Back in September we wrote about a female entrepreneur project we’re supporting with 4 women in the denim industry in association with leading denim mill, Soorty. Each Dudette was asked to design her own outfit which will be produced by the mill in their Istanbul facility. The four awesome women are headed out to Istanbul right now to see their garments being made and to contribute to design decisions along the way such as finishes, treatments and details. What’s great about this project is the opportunity for each woman to realise their design dreams: the challenges and restraints of choosing the right fabrics, the wash and finish capabilities of those fabrics, the silhouettes and constructions that will play their part and above all, the sustainable considerations involved every step of the way. 

Amy, Ani and Eda: The design process. Photo by Lisa Kato

Despite having four very different styles, each woman highlighted sustainability considerations as being of paramount importance when deciding on fabrics, finishes and design. It’s going to be really exciting seeing how some of those considerations come into play when visiting the facility tomorrow. Check out our previous post to learn more about the project and each dudette selected. For now, here’s more about each wonderful woman and their very unique ideas and design inspirations:

Alexis Colby of @bitofdenim is a re-make and re-cycle aficionado. She describes her personal style as “Tomboy Chic” as likes to mix a pair of baggy shorts or jeans with an “element of sexy” such as a 90’s inspired bustier. Brands that inspire her include Margiela, Gaultier and Ottolinger but she also calls out powerful women who influence her life and her outlook, such as Janice Blanchard. In Alexis’ opinion “you can’t beat a pair of Airforce 1’s and a crisp vintage pair of Levi’s” 

For her ultimate denim look she has designed an elongated fitted trucker jacket with a tie dye finish, a denim bustier and yes, you’ve guessed it, a sustainable imitation 501 look, upsized with a perfectly worn-in wash.

Alexis Colby, far right and some of her inspiration from 90’s runway to perfectly loved jeans

Ani Wells of @simplysuzette has opted for a somewhat more classic look. Empowerment through sustainability is her motivation and she wants to focus on timeless classic wardrobe staples that are not only eco-conscious in properties and processes but also through the garments lifecycle. She has combined a lightweight summer peasant blouse with a classic 5 pocket straight leg jean; not too loose, not too tight. Finally she wants to add a lightweight parka jacket  to the outfit with oversized proportions and utility pockets in an organic, unbleached cotton. Ani is also interested in using natural dyes to create a bespoke finish on the jacket.

Ani Wells, middle right and her eco-classics inspiration: natural dyes, unbleached cottons and organic fabrics

Harmony Hendrix’s personal style is inspired by the interbellum period and her Soorty denim designs honour the avant garde women of the 1920’s & 1930’s that weren’t afraid to go against the status quo and push beyond gender related fashion norms. “Writers, artists, fashion designers, creatives and other feminists would start wearing pants (and suits) – a fashion item that exclusively belonged to the male gender. These women paved the way for us. And paved the way for women in denim.” For this look Harmony wants to create a 3 piece suit using selvedge, raw denim to emphasize the strong and clean aesthetic of the 1920’s and 30’s suiting. We can’t wait to see this!

Harmony Hendrix, top right and a few of the women and details that inspired her tailored 3 piece suit idea.

Finally Maria of @amk.atelier Her concept is rooted in smart-casual styling, focussing on utility and function while exaggerating silhouettes and details using fashion driven flair. Inspired by smart functionality, conscious craft and natural, classic colouring, she will be creating a light-weight indigo parka, layered with a relaxed fit workwear jacket and a volume, crop trouser pant. “A sustainable way of working is an integral part of my process” she told us. Her goal is to create an eco-conscious and highly functional look, designed with sustainability in mind, using responsibly made fabrics and wash processes combined with high performance finishing.

Maria Gunnarsson and her explorations in proportion, silhouette and craft

Tomorrow these four women will be visiting Istanbul and we’ll be publishing live updates of their trip on the @denimdudes and @denimdudettes feed.

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Trend forecaster, denim designer, industry journalist and author of Denim Dudes.