Twenty-six students from Texas Tech University’s College of Human Sciences will compete to create the most fashion-forward U.S. cotton-rich jeans for men and women in a “Denim Runway” contest co-sponsored by Cotton Council International (CCI). The winning students from Texas Tech’s Apparel Design and Manufacturing program, in the Department of Design, will get to see how new designs go into commercial production at Denimatrix in Guatemala.

“A large amount of U.S. cotton fiber goes into the production of denim jeans, and consumers all over the world love wearing jeans,” said CCI President Wally Darneille. “This competition will give aspiring designers experience working with U.S. cotton denim fabric, in addition to exposure to the U.S. cotton textile industry, apparel makers in the Western Hemisphere and CCI’s COTTON USA Program.”

The competition kicked off last week in Lubbock, Texas, and will conclude with a fashion show “TECHstyle” on April 24, during which the winning women’s jean designer and winning men’s jean designer will be announced. The competing students will design their jeans using U.S. cotton-rich denim from a Littlefield, Texas, mill owned by Plains Cotton Cooperative Association (PCCA).

COTTON USA will sponsor the two winning designers on a trip to the Colombiamoda trade show in Medellin, Colombia, July 27-29 to promote their U.S. cotton-rich jeans and give them a comprehensive view of the industry, from fiber to processing to brand to retail. The COTTON USA stand at this important apparel trade show highlights U.S. cotton yarns and fabrics from COTTON USA Sourcing Program member mills. Attendance at Colombiamoda will give the winning student designers the opportunity to learn about the U.S. cotton textile industry and garment manufacturing companies throughout the Western Hemisphere.

“We have such talented students in our department, and this competition gives them opportunities beyond their wildest dreams,” said Cherif Amor, Ph.D., Texas Tech chairman of the Department of Design. “This opens doors to them they may never have thought possible.”

According to CCI’s most recent Global Lifestyle Monitor (GLM), which researches consumer buying habits across 10 countries, 62 percent of global consumers surveyed love or enjoy wearing denim on a regular basis. Consumers surveyed own an average of 6.25 pair of jeans, and 23 percent own 10 or more pairs of jeans. The GLM is a joint CCI and Cotton Incorporated study carried out biennially.