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Jean School Students Apply Gen Z Twist to Stretch Denim

Seven mills and 30 design students came together to create Stretch Yourself, a capsule collection examining the future of stretch denim.

Ahead of Kingpins Amsterdam‘s return to in-person events, Amsterdam-based House of Denim’s Jean School, the only denim educational institution in the world, teamed with The Lycra Company to develop a collection asking aspiring designers to create denim for Gen Z and the qualities it values most: body positivity, comfort, durability and sustainability.

The result is a 14-piece collection using innovative and sustainable stretch denim fabrics from Calik Denim, Bossa, Orta, Naveena Denim Mills, Soorty Enterprises, DNM Denim and Advance Denim. The mills sent out their most premium fabrics made with Lycra fibers to the House of Denim and students were free to choose from among the options.

Fabrics contained several Lycra technologies, including Lycra DualFX, a patented fabric construction that boosts the recovery power of stretch denim fabrics so that body-hugging styles retain their shape; Lycra FreeFit, a technology that allows for comfort in motion across a wider fit window; and Lycra T400, a co-polymer that generates its own stretch when exposed to heat and coils up like curly hair.

The circular version, Lycra T400 EcoMade fiber, is made with 50 percent recycled PET bottles and 18 percent plant-based fibers, giving it a sustainable content of 68 percent. The fiber is also GRS certified to ensure traceability throughout the distribution chain.

With designers to conceive any type of garment, the resulting collection ranges from body-hugging silhouettes to baggy jeans and dresses that question gender lines, said Mariette Hoitink, co-founder of the House of Denim.

Using fabrics from Calik and Bossa, student Luna Kroddsma developed a corset dress that combined high-stretch with rigid constructions. Tom Prins designed a dress with DNM Denim fabrics inspired by the constructivist art movement’s use of geometric shapes. Using fabrics from six of the seven mills, Nick Flamant manipulated fabric into small bubbles, resulting in the “inflated dress.”

Participating students also took part in lectures by The Lycra Company team and online presentations by the participating denim mills to learn more about their base materials.

“Couture meets casual,” Hoitink said. “The title of the exhibition, ‘Stretch Yourself,’ really applies; the students worked day and night to come up with the final results and took a totally unexpected take on stretch denim. The whole project reflects diversity and inclusion and supports creativity.”