Sam Weller supports designs of the future

Specialist cotton weaver Sam Weller from Holmfirth, has supplied all of the material used in the Raw Denim S/S 20 project at the University of Sunderland. Created by students on the Fashion Design & Promotion course, Raw Denim S/S 20 presents a range of contemporary, commercially-relevant designs with an ethos of sustainability for the modern-day fashion sector.

The collaboration between Sam Weller and the University of Sunderland came about after course leader Jill Kirkham approached the manufacturer at last year’s Make It British Live trade exhibition at London’s Truman Brewery.

“We were looking for a British mill with a strong commitment to UK manufacture and the capability to produce a variety of denims to inspire the students’ creativity,” says Jill, who has headed up the Fashion Design & Promotion department for over five years. “We knew upon seeing the qualities of denim that Sam Weller could produce the perfect base materials for the collection, and we were delighted when the brand agreed to donate the material for use by the students.”

Jill selected eight varieties of denim on behalf of her fashion students; a denim sateen, Yorkshire Denim 3/1 twill in two weights, a twill stripe, a broken twill, a honeycomb and two variations of denim herringbone. Totalling over 65 metres of cloth, the denim enabled all undergraduates on the course to create a range of contrasting designs as their year two project.

“The students really got behind the idea of using every element of denim that was donated for this purpose,” she says. “This resulted in virtually no waste and a varied selection of final designs from frayed edges to contrast stripes. The material inspired some of the students’ best work to date, and ignited a real passion for British-made fabric and the reduced carbon footprint that ensues from sourcing our base fabrics directly from local mills.”

As well as Sam Weller’s core range of denim, students incorporated reclaimed fabrics and recycled fittings and trims to complete their designs. Undergraduates were also urged to keep longevity at their forefront of their creative vision, bypassing passing trends and fads to create timeless and durable pieces for a more sustainable fashion future.

“We were only too happy to support students at the University of Sunderland with their Raw Denim S/S 20 project,” says Sam Weller’s general manager John Leather. “The increased recognition of the quality of British-made fabric amongst a new generation of designers is something that we are keen to encourage, and the undergraduates certainly did justice to our Yorkshire denim. We were extremely impressed with the standard of the final designs, and feel that each and every student fulfilled the potential of our high pick density fabric with their striking and varied creations.”

The Raw Denim S/S 20 project will be unveiled in its entirety at the Raw Edit Fashion Show on Thursday 2 May at Sunderland University City Space.

Pictured: Course leader Jill Kirkham with Fashion Design & Promotion BA (Hons) students Matthew Maltas, Aaron Cooper and Shaun Mills.