Denim Runway 2012: South Plains cotton and denim industry invites students into fray of fashion.

For the third consecutive year, students in the Apparel Design and Manufacturing (ADM) Program at Texas Tech University are stretching their minds to come up with the latest in denim fashion. Denim Runway 2012 Design Contest provides students with an opportunity to compete in three categories.

For the third consecutive year, students in the Apparel Design and Manufacturing (ADM) Program at Texas Tech University are stretching their minds to come up with the latest in denim fashion, under the supervision of ADM program director Su Shin.

The Plains Cotton Cooperative Association (PCCA) and Cotton Council International (CCI) Denim Runway 2012 Design Contest provides students with an opportunity to compete in three categories. First is a high-fashion category for men and/or women, and second is a casual wear competition.  

The third is a cotton trend board, which gives students the opportunity to research trends that could utilize cotton. Contestants will be judged on their ability to effectively deliver a strong message about cotton, their selling strategy to a target market, how appropriate it is for current and future trends, plus its creativity and design. Students may use a variety of materials to achieve their goal, including fabrics, adhesives, computer designs, magazine clippings and more.

“This collaborative effort with PCCA, CCI and American Cotton Growers (ACG) helps students extend their knowledge of the cotton industry,” Shin said. “It also increases their motivation to learn about the subject matter, from cotton fiber to the final product.”

Their journey, now underway, began with a visit to cotton farms during the fall semester, and continued in February with a tour of the PCCA Denim Mill in Littlefield. Students were introduced to everything from bales of cotton, to the manufacturing of yarn, the dyeing process, weaving and finishing. At the tour’s conclusion, ACG presented the group with a selection of fabrics to choose from, including premiums such as stretch denim.

Contestants received their selections Tuesday and will work on their designs to the farthest possible construction point. Then, during “Mill Finishing Week,” each student will have the opportunity to seek professional assistance from denim mill personnel for their creation’s washing, destruction and hardware assembly. All entries must be complete by the April 19 deadline.

Both blue jean contests will be judged on the garment’s appearance and illustration, which includes how appropriate the garment is for the target market, and their design and brand name. Judges will also be looking at the design and construction, including originality, wash and destruction, and fit and details. And finally – the student will be critiqued through interview and presentation, which includes how they present their idea, their inspiration, and their knowledge of design principles, fashion and the retail industry.
The winner in the casual category will receive a recognition plaque with a $500 cash prize. The trend board winner also will receive a recognition plaque and a $200 cash prize.

The designer(s) of the top two high-fashion jean competition will receive a recognition plaque, plus the opportunity to travel to Guatemala, courtesy of PCCA to visit their apparel facility, Denimatrix, in Guatemala City. And CCI will also sponsor a trip to the Sourcing Trade Show, also in Guatemala. Each winner will stay for one week.

“They will get to see how jeans are produced commercially and they will meet some professionals in the industry,” said John Johnson, PCCA communications director.

Winners will be announced April 28, at the TechStyle: Annual Senior Day Fashion Show.

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CONTACT: Su-Jeong H. Shin, associate professor, Department of Design, College of Human Sciences, Texas Tech University, (806) 742-3050 or su.hwang@ttu.edu.