Students showcase sustainable denim brands with Kingpins Show

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As part of an annual denim innovation project with global denim trade show, Kingpin’s Show, Ravensbourne’s second year fashion students have been challenged to create a complete denim brand in just ten weeks.

Ravensbourne’s second year fashion students have been challenged to create a complete denim brand in just ten weeks, by global denim trade body, Kingpin’s Show.

Working in groups from the design and branding-based courses, students were given access to fabrics from some of the most sustainable denim mills across the globe, including Lenzing, YKK and Jeanologica. Sustainability is one of the most pressing issues in the fashion industry, with denim production being a particular challenge in terms of its environmental impact when mass produced. Almost 11,000 litres of water are used to make one pair of jeans.

Students responded to the challenge in a variety of ways; one group aimed to better educate their consumers on how to maintain their garments, while another looked to ensure every piece of their collection is fully recyclable, promoting circular design principles.

The collections were unveiled at a private view on Friday 17 January, with a panel of industry experts choosing three collections to exhibit their designs in Amsterdam and New York with project partners Kingpin’s Show.

‘GiLD)E’, comprised of Ben Malcolm, Rosa Rohde, Sandra Cuesta Sanchez, Tahira Ismail, Ivan Svanberg, Ella Breakwell, Laura Brown and Dominique Wilkinson, were awarded first place prize. Their designs take inspiration for the Whitechapel Road Working Lads Institute of the 1880s, which provided young men with the opportunity to learn new lifeskills and find employment.

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Runner-up places

As well as using sustainable fabrics provided by Hewitt Heritage Fabrics, the group include a ‘Care Package’ with their collection, complete with sewing equipment and instructions, encouraging buyers to maintain and upcycle their products.

Runner-up places were awarded to SA.CRO, who aimed to show how denim is considered ‘sacred’ to the fashion field, and Éphémère, which translates as ‘lasting a very long time’ in French.

Commenting on behalf of GiLD)E, Ivan said, “It was such an honour to have our work recognised and applauded by industry professionals. The project brief, focusing on sustainability was always the driving force in our work. Is this rational? Is this ethical? With a project focused on sustainability, you question everything and realise there is a lot of that can be improved from what is standard in the industry. We are extremely grateful to Hewitt Heritage Fabrics for making it possible for us to be a fully ‘Made in England’ brand and produce everything locally.”

Andrew Olah, Founder of Kingpins Show added, “I was very impressed with the students’ creative work and even more impressed at the work they did to make their brands sustainable and circular. Long term fashion success requires designers and brands to pay serious attention to the ingredients of their products and these students understood that implicitly.”

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