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Global Denim Awards returns to Amsterdam for 2nd Edition

By Vivian Hendriksz

28 Oct 2015

Fashion

Following the success of the first edition of the Global Denim Awards, the award ceremony hosted by e3 returns to the denim capital of Europe once more for round two. Bigger than ever before, the 2015 Global Denim Awards sees eight up and coming designers team up with eight of the best denim mills in the world to create a capsule collection that bring together innovation, sustainability, and craftsmanship.

The participating mills and designers were selected by international denim boutique trade fair Kingpins, in cooperation with HTNK Fashion recruitment and consultancy agency. The denim mills have either chosen to work with a designer who they believe fits their identity as a company or were looking for someone to bring in a fresh perspective. The winning designer, who will be handpicked by a curated jury which includes the 'Godfather of Denim' and founder of Diesel, Adriano Goldschmied, will receive a cash prize of 10,000 euros as well as the chance to show their collection at the upcoming Kingpins editions around the world. The denim mill to show the most innovation fabric will be awarded with an honourable mention. FashionUnited had a sneak peek of the mills and designers collection during the press preview on Tuesday night and lists this year's candidates here.

1. Advance Denim & TRINHBECX

"We wanted to make something over the top, that was extreme and fun, but also represented us as designers," said Tung Trinh, half of the design duo behind TRINHBECX. Together with Advanced Denim, China's oldest denim mill, they set out to create a futuristic, sci-fi, denim collection. Inspired by Stanley Kubrick's iconic film '2001: A Space Odyssey,' Japanese sci-fi flicks and Andreas Gursky surreal landscape photographs, the resulting collection consists of bright, fun sci-fi suits and dresses, knee high platform boots and accessories, all with a touch of humour. "We made this bag to go with a dress, but really it’s completely useless because you can't put anything in it. But it’s made for leftover materials, for example we took the handle for an old milk bucket," added Tim Becx, the other half of the label.

2. Atlantic Mills & Michael Seiter

Atlantic Mills is a family owned company based in Thailand, which specialises in trading textiles from Japan and Italy. Together with Michael Seiter, they created a womenswear denim collection which celebrates the power of women. "I am a menswear designer and I saw this as one of my last chances to create womenswear, so I just went for it," explains Seiter. Looking at iconic female superheroes such as Superwoman and traditional Thai dress, the duo was inspired to create a new flexible denim knit, which was as soft as butter and would hug the female form in all the right places. Amy Leverton, denim trend forecaster and fellow member of the jury, joked that Michael design his first womenswear collection so he could dress his models in skintight denim. "It's true," said Seiter with a smile, "I just wanted to see them all in super tight denim."

3. Berto Industria Tessile & Studiopretzel

Berto was founded in 1887, in Bovolenta, Italy and carries many historical links to its surroundings and home country. Similarly, Studiopretzel, which was founded by former photographer Emiliano Laszlo, looks to his roots for inspiration as well as abroad to the Far East. For their collection, Laszlo worked with 100 percent denim, using recycled wool to create custom blended fabrics for his angular designs. "I am very inspired by Japanese culture and style," said Laszlo, adding that nearly everyone of his collections had some sort of kimono or obi - wrap in it. "But I also wanted to create something which women could wear as well, such as this denim shirt, which can also be worn as a dress."

4. Calik Denim & Gülçin Çengel

Calik Denim, part of Calik holding, is an integrated yarn and weaving factory that was established in 1987, in Malatya. Whilst attending Istanbul Fashion Week last year, they spotted up and coming designer Gülçin Çengel who was presenting her collection for the first time. It was then and there that the denim mill knew they wanted to work with her for Global Denim Awards. "It was an easy choice for us and she was a pleasure to work with," said Pinar Demirel Bula, senior marketing communications executive. "Her design aesthetics really appealed to us as well as her approach to sustainability." The resulting collection featured distressed and deconstructed denim dresses, fitted pencil skirts and knitted bomber jackets with Çengel signature leather straps and marbled denim fabric for which the duo developed a new, more sustainable technique for.

