Traditional Japanese clothing and denim was the starting point for a new collaboration between Brazilian denim mill Vicunha and 17 students from the Berlin University of the Arts.

The international collaboration was part of Vicunha’s ongoing young talent project aimed to promote and support aspiring denim designers. The mill sponsored the fashion students by providing materials that allowed them to carry out this particularly experimental denim project.

Inspired by the Japanese word “otaku” which means people who are obsessed by their passion, the students were prompted to present designs in various ways that expressed Japan’s passion for classic American denim fashion.

The result was avant-garde denim reinterpretations of traditional Japanese clothing combined with different silkscreen printing techniques and surface manipulations. Student Daniel Jurhardt used flammable glue to let fabrics burn and developed cut-outs in an aluminum plate checker pattern as a design element. Student Justine Masche added a rockabilly vibe to a traditional kimono with silkscreen printing and etching paste. Other students used wires, wax, starch and bleaching agents to achieve their distinct looks.

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Thomas Dislich, Vicunha Textile Europe and Asia Director, called the results “impressive” and said the project showed the potential of both the young talent and denim as a versatile fabrication.

He continued, “Supporting the younger generation of designers has been a matter very close to our hearts for many years now. And the successful cooperations with design establishments around the globe in Europe, South America and Asia are as international as Vicunha itself. Furthermore, the experimental work by the young creatives inspires the development of new ideas and approaches—an aspect you shouldn’t ignore if you wish to keep your fashion business up-to-date and relevant.”

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