In this series we invite you into the homes of some exceptional people we want you to meet and get to know better.
They are talented and passionate, they have an impeccable taste and most important: they inspire us. We kick off with none other than Debbie Denham. We can truly say that she’s the silent force behind the success of DENHAM The Jeanmaker.
Photograpy by Philippe Vogelenzang, text by Paul Jeursen
Giving an interview and doing a photo shoot is not something I’m used to. Normally, Jason does all of that! - Debbie Denham says laughing, humble as she is.
For almost a decade and a half she has been the silent and driving force behind the success of DENHAM the Jeanmaker.
Debbie deliberately chose to work and stay in the background, so that her husband Jason could chase his dream and build their brand. It showcases leadership, strength and it also takes courage to let your loved one and business partner take all the shine.
To complement each other, roles have to be clear. Debbie chose to be “the best support act” Jason could ever have. Looking back, it clearly was a great choice.
But standing in the background doesn’t make her input any less important and successful.
On the contrary…
Debbie is wearing our Olivia Poplin Shirt.
DEBBIE ON HER STYLE
The answer as to how Debbie would describe her style isn’t a big surprise.
‘I’m a jeans girl!’, but she quickly adds that her love for jeans was already present before she met Jason. ‘I also love the classics. That being said: I’m not chasing “fashion-fashion”.
A nice blazer and a shirt is who I am. And I dress in DENHAM head to toe of course, haha!’ The skinny jean is a much-loved item in Debbie’s wardrobe. But that doesn’t mean she only wears skinny jeans. ‘Sometimes I pick a more loose fit, but when I do, I combine it with a more tailored look on top. Otherwise I feel slouchy.’
In her opinion a pair of jeans is the most underrated fashion item. ‘They’re so iconic, wearable and last a long time, but they don’t get the appraisal other fashion items get, which I find weird. They have made such an impact on today’s fashion.’ To create a perfect outfit the right shoes, handbag and jewellery are essential for Debbie.
Her most favourite fashion item of all? ‘Shoes. No doubt about it!’ Someone that Debbie admires is Kate Moss. ‘She wears what she wants, also loves skinny jeans and wears them with flats. Style wise she always looks like a casual jeans girl, in the most positive and best possible way.’
DEBBIE ON WORK
More than fifteen years ago Debbie and Jason took the plunge. They had each other, a great idea for a signature denim brand that would go on to become DENHAM The Jeanmaker, a laptop, a flip chart and two dogs.
Could Debbie ever have dreamt this rollercoaster ride would be where it is now?
‘No, absolutely not. And all the credits go to Jason. He is a real entrepreneur who takes risks and has always kept the faith.’
For Debbie, her role was simple: ‘Not stopping him in his quests and dreams.’ She deliberately chose to be the best right hand that Jason could have, so that he could create DENHAM in the best possible way.
‘For me, this wasn’t a tough decision because Jason is the creative one, the front guy, the speaker. I’m not capable to do that and I’m not that person. If I wanted to do that or be that person, our partnership would not have worked.’
This admirable trait is what defines Debbie. The key to why they’re such a great team lies in love.
‘Friends always tell us that we’ve never stopped telling each other how much we love each other. It’s true. We never took each other for granted or got complacent. We are always supportive. If Jason would have wanted to do crazy things and I would have put my foot down trying to stop him, we would never be where we are now.’
Jason inspires me. I feel very lucky to spend so much time with him - Debbie Denham
Debbie on her home and family
Coming from Yorkshire, Debbie feels very much at home in The Netherlands and Amsterdam.
‘I am very down to earth. People from Yorkshire tend to be that way, very similar to the Dutch.’ Furthermore, Debbie would describe herself as open and friendly. ‘But when in work mode, I can be very strict to achieve my goals and that does involve, of course, hard work.’
That is why she loves the motto ‘Work Hard and Be Nice to People’, by graphic artist Anthony Burrill so much. ‘It is also one of DENHAM’s inspirations as well. On a personal note I like the quote “Catch A Dream and Nurture It”, by Amsterdam artist Laser 3.14.’
The last years were all about work, work and work and Debbie has come to realise there is more than chasing goals. ‘Sometimes you have to cherish and nurture all that is good.’
Something that’s far more than good is the house her and Jason, daughter Jasmine and puppy Coffee are now living in.
Debbie was very much involved in creating the look and feel. ‘I love building and creating something, such as our house. It is something I get inspired by.
For me this house is a warm nest full of love where I enjoy spending lots of time. It is so peaceful and serene because it is located in the back of a building. But walk out of the front door and you’re in the cosy bustle of Amsterdam.
The style of the house is truly a mix of modern and vintage. ‘We have modern art pieces and in the house you’ll find modern materials, but also vintage Goyard and Louis Vuitton trunks for example.’ Reading, taking walks with Coffee and cooking for guests, who can gather around the open kitchen, are some of Debbie’s favourite pastimes.
Having a moment for herself with a cup of coffee is something Debbie treasures. ‘I love to do that while I’m inside and look out on the garden. With the trees not in bloom yet, you now have a great view on Amsterdam’s iconic Westertoren.’
'In the end I realise that it is memories that you collect. And not just objects'
In the end Debbie has realised that it is memories that you collect. And not just objects.
‘But sometimes the objects and memories are intertwined. That is why I love all the photos of Jasmine in the house and I treasure the photo wall in her bedroom. Before bedtime we often look at it and it brings back so many great memories of family, pets and houses. There must be over a 100 pictures on it. It’s truly a path of memories.’
Speaking about her daughter makes Debbie’s eyes sparkle. ‘Jasmine is so well organized and very good with weights and measures. She can be very bossy, which people say is likeme, haha. But actually, she got that from her grandmother.’ Debbie also recognizes Jason in Jasmine. ‘She certainly has his creative streak and flair. And she loves to laugh and is such a positive and happy child, she has that from Jason as well.’
As her loved one and business partner for so long, Jason, of course, has a massive influence on Debbie. ‘He inspires me every day. I admire his craftsmanship, positive energy and motivation. I feel very lucky to spend so much time with him.’