5. Candiani Denim & Sartoria Diletto

The 77 year old vertically integrated Candiani Denim mill is not only Europe's largest denim mill, but also the world's most sustainable denim mill. Together with Andrea Diletto, the founder of bespoke label Sartoria Diletto, the team set out to create a collection that brings together the best of tailoring, craftsmanship, denim and sustainability. As Diletto had never worked with denim before, he experiment with numerous fibres and treatments to create new, unique fabrics. "If we had not been working with him, then we would have never developed these new fabrics, such as the strip women's waistcoat which is made from 100 percent recycled fibres" said Simon Giuliani, marketing manager at Candiani. The resulting collection consisted of 2 men's outfits and 3 women's outfits, as Diletto aimed to invert the standard by dressing women in sharply tailored suits and the men in more casual workwear.

6. ITV Denim & Alexandra Frida

"It was my first time working with denim, but I absolutely loved it," said Alexandra Frida, the designer behind the Amsterdam-based ready to wear label. Together with the 42 year old vertically integrated denim mill, ITV Denim, Frida aimed to create a collection which was true to her own design aesthetics and continue her mission of empowering women and giving them wings through her iconic feather piece. "I reworked my feather print to create something new, for the collection as I wanted to use denim in a more playful and feminine way," said Frida. Unlike many of the other collections, Frida's collection consists of bright colors, recycled yarns and leather applicants on denim dresses, skirts and bomber jackets. "As soon as I saw the leftover denim yarns, I knew I had to use them in my collection," explains Frida. "And even though this skirt has a fault on the inside, where the feather print was misaligned, I still wanted to use in my collection because I wanted to tell its story and make sure nothing went to waste."

7. Prosperity Textile & Maison the Faux

"We wanted to use a denim in a way that also showed the workers side of the story," explained Tessa de Boer, half the design team behind Arnhem based fashion house Maison the Faux. Together with Prosperity Textile, an international textile company based in Shaoguan, China, which works with many fast-fashion companies, the duo went in search of leftover fabrics and materials for its collections. "For example this skirt, which is made from a faulty fabric that was going to be thrown away even though its still beautiful, was made by somebody. So many people today seem to forget that all the clothing they buy is touched by many different hands, and with our collection we wanted to remind people where their clothes come from," added de Boer. However, true to the fashion house general aesthetics, the unisex collection contains exaggerated proportions, uneven edges and 'second skin' layers which all aim to poke at an industry which normally takes itself a little too seriously.

8. Tejidos Royo & John-Randy Anthony

Recent graduate from the Amsterdam Jean School, John-Randy Anthony only heard he would be participating in the global denim award 6 weeks ago. "I've lost 16 kilos from all the stress since I came back from Spain but it's been worth it," he said with a laugh. Together with Spanish textile company, Tejidos Royo, Anthony created a masculine collection around the concept of workwear. "I have always been a fan of workwear, but I wanted to show it under a new light," explained Anthony. The finished collection contains a modern day miner suit, construction suit and mail man outfit, complete with waterproof denim umbrella. "I thought it would be nice to have an useful accessory for the mailman, something which would help keep him dry on his rounds."

It is clear that selecting a winning designer this year will be no easy task as the selection of designers is so diverse and international. Menno van Meurs, jury member and co founder of iconic denim retailer Tenue de Nimes, admitted to FashionUnited that the jury did indeed have a hard time narrowing down their selection for the awards. "Everyone here just has their own niche and speciality that they really focused on that it was hard to find someone who ticked all the boxes," said van Meurs. "But Goldschmied, who really is the godfather of denim, was the one who brought us the jury all together and said 'right let's start narrowing down our choice.'”

“To be honest I was in awe to have been selected alongside with him and Pierre Morisset (head designer at G-Star Raw), who are two of the most prominent figures in the denim industry. I to keep reminding myself not to just stand there with my mouth open, nodding and listening to them speak,” he added with a laugh. “But there are some strong candidates and collections here which really reflect the synergy between the denim mill and des igner."

The winner of the Global Denim Awards 2015 is set to be revealed on Thursday, 29th October​ at the Westergasfabriek, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Photo Credit: Simon Trel Photography

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