Designs Students Strut the Denim Runway at TechStyle 2011

Texas Tech University apparel design students are getting a 'field to fashion' look at the cotton industry as they compete in the Denim Runway 2011 design contest.

Texas Tech University apparel design students are getting a detailed look at the cotton industry as they compete in the Denim Runway 2011 design contest.

The contest is sponsored by Plains Cotton Cooperative Association (PCCA) and Cotton Council International (CCI) in collaboration with the university’s Apparel Design and Manufacturing (ADM) Department in the College of Human Sciences.

“We are excited to partner on this project,” said Cherif Amor, Texas Tech’s Department of Design chairman. “We have such talented students in our department, and this competition gives them opportunities beyond their wildest dreams.”

The department encompasses the field of apparel design and strives to contribute to new knowledge in this area through design education, research and community outreach.

The Supply Chain

The main goal of Denim Runway 2011 is to help students understand all the links in the denim apparel supply chain.

“It is vitally important for consumers to know and understand where the fiber comes from and everything involved,” said Wally Darneille, PCCA president and CEO.

PCCA, with headquarters in Lubbock, is a farmer-owned cotton marketing cooperative with the only fully vertically integrated supply chain for denim apparel in the Western Hemisphere. The supply chain includes the American Cotton Growers denim mill at Littlefield, and the Denimatrix jeans facility in Guatemala City, Guatemala, both of which are renowned for innovative, high-fashion denim fabrics and jeans.

CCI is the export promotion arm of the National Cotton Council. Its Cotton USA program highlights and promotes U.S. cotton, as well as U.S. cotton yarns and fabrics from Cotton USA Sourcing Program member mills.

Two New Categories in 2011 Contest

The 2011 design contest will still consist of the fashion jeans competition, featuring designs for men’s and women’s jeans, plus two new categories. In the casual category, contestants have the opportunity to design and create anything out of denim fabric. The other new category is a Cotton Trend Board competition where students will research trends for cotton fiber and apparel.

“This is a unique collaborative endeavor bringing together academia and industry, a joint venture between PCCA and ADM,” Amor said. “This platform paves the way for the students to bridge the gap between theoretical and applied sciences, while competing for distinguished awards.”

Field to Fashion

The students’ journey began in October, when they visited a local cotton farm during harvest time and learned about cotton production and realized the good environmental stewardship practiced by farmers. From there, the students went to a cotton gin to see the first steps in processing the fiber.

In February, they toured PCCA’s denim mill, American Cotton Growers. There, they observed every step in the production of the denim fabric that will be used in their designs for Denim Runway 2011.

With designs well underway, the students returned to the denim mill in April, where they washed their designs and put on some of the finishing touches, like applying rivets and distressing the denim for a sense of style.

“I wanted to make an everyday jean for a guy. It’s a dress jean, with a little fading up the thigh, because it flatters most people,” said Leone Islam, a senior from Dallas. “My women’s jeans are bell bottoms, since those are coming back right now. And for casual wear, I am making a denim dress for my little sister.”

Joanna Boucher, also of Dallas said, “I found inspiration in my mom’s catalog from the 1970s, about the time the movie Urban Cowboy came out. So I decided to go with a polished cowboy look, with a chap feel to them. We’re in West Texas, so some cowboy may want to wear these somewhere nice.”

For the Winners

The top designers of the women’s and men’s jeans category will receive an all-expense-paid trip to PCCA’s cutting and sewing facility, Denimatrix in Guatemala City, where they will learn about and participate in every process in the creation of high fashion jeans. In addition, CCI will award these winners with an all-expense-paid trip to the Colombiamoda apparel sourcing show.

The top designer in the Casual category will be awarded a $500 cash prize and recognition plaque.

The winner of the Cotton Trend Board competition will be awarded a $200 cash prize and recognition plaque.

TechStyle

Winners will be announced at the 2011 TechStyle event, which begins with a reception at 6 p.m. Saturday (April 30) at the Allen Theater in the Student Union Building. A fashion show organized by the senior class will follow at 7 p.m.

“Students work hard throughout the year to present their best work and ideas to the community at TechStyle,” said Linda Hoover, dean of the College of Human Sciences. “Year after year this event has enabled the College to spotlight the talent and creativity that we have right here in Lubbock.”

Tickets are $10 at the door, and after-five attire is suggested. Tickets may also be purchased through the Apparel Design and Manufacturing Program in the Department of Design.

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