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The Denim Challenge

Here's a look at design and some of the problems we recently posed as well as the results they brought.
Threads magazine - 104 – Dec. 2002/Jan. 2003
The Denim Challenge awards were presented by Threads assistant editor Judy Neukam at the PACC 2002 conference. Here she is shown with winners Shawn Shepherd (in green), Patricia Robison (in charcoal), and Evelyn Bash (next to model in white). An array of finalist entries is at left. Photos: (left) Mary Ray, (right) Mark Johansen

In May of 2001, for the third time, Threads invited the Professional Association of Custom Clothiers (PACC) members to participate in a garment contest. Our challenge: select a denim fabric in any weight or color to make a garment or ensemble with a distinctive pocket. We requested that the design be innovative, interesting, and wearable.

Our only other instructions were that commercial patterns and original designs both could be used, and that if the denim were combined with other fabrics, it must make up at least 75 percent of the outfit. One year later, on May 5 , 2002, the winners o f the juried competition were announced in Chicago, as the finale to PACC’s annual convention fashion show.

three different outfits made from denim

To select the winners, Threads editors blind-judged the entries submitted by the 36 PACC members who accepted the challenge. We began by reviewing photographs, swatches, and descriptions of the garments. From these, finalists were selected and asked to send their garments to Threads, where the editors faced a difficult challenge of their own-selecting only four winners.

two black jacket and pant ensembles

When Threads asked for something different in denim, there was no question that PACC members—who spend their professional lives solving dressmaking problems—would give us a show. We received jackets, coats, and pantsuits—garments one would expect to see entered in a denim challenge, but interpreted in ways that were not predictable. Completely unexpected were the exciting eveningwear and wedding dress entries.

two different denim jackets


Most Successful Garment Overall – Evelyn Bash, Clinton, Mass.

On her entry form, Evelyn told us, “My challenge was to create a beautiful, elegant bridal ensemble from a fabric more traditionally associated with work clothes. My goal? To have the garment make the statement, ‘Of course, it’s a denim bridal dress!’ rather than ‘Whoever heard of a denim bridal dress?'”

white denim dress and jacket

The dress and jacket of Evelyn’s…

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