Archive for October, 2019

Congratulations Andrea Venier: Recycrom is a true winner.

Rivet 50 is Rivet Magazine’s annual list of the most influential people in denim. This year was the first time the public was invited to share their voice. Rivet received over 6,000 votes. The list was revealed today in print and on the Rivet 50 site. Andrea Venier is one of the 50 trailblazers for 2019.

Andrea’s Venier is one of Super Stories’ clients. His company Officina +39 developed Recycrom, a breakthrough dye technology.

For us, it has been inspiring to collaborate with Andrea from day one. Our team was introduced his hometown of Biella with its rich history in textiles, his family, and the work of artist Michelangelo Pistoletto whose visionary notion of the “Third Paradise” inspired Andrea to rethink how dyestuffs can be made in a sustainable way. It makes us proud to contribute to the success of an entrepreneur who is changing fashion for the good.

And perhaps the most beautiful thing about his innovation: while highly technical, it’s also about simple things coming together into something greater than its parts… It’s exactly what the future needs. Right now.

Read the full story of Recycrom here in the Book of Denim, Volume 2.
And find out here what Super Stories did for Recycrom.


We’ve had the word written large on the wall of our office for over a year now.
The letters used to be at home on the wall of a Belgium cinema. It was the 80s, we assume it was a porn cinema. So far so good.

As an agency, we aim to create the best possible creative work. And we do censor ourselves. That’s the reality of every agency. Our creative is bound by the parameters of purpose. But we can never censor the questions that are the foundations for true creativity. One of the first lessons a creative learns is to kill your darlings. Editing is as important as creating. Yet editing has to happen in the right stage. Never in the stage of conception – of research and brainstorming. That has to be uncensored.

Now, the word means something different. Owning our mistakes. Taking criticism. Being held accountable for the extremes we go to to find stories with substance. This is hard, since it deals with shame. We’ve been taught to excel, to stand out. But truly owning our mistakes is a gift to ourselves as well as to those we work with. Our mistakes are bright banners directing us towards excellence in that muddy affair called content marketing – and the fact that this banner means something else now only hammers the point home that, sure, you don’t know what you don’t know, but you’ll learn from your mistakes.

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“No one ever made a decision because of a number. They need a story.”

– Danny Kahnemann, Nobel Prize Winner Behavioural Economics. 

Can you afford not to tell your story?

View our projects, and tell us yours below.

    Talk the Walk: Andrew Olah, On Denim, Kingpins & Popping the Sustainability Bubble

    ‘Greenwashing is a disease. Transparency is the cure”

    Andrew Olah is the founder of the Kingpins Show – the first tradeshow dedicated to the full denim and jeans supply chain – with editions in New York, Hongkong, Amsterdam and a China tour. His company Olah Inc’ is one of Super Stories’ clients. Over the last years, Super Stories developed amongst others the Transformers website as well as concept, design and development of the new Kingpins website to be launched early 2020.
    With 40-plus years in the textile business, Olah knows the landscape. He’s acted as a consultant to the biggest, brightest and best in denim. “Jeans make up over 35% of the cotton in the world, before Kingpins there was no specific show for the whole jeans supply chain,” explains Andrew. “This was incomprehensible to me.”
    In 2014, the Kingpins Show came to Amsterdam. In the space of a year, the Amsterdam edition became the indigo jewel in the crown of Kingpins and helped cement Amsterdam’s status as a global ‘denim hub’. Today the Westergasfabriek’s Gashouder is lit blue for the 11th time. In our first of a series of short conversations with trailblazing clients as well as other changemakers, we talk the walk with Andrew Olah about what the future holds when it comes to the most urgent topic right now in apparel: sustainability and transparency.

    Interview by Peter van Rhoon

    First up, Andrew: why Amsterdam – and not, say, Berlin or Copenhagen?

    When we were first exploring Europe for a show, we knew it had to be in a city where the users of denim lived – like LA or New York, where there are many brands. Amsterdam fit that niche because the city also houses so many brands. Plus, there was all these other amazing jean-related activities, like the House of Denim and the Jean School. All this makes Amsterdam a denim lover’s dream city.
    And as it turned out, working in Holland is an entirely different experience to working in New York. The audience is a completely different audience. By that I mean, their relationship to the jeans industry is different than the relationship to the jeans industry that Americans have. I think the genuine love of denim is different.  Jeans are not part of the culture in New York as much as it is in Amsterdam. How is that possible when New York City is 6 times, even 10 times bigger?

    You’ve been exhibiting in Amsterdam for five years now. The honeymoon is over. How do you look at the relationship now? What would you like to improve and what makes you happy the day you land?

    The first thing I do when I land in Amsterdam is sit on the steel benches outside the Schipol Airport and drink a cappuccino. I stare at the Tesla taxis. I love Amsterdam’s devotion to clean and green, to bikes, to buildings which in many countries would have been demolished for being too old.

    Kingpins Transformers – View Project

    As far as Kingpins go, I am eternally grateful to Amsterdam’s late mayor Eberhard van der Laan who so graciously welcomed us to the city. It was also my good fortune to meet Mariette Hoitink and James Veenhoff – the founders of House of Denim – who inspired me, and many others, to be here and make Amsterdam known as a denim center.

    Recently, you decided Kingpins’ Amsterdam edition would only be open for exhibitors who are “certified.” Can you tell us how you arrived at that decision?

    Our decision to place basic criteria on our exhibitors having CSR and chemical standards came from going to too many conferences where zero action was being inspired by the event. We were exhausted from talking, yet never accomplishing anything. So, we took a stand and most mills did as we asked. We’re proud of this. It’s a tiny start but now we’re studying what else we can do to create real change.

