Double-denim heaven as fashion students prove talent is in the jeans

It’s where east meets west; McQueen clashes with Westwood; country turns kimono.

University of Sunderland fashion students have been getting versatile with denim as part of a unique exhibition.

Now on display in the University’s Priestman building, the array of denim creations is proving a big draw after the 2nd year Fashion, Design and Promotion students let their imaginations go wild.

Aaron Cooper, 20, from Washington, created three outfits as part of the Raw Denim exhibition.

He said: “My kimono is a mixture of Asian influences and country-and-western. I wanted to bring together the East and the West.

“When I was coming up with ideas, I knew I didn’t want to go with just one culture but rather bring lots of different influences under one roof.

“The other outfits also have a cowboy flavor to them, as well as a 60’s influence.”

Aaron, who hopes to be either a designer or a stylist, says he is often influenced by Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood.

20-year-old Aaron Cooper with a collection of his designs ahead of the exhibition Picture: DAVID WOOD

Shaun Mills, 21, opted for a more urban edge for his creations.

The 2nd year student said: “My two outfits were about street style, the skater look combined with cityscapes.

“Denim is always on trend but it was actually quite hard to work with because it is so heavy.”

Matthew Maltas, 20, from Sunderland, said: “My outfits were inspired by the effects of medication and taking types of psychedelic drugs.

“This will form part of my portfolio of work as I’m hoping to ultimately get a job designing for a big company, something like Pretty Green.”

Emily Addison, 19, used locally sourced denim from Yorkshire to come up with her creations.

She said: “Part of our remit was to be as environmentally friendly as possible so the material came from Sam Weller in Yorkshire and the only thing I really needed to pay for were the large zips.”

19-year-old Emily Addison adds the finishing touches to her designs ahead of the exhibition Picture: DAVID WOOD

Jill Kirkham, Programme Leader and Module Leader for the Raw Denim project, said: “On this course we try to involve as many live industry links as possible.

“The connection to the denim supplier, Sam Weller was made in May last year, when I attended the Make It British fair in London.

“They were introducing these amazing “raw” denim qualities that I knew would excite the students for their 2nd year project. We are looking at all aspects of sustainability, low impact and ethical issues throughout all modules on the course and the fact that this fabric was produced “down the road” in Yorkshire made it even better.

“The students have really engaged with the fabrics, researching current and heritage looks and forthcoming trends. They have all worked incredibly hard and produced some really original but marketable garments.

“I’m very proud of them and excited to see the ultimate reveal when they show these outfits in a fundraiser fashion show in May.”

The Raw Denim exhibition is currently on display until February 22.


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