Oak couture! Fashion student twigs onto a new trend… with jeans made from WOOD

February 11, 2013 | by | 0 Comments

It sounds like a job for Twiggy — modelling a pair of jeans made from wood.

Fashion student Dawn Ellams branched out from traditional design to create the trousers which would be perfect for a stick-thin model.

Dawn, 29, uses pulp from eucalyptus trees to create a material which is then spun into yarn to make the crazy clothes.

Dawn Ellams with her jeans made from wood fibre

Dawn Ellams with her jeans made from wood fibre

She said:  “They don’t give you splinters and they’re just as soft as any other pair of trousers.”

Dawn, a PhD student at Heriot-Watt’s School of Textiles in Galashiels, Scottish Borders, came up with the idea during her research into sustainable fashion.

Her ‘eco-jeans’ only use one fifth of the water, energy and chemicals needed to make a conventional pair of jeans.

Dawn and model Amber Lorimer show off the jeans

Dawn and model Amber Lorimer show off the jeans

She said: “The wood gets mushed up into a coffee-like mixture and that is turned into white stringy stuff which we then chop up and spin it into a yarn.

“I’m looking into sustainable fashion for my PhD – and I’ve been working with Tencel, the company who make the fibre. So I thought I would make some cottonless jeans.

“Before they’re turned into jeans they just look like any normal woven or knitted fabric, and the cloth is softer than cotton – so they are a very comfortable fabric.

“I think it is quite wacky that the jeans are made from wood.  I really think of them as a good niche product that should definitely have a place in the market.

“They’ve passed health and safety – there’s no way you’ll be getting any splinters from them. The wood is completely melted down and dissolved, so they are not scratchy.

“The jeans are absolutely fine to be washed as well, they’re made for the high street, so they’re not going to shrink or turn back into a tree.”

The trousers get the denim look by digital printing rather than the usual intensive washing and dyeing methods associated with jean manufacturing.

Making one pair of regular denim jeans uses an average of 42 litres of water and can also require up to 15 dyeing vats and an array of harmful chemicals.

But Dawn’s green jeans, which cost around £27 to produce, could revolutionize the process by saving water and drastically reducing carbon emissions.

She added: “My aim is to make a whole collection – I’ve also been working on another item I’ve called the ‘Eucalyptus dress’.”

The aim now is to eventually sign up suppliers with a view to bringing the product to the High Street – touch wood.

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