What is it about designer Myriam Mense’s Maison Indigo stuffed animals that makes them so easy to love? They’re earth-conscious and charitable, pieced together with bits of recycled jeans at community shelter workshops in the Netherlands. But you can’t know that by looking at them. What you can see are their oddities and imperfections, something most of us have a soft spot for (who doesn’t love an underdog, or in this case, an under-Dachshund?). “I prefer the unusual,” says Mense, who is based just outside of Amsterdam in Hilversum, and who started Maison Indigo feeling strongly that denim, which requires a ton of water to produce, should be reused (all of hers is sourced locally, too, btw). “I love playing with proportions and the tipping point point between between cute and awkward.”
We first discovered these funny-faced stuffies at the 3×1 store in New York, so it was a treat to meet Mense and her menagerie on her home turf at Blueprint, the two-day denim fair that ended Amsterdam’s week-long Denim Days festival. Carrying armfuls of bunnies and anteaters outside to a grassy patch along the canals for a picture, we founds ourselves smitten and wondering about the jeans they’d been before. “I have a preference for old Levi’s, for sentimental reasons,” says Mense, reminiscing about the 80s ads she grew up watching. “They age beautifully, and their denim is indestructible. Mix it together with other jeans and each ‘denimal’ gets the ultimate shades of blue.”
Maison Indigo recycled denim animals, available at 3×1.us and maisonindigo.com.
To read more about denim in Amsterdam, see our Diary. Plus the Stories: Remco de Nijs, The Star of G-Star Raw, The Jean School, Too Cool, and Jason Denham, Jeanmaker.