Jason Denham founded Denham the Jeanmaker in 2008. The brand represents the culmination of more than two decades exploration in denim. Born in Newcastle, Jason studied Fashion Design & Business at the University of Manchester and lives in Amsterdam.
DISORDER: What is your elevator pitch?
JASON DENHAM: "Hello, my name is Jason Denham and I am a jean maker. Nice to meet you.” I’m juggling a bunch of projects, including opening our Japanese flagship store in Tokyo’s Ginza district and our first store in China, located in Shanghai. I’m also putting our Spring ‘18 collection together, which will be a celebration for our ten-year anniversary.
What people, places or things inspire you?
People = my team (globally), in nine years our company has grown from 2 people to more than 200. We have three offices in Amsterdam (HQ), Tokyo and Dusseldorf. We have 17 nationalities and I love the cultural mix and energy. Places = I get inspired everywhere, as diverse as the cinema, the local markets or global travel. Japan has always been a special place for me. The Japanese empower my brand message – "The truth is in the details".
What artists turn you on?
I adore art in a multi-medium context. I collect a lot of photography and I love pop art and the whole Andy Warhol era. But I’m a huge fan of graphic and street art. I love walking around the streets of East London in awe of all the amazing street art.
What is your ultimate ambition?
That's a good question – there’s still a very long way to go and a lot to do but every day the plan gets clearer. Who? = the best of myself. This year I brought in a CEO to run my company. This allows me to focus on what I love, which is building my brand and the creative side of my business. That was a very grown-up decision.
What is the secret of your success?
I was never scared of hard work or sacrifice. When you start up a company you need to be prepared for both of these things. I also truly believed that I had a brand concept in my head that people wanted to have. I just needed to get it out there.
What has been the best lesson?
Be patient. The world is going faster than ever but we still need to be patient. We will get where we want to be.
Who was your first crush?
The one and only Kate Bush – she was the female David Bowie who changed the game in music videos. She had an incredible voice and created her own out-there, theatrical sex symbol style. I first discovered her when I was ten years old. It was the first time I saw the Babooshka (1980) video. Seriously, watch this crazy, sexy, powerful performance. This boy was mesmerised.
Who are your favourite fictional heroes?
Not really my thing. Superheroes never really turned me on.
What do you like to eat?
Jaimie van Heije is an amazing Dutch chef – a real artist. My food taste is eclectic. I’m equally happy eating at Mon Cher Ton Ton in Tokyo or eating fish & chips with my mates. Depends on my mood.
Where/when do you feel most yourself?
In my office at the weekend with no distractions. Or early doors. I love the mornings when I don’t get interrupted. Actually I’m writing this interview at 4:30am in my home office.
When are you at your worst?
When I know I’ve got outstanding things to do that matter to me and I haven’t done them yet. I hate to miss deadlines and I’m a stickler for timekeeping.
What petty irritation irks you the most?
I have a dog (Norton), my ten-year-old Labrador. I pick up his s**t every day. It irritates the s**t out of me when other people don’t do the same. I also hate negative attitude. The world is full of glass half empties. Don’t have time for that.
What talent do you wish you had?
Languages. I’m surrounded by so many talented people that switch from Dutch to English to German to Italian to French or even Japanese. That's for my next life or my bucket list.
What is your dominant characteristic?
Drive. I don’t take no for an answer, there is always a way.
What do you appreciate most in your friends?
Trust, loyalty and having fun. In that order. I value people: it goes both ways.
What innovation do you love most?
Hand-held devices, iPhone 7. When I was at university we didn’t have the Internet, or mobiles or social media, how did we survive?
Unpaid endorsement: what can you recommend?
Put SONOS (speakers) in every room of your life, preferably two or three for full effect. I’m hooked.
What is your idea of happiness?
The biggest cliché of all and you appreciate it more and more as you get older… my family.
What is your present state of mind?
Thirsty. I need a caffeine fix. It’s now 5:30am. Coffee please.
What would you do if you were not doing this?
My dream job used to be a postman. I’m an early bird so this would suit me perfectly, but to be honest I doubt that would feed my creative urges. I better stick to what I’m good at.