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Re-Denim, sustainable fashion competition

Sustainability and design have over the years become almost synonymous, but the world of fashion seems to be lagging behind somewhat. The Re-denim project aims to bring change to that.

By Cassandra Pizzey / 29-03-2012

Situated in a creative hub of Rotterdam, jazz club Bird was the setting for the Re-denim competition final last Friday. Thanks in part to social media, it was the Rezipp team who took home the prize. 

Together with KICI clothing collection, sustainable business developers Enviu and bureau for sustainable development CREM, students of the Willem de Kooning Academie Rotterdam (WDKA) and students of Saxion in Enschede hosted on a sustainable fashion show and competition last week.

It were students from the fashion course of WDKA and technical commercial textile studies at Saxion who paired into groups to create a jeans brand from concept to finished product. The third and second-year students were challenged to create sustainable designs and a fitting business plan. The four groups (5.7, Revive, Reform and Rezipp) made clothing from recycled denim which should be easily recycled again thanks to production methods and design.

The panel of judges deciding which team was the best included Jaap van den Berg, Program Manager Corporate Social Responsibility at Air France KLM, Ingrid Meijer, Creative Director of Stat Divisions and Glue Jeans designer and owner Gerrit Uittenbogaard.

Competition-winners Rezipp presented a collection which featured innovative closures for jeans, jackets and tops and, according to Gerrit Uittenbogaard “a good business plan and execution overall.”

He continues: “This competition shows students that it’s not just about designing great-looking clothes. Marketing is a very important aspect of starting your own clothing line.”

Students were supplied with fabrics by KICI but had to come up with a complete business models for their brand which – in Rezipp’s case – included everything from employees to expected sales figures. “We had already reviewed the business plans and had some idea of what to expect, but today was the first time we saw the actual finished products”, says Uittenbogaard. “Overall I think it’s a great initiative and I admire the students for working together so well.”

Ingrid Meijer agrees, “I saw some good designs today, and some groups really thought about sustainability past just the recycling part. This kind of project are good for sustainability and allow students to work together.”

Other groups showed a collection of basic pieces for every wardrobe (5.7), a series of knitted-denim structures to be worn on the body (Revive) and a clothing style borrowed from other cultures including inside-out denim and skirts for men (Reform). Overall the students showed an understanding for commercialism and produced collections which – with some fine-tuning – wouldn’t look out of place next to some of The Netherlands’ bigger name brands. 

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