    How did exhibitors who were not certified respond?

    At this point almost everyone has agreed to comply with our requests. Eighty percent are either certified or on their way, since it takes time. The ones that are not amount to twenty percent of our exhibitors. We will talk to them in person at Kingpins Amsterdam and are quite sure they will all comply. It’s not our intention to have exhibitors leave our show, it is to have a dialogue with them and create change.

    Do you agree that greenwashing is endemic in the apparel industry? And is transparency throughout the supply chain a way out of all this bullshit?

    Yes. Yes. Greenwashing is a disease, spreading malignantly through our industry. And I think transparency is the major antidote to rid us of fake environmental marketing. But I also think it’s time for the industry to police itself. The truth is that the manufacturers of garments, textiles, chemicals and all the rest are the ones that recognizes greenwashing. They are the ones that need to have the loudest voice on what makes the best practices.

    Which developments do you see happening in this field which really excite you?

    I am obsessed with Fibertrace which allows a scanner to instantly tell you if something is, or is not, what the brand or retailer promises it to be. I love this technology more than anything. But in the name of full transparency, I am biased. I have a small share in the company. [Laughter]

    A range of new technologies and startups will be presented during the upcoming edition of Kingpins Transformers. If you were a VC, which ones would you invest in?

    I put my energy in stuff I believe in, like Fibertrace. What is important and what everyone should pay attention to is how we can apply someone else’s garbage. Many companies are using waste to create new products. This is inspiring to me. Also, and one doesn’t need to be a genius to realize this, we need to replace all plastics and synthetics with biotechnology.

    It’s often said now that consumers are starting to buy differently – purchasing less, at a higher quality…

    I think consumers do not want to buy from tricksters – companies that do nothing but pretend they are exceptionally environmental or social angels. Companies, if they care about their valuation and common decency, need to understand that if they are not doing anything to reduce their environmental impact, they will be discovered, and their business will be hurt.

    Everlane is only a tiny example of environmental success compared to the global industry. So much needs to be done and the industry can’t rely on consumers begging for it. We have to give it to them. Just as we’d give them clean water if they asked for a drink. There should only be clean and green production – nothing else.
    That’s why we are happily engaged in helping brands and retailers create the changes that are needed by having our Transformer events, by having people from the UN at our events along with Ellen MacArthur and ZDHC.We all need to bond together, and then act – with statistically-backed impact in mind.

    And what, for you professionally, has been the best thing that’s happened in the last 12 months, Andrew?

    My wife joined our company as CFO. This is amazing news for us because she has so much experience. Additionally, we have been working diligently on our online presence — building a new website and event platform — which will debut early January and change Kingpins forever.  We are very excited about all the features the site will offer the denim community.

    See what Super Stories did for Olah Inc. & Transformers.

    Where We Come From

    Super Stories was born from an editorial background – 15 years of publishing cult magazines in the domains of boardsports, menswear and running. The term ‘cult’ is key. When thinking about marketing communications it makes sense to imagine yourself reaching out to a tribe. Online marketing language is all about target audiences and conversion. We think about target audiences as subcultures. With specific references, interests, language and values. Engagement precedes conversion. And substance does matter.

    “A crash course in the dynamics of tribes.”

    Making cult magazines with inspired content was a great crash course in understanding the dynamics of tribes. The magazine we started out with was called surf-snow-skate-streetart magazine RELOAD. It lasted for 15 years from 1997 to 2012, inspired a generation and was a hotbed for creative talent. Over time, things moved from parties with pornstars and pro-snowboarders to fashion events, and led to a menswear magazine called CODE. In between affairs we launched a running magazine for a client (Run2Day) that spearheaded in the Netherlands the new wave of running instigated by Christopher McDougall’s book ‘Born to Run’ – from traditional running shoes to barefoot freedom, urban running to women’s runs. Two years later, the franchise was successfully sold largely due to the content platform we had created. Change is inevitable. We founded Super Stories and expanded our team seven years ago.

    We believe in great stories told in a consistent way – by sticking to the facts. Often, these brand stories have to be mined through research intersecting journalism and business anthropology. That makes us the pitmen of storytelling. And this is the largest diamond mine in the world. Mirny, Siberia. Not very sustainable…

    The magazines are no more. Some things have always stayed the same though. A boundless curiosity and the conviction that reality is more exciting than most conceptual fiction. It’s what drives every documentary maker. It’s what evolved Super Stories into an agile content marketing agency – or integrated storytelling as we prefer to call it – with a range of international clients, mainly in the B2B domain. While business-to-business is sometimes referred to as ‘business-2-boring’, we definitely don’t do boring. High-quality storytelling combined with cutting-edge companies across a range of subjects – from the world’s strongest fiber, to the most technologically-advanced denim, from premium audio to sustainable textile dyeing – that’s Super Stories. Our team grew to include an international (a mix of Dutch, British, American, Chinese, Romanian and Italian) in-house crew, and a truly global network of independent professionals. We took a new approach to the tired language of content marketing. We are integrated storytellers.

    “We are integrated storytellers.”

    Today we’ve launched our new website. That sounds wonderfully dated. Yet after years of storytelling for clients, it’s rather nice to tell our own story. And with that we arrive at a shout-out to Gyor Moore, who designed our site. We enjoyed every bit of the collaboration. This website is also a shout out to our team. They’re great! And it is a testimonial to some great clients. It may be our business to add value to clients’ businesses, yet each successful collaboration also adds value to us.

    Super Stories became who we are because of who we were. Are we going to be part of each other’s futures?

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