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How Isko and Cadica are Supporting Next Gen Designers

Key players in the global denim industry are pooling resources together to help the next generation of designers.

Isko recently announced it gifted premium denim fabrics to the three Savannah College of Art and Design students to support the development of their final year collection.

Each student shared a personal story through their denim design. E’Naiyah Fraizer embraced Kintsugi and wabi-sabi philosophies, which encourage finding beauty within imperfection, in her collection. She combined traditional denim with bleached and tie-dye effects. Maryuam Muhammad focused on creating modest fashion meant to fit all women, and Ifeade Adedokun experimented with denim textures.

The students presented their designs to a panel of industry experts this month, including Sonny Puryear, Isko marketing and business development manager, who offered advice and feedback.

E'Naiyah Fraizer design
E’Naiyah Fraizer’s design Courtesy

“Fostering and nurturing young talent is extremely important at Isko,” Puryear said. “Their visions will shape the future of the fashion industry, so it’s our responsibility to support their growth by sharing knowledge, expertise and even providing the denim for their projects.”

Donating fabrics to students is second nature to the denim mill, which supports the Isko I-Skool, the annual student design competition that encompasses design, sustainability and marketing strategies.

The global competition brings together denim industry suppliers, experts and students from leading design school, including Savannah College of Art and Design, which has taken part in several past editions of the competition.

Ifeade Adedokun's design
Ifeade Adedokun’s design Courtesy

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When the last Isko I-Skool took place a year ago, trims manufacturer Cadica launched a special prize for four students called “Pericolo Creativo.” The students were awarded internships, but the pandemic prevented them from traveling to Cadica’s headquarters in Carpi, Italy.

The company, however, adjusted to virtual internships to allow students to develop their own sustainable trims collections and gain experience creating technical packs.

“It was exciting to see that Cadica accessories does not have any limitation on the design options, materials, and technique for the execution,” said Seohee Ruby Shin, a student from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, adding that most fashion students do not get to experience the whole design process, including trims.

The fashion industry, in general, is increasingly rallying behind the next generation of designers. In April, the British Fashion Council (BFC) launched the Student Fabric Initiative, a “collective community action” developed to provide deadstock or unwanted fabrics to fashion students across the U.K. while reducing waste across the industry.

Denim mills also came together earlier this year for the sixth annual Ravensbourne University London denim innovation project. Held in partnership with Kingpins and Transformers Foundation, the competition featured work from 75 second-year B.A. honors students tasked with designing a denim collection from concept through to finished garments and branding.

Groups of students were given 10 weeks to create their collections using fabric, trims and technologies supplied by Candiani, Cone, Bossa, Orta, Naveena, Tencel, YKK and more. Students then presented their work in a virtual mock trade show setup and were judged by a panel of 38 industry specialists representing mills and other parts of the denim supply chain, trade show organizations and media.