief Executive Officer Tenue de Nîmes, Owner Red Wing Shoes Amsterdam.

Can you introduce yourself (who are you and what are you doing):

My name is Menno van Meurs and I am co-founder and CEO of Tenue de Nîmes. At this point in time we run two physical stores and one online shop. Part from heading up the company on a daily basis, my main focus at the moment is the development of our denim brand Tenue de Nîmes. As of this year we became our own biggest supplier, so I do a lot of travelling with my merchandising team to further develop the line.  

In addition tot his exciting new episode; we recently made the first steps into wholesale with our namesake brand. This is an important new topic on my agenda that will keep me off the streets the next couple of months.

Last I celebrate my 10th anniversary this year. Because I wanted to end this fantastic decade with a blast, I decided to do 10 collaborations, with 10 of my all-time favourite brands. On September 6th of this year, we kick-off with an exclusive collaboration with Vans. Following this, we will drop one collaboration every month. I will launch special editions with brands such as Red Wing Heritage, Momotaro (Japan Blue), AGoldE and Converse. In May 2019 we end the series with a special collaboration with Levi’s Vintage Clothing.

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Tenue de Nîmes celebrates their 10th anniversary this year.

What kind of store is Tenue de Nîmes:

Ha! Well that’s a hard one to answer. The easy one would be to say we are a contemporary denim store. Now I hear you thinking: Why contemporary? Because we want to show denim in the 21st Century, instead of only focusing on the historical aspect of our beloved blues. Tenue de Nîmes started as a hardcore blue store and evolved into a destination for everything that connects jeans with the world of Americana, Japanese streetwear, old-school cowboy jeans, indigo artefacts and back to Italian craftsmanship. This is why we combine Momotaro jeans, with a wild jacket from Jun Takahashi’s Undercover and a pair of JW Anderson Chuck 70 All Stars. They are all different, yet they are the compilation of the new world of denim out there! I am thrilled that our stores evolve like denim does. New and exciting times are ahead of us!

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Tenue de Nîmes, Haarlemmerstraat Store.

Can you tell a little bit about the history of Tenue de Nîmes:

The most important chapter for us now is the evolution of our brand Tenue. This has everything to do with the current state of the denim and fashion industry. We used to have a pretty straight forward, geographically organized business in which everybody could have a piece of the pie in their home-region. The only real competition you would have was from your direct neighbours. It is needless to say that internet and our suppliers that went into (online) retail themselves, changed the rules of our game dramatically.

The key to success, in my honest opinion, is to seek relevance in a mix between unique products in combination with an old-school specialization. A focus. A niche. People need to know what you stand for these days. They can get anything, anywhere. So you better be very clear in why they need to come to you.

Born out of the many collaborations with Tenue de Nîmes we did over the past years, we built a modern-day brand which is inspired by the past. But in the meantime the Tenue de Nîmes brand is supposed to be relevant right here and right now. Call it contrast. It brings spice in our lives, shows what is good and what is not, fuels emotion, passion and knowledge and makes us fall in love. It’s that paradox between future and history, aged yet young at heart, open yet dense, minimal yet complex. A beautiful journey that leads us through the best factories and suppliers from Italy, the United States and Japan.

So at present we are proudly combining our Tenue de Nîmes brand with the best jeans and fashion labels out there. It is nothing but a privilege.

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Tenue de Nîmes, Elandsgracht Store.

What are the core/most popular products at Tenue de Nîmes:

Although fashion is pretty much addicted to change, we tend to sell a lot of core product from our suppliers. Many consumers, especially on the men, just like to come in every couple of months and do a re-stock of their wardrobe staples. A few examples are the Low Straight jeans from RRL, navy Vans Authentic OG sneakers and the Lhamo Shirt by Visvim. I am delighted to add here that Tenue de Nîmes also added a few customer favourites to the list: our heavy-weight cotton pocket t-shirt ‘John’ is a nothing but a hit this summer and two of our jeans that we sell every single day of the week are our Tenue de Nîmes ‘Pablo’ and ‘Tapio’ fit.

What are the most popular brands at Tenue de Nîmes:

Again we sell a wild mix of denim and ready-to-wear. Some of our best-selling brands are Tenue de Nîmes, Japan Blue, A.P.C., Converse, RRL and Levi’s Vintage Clothing. But we are also relevant to a more fashion oriented crowd because of brands like: Visvim, Human Made, Undercover and Acne Studios.

What’s the most popular denim brand and fit at Tenue de Nîmes:

I am proud to say Tenue de Nîmes is our biggest denim brand at the store, both in numbers and in terms of revenue.The ‘Pablo’ fit (a modern take on a classic slim-straight) beats all the others at the moment. But that doesn’t mean there is no other brand hitting home-run. If I would tell you how many A.P.C. Petit Standards we sold in the past years you would not believe it.

