Challenge: make the denim industry more sustainable

Second-year Fashion & Management students faced the challenge of creating a new denim brand that is completely Cradle to Cradle. The entrance of the Kohnstammhuis served for one day long as an exhibition space to show 3D-installations communicating the students visions on the sustainable jeans market.


Denim has become an indispensable product in our wardrobes. However, cotton production, the dyeing process and jeans treatments have harmful effects on the environment. The third semester for the Management students completely focuses on Cradle to Cradle business models within this heavily polluted denim market. From design to material and from pattern to production, these 3D installations provided the best future proof concepts.


‘Colour your own jeans’ is the message of the Dyenim 3D installation.

Dyenim, an innovative concept that perfectly balances fast-fashion and sustainability, has been honoured as one of the best 3D presentations. ‘A raw pair of jeans provides the basis of the lifecycle, so customising is what really sets our idea apart’, one of the group members explains. ‘Once a washing is chosen, the colour slightly fades with every wash cycle – the outcome is an ever-changing style. As soon as the colour has been eroded entirely, the jean can be returned to the shop and the process starts anew.’

After days of experimentation, hemp turned out to be not only the most durable choice for the denim fabric, but also suitable for making paper out of at the second stage.’ Of course not everything went well’, they laugh. ‘After the first bleaching, we put a wet pair of jeans on the heater and ten minutes later it smelt like burnt fabric. Our jeans caught fire and had dark stripes all over!’


The group presenting Indicow in front of their Cradle to Cradle installation.

The last group receiving their feedback is the collective Indicow. Their vision of taking the peaceful countryside to the stressed city was rewarded with a 9. The endurable concept is about transforming cow dung to paper-like material, which in the last stage is implemented in tough cotton overalls. ‘My mom wasn’t too happy about me cooking, blending and drying the cow’s dung in her kitchen’, admits one of the group members.

The marshy farmland formed the source of inspiration for the 3D-installation, especially as two of the group members grew up in rural areas. ‘Step inside the wooden shoes, look into the mirror and replace the pressure of your daily life by the serenity of the countryside.’ The fictional business card shows big future plans; opening a concept store with a mixture of fashion, interior and, surprising, typical Dutch products.

Text: Fenja Flormann and Eveline Koppejan, 2nd year International Fashion & Branding students. Photos: Fenja Flormann.

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