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Denim Runway 2011 Design Contest Winners

Announced at TECHstyle Fashion Show

LUBBOCK, TEXAS – (April 30, 2011) – Denim took center stage Saturday evening as winners of the Denim Runway 2011 design contest were announced during the annual TECHstyle Senior Fashion Show on the Texas Tech University Campus. Launched in 2010, the contest is sponsored by Plains Cotton Cooperative Association (PCCA) and Cotton Council International (CCI) in collaboration with the university’s College of Human Sciences Department of Design’s Apparel Design and Manufacturing (ADM) program.

“Based on the remarkable success of last year’s contest and with the consent of the ADM department, we decided to expand it and give the students a ‘field-to-fashion’ look at the cotton industry and the entire denim apparel supply chain,” said PCCA President and CEO Wally Darneille. In October 2010, students visited a local farm during harvest to learn about cotton production and observe farmers’ good environmental stewardship. They also visited a cotton gin and heard presentations about PCCA’s cotton marketing programs. Last February, they were given a full tour of PCCA’s denim mill, American Cotton Growers (ACG) in Littlefield, Texas, to see every step in the production of denim fabric.

Lauren Hogan, a senior ADM major from Corpus Christi, Texas, won the men’s jeans category, and Lauren McGraw, another senior ADM major from Ellis, Texas, won the women’s jeans category. Hogan and McGraw will receive an expenses-paid trip to PCCA’s Denimatrix apparel facility in Guatemala where they will learn about and participate in each process used to create high fashion jeans. In addition, COTTON USA, a CCI program, will provide them an expenses-paid trip to the Colombiamoda apparel sourcing show in Medellin, Colombia, where they will serve as ombudsmen for the U.S. cotton industry. The COTTON USA stand at this important apparel trade show highlights U.S. cotton yarns and fabrics from COTTON USA Sourcing Program member mills. David Collins, assistant executive director for CCI in Washington, D.C., helped judge the men’s and women’s jeans and the Casual category.

“I was really impressed with the designs this year,” Collins said. “The talent was exceptional, and the students showed a great deal of creativity,” he added. “It really says a lot for the students and the ADM program at Texas Tech.”

“This year, we also worked with the ADM faculty to add two new categories so more students could be involved,” said John Johnson, PCCA’s director of Public and Legislative Affairs. In addition to the fashion jeans competition featuring designs for men’s and women’s jeans, a Casual category was added to give contestants an opportunity to design and create anything made with denim fabric. The other new category, Cotton Trend Board, encourages students to research and communicate their predictions about trends for cotton fiber and apparel.

Megan Curry, a senior ADM major from Dallas, Texas, won the Casual category, and Erica Medrano, a senior ADM major from Houston, Texas, won the Cotton Trend Board category. Both students received cash awards for their winning entries.

“This is a premiere opportunity for apparel design students at Texas Tech to showcase their designs,” said Casual category judge Robin Raney, vice president of Business Development for the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce and a former buyer for an upscale national retailer. “Interacting with the judges provides a real-world experience as the students discuss their design inspirations, marketing and pricing strategies, and construction,” Raney said. “Many of the designs showed tremendous ready-to-market potential,” she added.

“Denim Runway is a way to engage students in a practical application of the career they’re interested in pursuing,” said Andrea Wilson, vice president/director of Account Services for The Price Group and a judge in the Cotton Trend Board category. “I was amazed at the level of talent, creativity and professionalism coming from such a large number of students,” Wilson said.

Collins also commended PCCA for creating and managing Denim Runway. “They have done an excellent job, and this really is a service to the entire cotton industry,” he said. “Any time we can highlight the fact that cotton is a fashion fiber as well as a comfort fiber it helps us all.”

“We are excited to partner with Plains Cotton Cooperative Association and Cotton Council International on this project,” said Cherif Amor, Ph.D., Texas Tech chairman of the Department of Design. “We have such talented students in our department, and this competition gives them opportunities beyond their wildest dreams while pedagogically competing for remarkable awards.”

PCCA with headquarters in Lubbock, Texas, is a farmer-owned cotton marketing cooperative with the only fully vertically integrated supply chain for denim apparel in the Western Hemisphere. The supply chain includes the American Cotton Growers denim mill at Littlefield, Texas, and the Denimatrix jeans facility in Guatemala City, Guatemala, both of which are renowned for innovative, high-fashion denim fabrics and jeans.

CCI is the National Cotton Council’s export promotions arm and carries out programs in more than 50 countries globally under the COTTON USA trademark. CCI’s headquarters is located in Washington, D.C., with offices located in Memphis, London, Hong Kong, Seoul, and Shanghai, in addition to a global network of representatives.