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A photograph of a blue and white new material made from old Levi jeans

Designers invent new materials from old jeans for exhibition at Levi's London concept store

Promotion: fur and ink made from denim offcuts are just some of the experimental materials that have been created as part of a collaboration between Levi's and the British Council.

Working as part of the British Council's Making Matters programme – a programme set up by the council's Architecture Design Fashion division to champion circular design – Levi's digital residency put out an open call to interdisciplinary designers in Europe to reimagine post-consumer denim.

Two collectives were selected – Netherlands-based design-lab Envisions and British educational association STORE – to collaborate on a body of work that demonstrated an innovative approach to circular design using Levi's denim offcuts.

A photograph of two people making a new material from Levi jeans
The project was part of British Council's Making Matters programme

Together, Envisions and STORE created 75 individual experiments that are made using techniques such as 3D printing, weaving and braiding. The teams also co-developed new materials such as denim composites, denim fur and denim paint using indigo dye extracted from the jeans.

Divided into three categories – Mixing Fibres, Connecting Fabrics and Exploring Yarns – the works will form the basis of a public exhibition in Levi's Haus, the brand's London concept store which is dedicated to circularity, design and heritage.

"When it comes to post-consumer denim, the sky's the limit," said Envisions, which is made up of 20 design graduates from the Design Academy Eindhoven.

"Denim is a very well known material; we all recognise it as the pair of jeans we have in our wardrobes, but this exhibition will hopefully show denim's capabilities beyond garment design."

A person holding up a new material made from jeans
Envisions and STORE were chosen for the collaboration

"From the outset, we set ourselves the goal to come up with material solutions that could transcend fashion, looking at interior spaces for example," continued Envisions.

"We wanted to challenge the possibilities of this iconic material we all know and love, and ultimately, encourage consumers to think about the principles of circular design."

The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of free workshops led by British educational association STORE, including Indigo Wax Crayon Making and Basket Making using denim rope, during school clubs students explored the material possibilities of denim pulp.

The workshops aim to educate and inspire audiences to consider the full lifecycle of Levi's denim and other consumer goods.

A photograph of man placing jeans in a mixer
The project aimed to challenge the possibilities of denim

"The material's former life gives you a lot of clues about what you can make," said Envisions. "Every stage of production, from harvesting the cotton plant, and weaving the threads to dying the fabric helps to generate ideas. Cotton fibres, cotton threads and cotton fabric are all distinct with special material qualities."

The exhibition will be open to the public from 20 April to 5 May with workshop bookings available exclusively through the Levi's app from Tuesday 12 April.

"At Levi's, we believe in being a positive force for change for our communities," said vice president of merchandising Levi's north Europe, Dennis Goebel.

"We work hard every day to ensure our values are an intrinsic part of everything we do and what's been fantastic about this project is how it brings so many of these values together to create something truly exciting."

Partnership content

This article was written by Dezeen for Levi's as part of a partnership. Find out more about Dezeen partnership content here.