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#TBT: Lenzing Exec Tricia Carey’s Love for Denim Began in the Classroom

Throwback photos stir up laughs, memories and—for denim heads—a wealth of vintage denim inspiration. This weekly column on Rivet asks individuals in the denim industry to take a look back and reminisce about a denim moment in time captured on film.

This week, Tricia Carey, director of global business development-denim for Lenzing Fibers recalls a school picture day that foreshadowed her career in denim.

A vocal advocate for sustainable denim, Carey is a major influencer in the space. She began her career in textile sales and fabric sourcing before moving onto merchandising for Tencel Lyocell when the fiber was in its earliest stages. Ever since, she’s maintained a connection to denim.

Tricia Carey, Director Global Business Development – Denim, Lenzing Fibers

This photo is from class picture day, 1977, when I was in kindergarten in North Carolina. My mom usually bought my sisters and me clothes from Sears or J.C. Penney. Being the youngest, I would get all the hand-me-downs, but this dress was bought specifically for my picture day so it was even more special to me. During this time, Tencel Lyocell was not even commercialized or I definitely would have been wearing it.

A year after this photo, we moved to Vermont and then to Binghamton, N.Y., so my exposure to fashion was quite limited. When I was in middle school, I started to take an interest in fashion and would try to get my hands on any fashion magazine or catalogue I could. Having attending Catholic school for 12 years, I grew up always wearing some type of uniform, which is probably why I still wear a lot of dresses. The only time we could wear jeans to school was for “dress-down days” which would be once a month and we would pay $1 that would be donated to a charity.

My association with jeans was truly one of a democracy, because it could raise awareness and help someone else. Now, my wardrobe is filled with jeans, each with a story about the fiber innovation, the fabric mill partner, the designer’s visions or marketing launch.