Students Go Far Beyond Blue Jeans in Cone Denim Design Challenge

NC State’s Wilson College of Textiles helped Greensboro-based Cone Denim celebrate 125 years of denim ingenuity this spring with the White Oak Selvage Denim Design Challenge. Twenty five students from the College’s department of Textile and Apparel, Technology and Management showed original designs made from White Oak selvage denim in the design challenge and runway competition held April 6. Jurors were industry icons Francois Girbaud, Founder & Owner Marithé + Francois Girbaud; Scott Morrison, Founder, President & Designer 3X1; Amy Leverton of Denim Dudes; and Victor Lytvinenko, Founder Raleigh Denim Workshop.

The students designers used authentic American selvage denim replicated from the early 1900s and woven on vintage American Draper fly-shuttle looms. Each participated in a semester-long seminar class where they were challenged to think creatively and innovate a denim “work of art” currently unavailable in the marketplace. They had to employ various technical design processes using their understanding of fabric construction and dimensional design. In the end, 30 designs were juried in that celebrated the authenticity and evolution of selvage.

“We were very excited to include the Denim Design Competition as part of Cone Denim’s 125 year anniversary celebration,” said Ken Kunberger, CEO & President, International Textile Group and Cone Denim. “We know the design students at the Wilson College of Textiles are among the best in the country, and they did not disappoint.  The designs were amazing and exhibited the beauty and versatility of selvage denim.  The creativity was over the top and we could not have been any more pleased.”

When they kicked off the White Oak Selvage Denim Design Challenge seminar class, Nancy Webster, adjunct professor and a TATM Advisory Board member, and Fay Gibson, TATM lecturer, gave the students very specific instructions: “Inspire ITG and their customers; take denim to a place it’s never gone before.” The designers achieved that. (See their work.)

The top three pieces all explored the use of denim in exciting new ways:

Kim Ring/Renee Graff: Selvage denim brings new strength and ruggedness to outdoor activewear. Denim was appliqued to stretch performance fabric to create durable yet flexible bottoms, perfect for activities like rock climbing. Selvage dipped in reflective material was used to highlight the lines of the look in the puffer jacket. The garment was also filled with recycled denim, which could be a new use for imperfect denim fabric or old denim clothing.

Rachel Godown: Form and texture collide in this fabric manipulated walking work of art. Variegated shades of blue with the fringe and folds of the dress give the wearer movement and texture.

Jackie Burris: Eyes Open, Eyes Closed featuring David Bowie was developed using lenticular design which is seen in street art. After preparing the denim substrate using a bleaching technique, two images were spliced alternating the image arrangement into a digital file. This image was then digitally printed using the whole garment printer. The colored stitching of the pleats further emphasizes the lenticular effect of the garment.

The top three winners has their designs on display at the Kingpins Show in New York City May 11-12. In addition, first place winners Ring and Graff won the “Cone Denim Experience” that included an all-expense paid trip to New York to work with the Cone Denim Group and attend the Kingpins show. Second place winner Godown took home $750, and third-place winner Burris received $500.
Students designers were:

  • Claire Hider, BS Fashion and Textile Design: Textile Design – May 2017
  • Zihan Dou, BS Fashion and Textile Management – May 2018
  • Wenyuan Wang, BS Fashion and Textile Design: Fashion – May 2018
  • Macy Bell, BS Fashion and Textile Design: Fashion – May 2018
  • Claire Draughn, BS Fashion and Textile Design: Textile Design – May 2019
  • Claire Gibson, MS Textile Technology Management: Product Development – December 2016
  • Carter Jones, BS Fashion and Textile Design: Textiles – May 2016
  • Jackie Ramdin, BS Fashion Development and Product Management – May 2016
  • Jessica Parker, Fashion and Textile Management: Product Development – May 2016
  • Forest Tomlin, BS Fashion and Textile Design: Fashion Design – May 2019
  • Nicky Relyea, BS Fashion and Textile Design: Fashion – May 2016
  • Amanda Speer, BS Fashion and Textile Brand Management – May 2019
  • Hunter Andrews, BS Fashion and Textile Design: Fashion Design – May 2016
  • Shivani Patel, BS Fashion Development and Product Management – May 2017
  • Renee Graff, BS Fashion and Textile Design: Fashion – May 2016
  • Kim Ring, BS Fashion and Textile Design: Fashion – May 2016
  • Daniel Aiello, BS Fashion and Textile Management – December 2017
  • Rachel Elizabeth Godown, BS Fashion and Textile Design: Fashion Design – May 2016
  • Anna Beth Gawarecki, BS Fashion and Textile Design: Fashion Design – May 2017
  • Jennifer Rilley, Fashion and Textile Design: Fashion Design – May 2019
  • Emma Caroline Wang, BS Fashion and Textile Design: Fashion – May 2018
  • Ashley Maurice, BS Fashion and Textile Design: Design – May 2018
  • Tan Zhang, MS Textile Technology – May 2016
  • Gregory Scott Arriola, BS Fashion and Textile Design: Fashion Design – May 2016
  • Jackie Burris, PhD Candidate – Textile Technology and Apparel Management – December 2017

About Cone Denim: Cone Denim has been a leading supplier of denim fabrics to top apparel brands since 1891. Formed out of the entrepreneurial spirit of brothers Moses and Ceasar Cone and grounded in American heritage, Cone Denim has been synonymous with authenticity and innovation for over a century. Today, that same spirit, expertise and advanced capability continue to service and inspire the global market. Cone Denim operates as part of International Textile Group, Inc. (ITG) with manufacturing facilities in the U.S., China, and Mexico, including the flagship White Oak® mill with its unique blend of modern equipment and technology alongside vintage looms from mid-century denim making.

 

S