But, although there is no better thing than having a single success in the collection, I still believe it is the success of the curation that eventually pays for all the bills. Especially in the times we live in you right now, I rather not depend on the success of a single product or brand. What happens if that ship sails?

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Tenue de Nîmes Pablo jeans worn by Menno for 2 years.

Are there new brands added to the Tenue de Nîmes collection:

I consider myself a spoiled kid where it comes to our brand portfolio. I hardly have anything to wish for besides those amazing brands we are representing. Who needs another jacket after they came across Patagonia, right?

Of course brands come and go, but the majority of our brands have been around for years. A new brand that I look forward to sell very much is Blluemade from New York. Lilly Lampe and Alex Robins are the lovely couple behind the brand. They are so skilled, passionate and genuine, that I really felt connected with them after talking for five minutes. Curating labels like Blluemade is so much fun. I am sure they will kick ass in our stores.

What’s the most iconic item available at Tenue de Nîmes:

I still believe the most iconic product we ever sold at Tenue de Nîmes is the Momotaro jean made from hand-woven, natural indigo fabric. The jeans have sterling silver buttons and rivets and a hand-embroidered patch. To me that is the Roll-Royce of all jeans. Period. Comes with a tag though 🙂

This video shows the Momotaro hand made denim fabric woven on the old wooden loom in Okayama, Japan.

Where is your inspiration coming from as owner/buyer of Tenue de Nîmes:

Travelling. I get a huge kick from locations I have never been to. On my recent holiday I made a trip through the woods of Ubud, Bali to meet with artist and indigo expert Seba Mesdag to whom I was introduced by my friend Detlev Weers. Seba and his family live in a wonderful wooden house in the middle of the forest surrounded by trees and animals. He was kind enough to take me through some of the photo books he made on his trips through Asia in search for craft. I saw mind-blowing artefacts from India, Indonesia and some of the fabrics he made with tribes from places I never heard of before. Leaving a place like that behind after a day of inspiration makes me silent. It starts to wonder what I should do next and ideas start floating instantly. Inspiration is everywhere you look and mostly in places that are completely out of your comfort zone.

What’s your personal favorite denim brand and fit:

Without any doubt our Tenue de Nîmes Tapio Jeans are now my favo. Tapio is our regular jeans with a tapered leg from the knee down. The fabric is sourced from the legendary Cone White Oak Mill in the US that closed its doors last year. So all the products that are made with this particular fabric are instant collectables. The Tapio jeans are finished with a red line selvedge fly and a custom made ‘Col Nem’ coin button, as a tribute to the Roman times in Nîmes, France. Please check out the worn out ones attached here – it shows you what a spectacular fabric this is in a single glimpse.

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Tenue de Nîmes Jeans Number 3: Tapio – Light Wash.

Can you show the most crazy faded jeans from the Tenue de Nîmes hall of fades:

Our buddy Alex is pretty much becoming a denim wear-out legend. The way he beats up jeans feels just like bloody cheating. Alex wears our jeans as a professional window cleaner so they get dirty, wet and undergo some pretty serious beating too. The jeans I show you is our Pablo Dead-Stock Blue, a 15oz Made in Japan from Tenue de Nîmes. We made one pair for him with a tobacco stitch and it became such an astonishing jean we decided to do a re-run in Japan with this particular stitching instead. We named it Pablo ‘Ever Dye’ (his last name is Everdij, ed.) and it will hit the stores in September this year.

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Pablo Dead-Stock Blue, a 15oz Made in Japan from Tenue de Nîmes.

What can we expect in the future of Tenue de Nîmes:

I would be gratified if my team and I could help to help write the future of (Dutch) Denim like for instance Dutch denim giant G-Star did before us and continue this legacy with Tenue de Nîmes. The question that remains is: How do we do that? What do we add? And this might sound like a controversy, but it is my honest belief that we all need a lot less stuff to begin with. We should invest in those few killer pieces that we want to wear every single day of the year instead.

Our (denim) fashion world is in desperate need of a paradigm change. Believe it or not but we live in a world in which 73% of the globally produced clothing ends up being land-fill, without being worn once. This makes me sick. Let Tenue de Nîmes and the other new kids on the block re-shape the world of denim. Learn from the past, take quality, study fabric and put denim back where it belongs: high quality, durable workwear. But before you get me wrong: I mean contemporary workwear. Why don’t we refer to it as ‘Silicon Valley workwear’. Something that suits the modern-day cowboys. The past is the past. Let’s make a difference, now.

 Read also the previous editions of Meet the Store;

Oeben’s Mercantile in Utrecht (NL): here.

Concrete Matter in Amsterdam (NL): here.

Red Wing Shoes in Amsterdam (NL): here.

Cultizm (online store): here.

Black & Blue in Nijmegen (NL): here.

Denoism in Rotterdam (NL): here.

Arborator in Maastricht (NL): here.

Written by Wouter
I'm the founder of Long John. Next to running this daily magazine I'm working as a freelance marketing specialist for brands and retail. Specialized in denim.