On Friday afternoon, the shortlisted candidates for the Lenzing Sustainable Denim Competition were invited to Blackhorse Lane Atelier in Walthamstow to attend a series of talks and workshops designed to educate in the production of denim and sustainable materials. 

With a pop up kitchen aimed to bring together the community, and a lively series of machinery, the setting allowed for the students to experience a real life working atelier. The informative day showcased the multiplicity of processes that goes into the creation of denim. With a £1000 cash prize for the student with £500 for the winner’s university, the workshop was filled with expert advice to aid the students creation of the final product, for the final stages of the competition. 

LENZING teamed up with us to create a competition that supports their vision and strong support on sustainability in fashion.  The candidates will have to consider not only the style but also have a good knowledge of the marketing of the product and the materials. The students must have demonstrated that they know who they are aiming the product at age range, market, retailers and most importantly of course the fabrics. 

Beginning with 'Lenzing Fibre Education' by Oya and Hale from Lenzing, they explained how the ranking of sustainable materials is reached, and explanation of the companies authority in the market of sustainable threads. 

The Lenzing Group is a world market leader headquartered in Austria, which operates production sites in all major markets as well as a worldwide network of sales and marketing offices. Lenzing supplies the global textile and nonwovens industry with high-quality, botanic cellulose fibres. Its portfolio ranges from dissolving wood pulp to standard and specialty cellulose fibres. 

Lenzing’s quality and innovative strength set global standards for cellulose fibres. With 80 years of experience in fibre production, the Lenzing Group is the only company in the world which is able to produce significant volumes of all three cellulose fibre generations – from classic viscose fibres to modal fibres and lyocell fibres. In 2016 Lenzing introduced the pioneering REFIBRA™ technology, a technology that involves upcycling cotton scraps e.g. from garment production. In 2018 Lenzing launched TENCEL™ as its flagship brand enabling textile industry partners, retailers and consumers to “Feel so right” with TENCEL™ apparel and home offerings.

After a talk on laundry and the processes of washing denim to achieve particular washes and affects by Enrico Forin, Helen Latham from Lycra explained a brief history of the cultural relevance of denim. Once the concept of raw denim and it's pitfalls had been explored, Latham went on to explain the need of lycra/denim blends, it's functions and it's consumer appeal. 

At the end of the day, the students chose their materials, and now will be creating the product they proposed in their competition applications. We can't wait to see which student wins, and how all of the innovative designs look.