The design contest was launched this spring, in April 2017, by the denim brand Bonobo Jeans, in collaboration with IFA Paris, on the theme of “up-cycling”.

The contest launched by Bonobo required IFA Paris’ Bachelor in Fashion Design & Technology students to up-cycle and recycle old garments of the brand Bonobo Jeans to design a new garment. During the two month period of the contest process, the participants attended several workshops and received supervision and individual tutoring from IFA Paris Fashion Design lecturer Elvine Hethener.

IFA Paris students first visited the Bonobo Jeans office in Shanghai and had a key meeting with their merchandising team. It was decided that Bonobo Jeans would produce the garments created by IFA Paris’ students and would showcase their creations in their retail stores.

Finally, after fierce competition, three students from the IFA Paris Bachelor in Fashion Design & Technology program (Desmond Ang, Erica Felita and Zhang Wei Jie) came out on top and saw their creations selected by the denim brand!

The students explained how the contest was “an opportunity to challenge themselves using a new technique.” They also thanked Bonobo Jeans for supporting them as young fashion designers. “I love the idea of up-cycling! I learned that stock and textile waste is one of the biggest problems within the fashion industry and that the up-cycling process is one of the best ways to solve it. The idea also challenged me as a young fashion designer to be more and more creative in the real practice of fashion industry” explained 21 year old Indonesian Erica Felita, one of the three winners, who worked on a concept of creative mix-match denim that would be “different, playful, confident and smart.” For 29 year old Desmond Ang from Malaysia “up-cycling stops adding stuff to a world that is already overwhelmed with material things. It reuses materials that may otherwise end up in the landfill in creative and innovative ways – producing original often one-of-a-kind items from what many consider to be waste. It is a way for companies and designers to be more efficient with leftover materials such as vintage textiles and to give new life to worn-out jeans and tattered T-shirts!”

According to Bonobo, recycling only one kilo of waste textiles can help reducing emissions of CO2 by 3.6 kg!