10 October 2017

This year, Cutty’s annual design challenge, the #CuttyDenimBattle, drew 19 submissions from the University of Johannesburg 2nd year Fashion Production students, representing some of the freshest denim design ideas of 2017.

It all started three years ago with Jacky Lucking, a lecturer from the University of Johannesburg, who wanted her students to experience what it would be like designing a garment that would be commercial and cost effective for the main stream consumer . The competition includes participants from the FADA campus. It’s an interactive experience. Students are given a tour of the Cutty range at the GA Creative Brands corporate offices, and are shown the latest Cutty clothing and accessories. With Cutty trimmings and denim fabrics, the students are sent back to school to create their own unique denim creation.

It was an inspirational and innovative opportunity for GA Creative Brands. “We were approached by Jacky from the University of Johannesburg. She thought it would be a beneficial project to inspire her students and also give them a taste of the fashion industry. An exceptional experience to allow students to really understand what goes on behind the scenes in creating a garment that can be sold commercially,” says Craig Clarke from GA Creative Brands.

The brief requires the student to conduct research and find their own style that fits the Cutty feel. Phase one includes the submission of a ‘story board’ – individual interpretations of the denim project for commercial production. Cutty representatives then give the students feedback and make sure their garment would be commercially appealing.

Once the story boards are approved, students are then required to create their denims. Final submissions are featured online at and visitors to the site are encouraged to vote for their favourite denim. The denim with the most votes wins and Cutty places that denim into production. The winner gets royalties for every denim sold over the period of 6 months during their Cutty Summer 2018 Season.

Voting commences in December 2017, via an online ballot system over a period of 7 days.

The competition puts the student into the real world of fashion – the opportunity to design and to sell a product. It encourages students to design a practical article of clothing, source materials within a specific budget and understand market trends to know what the public wants.

The fashionable and functional commercial denims will be a wardrobe staple for the urban street set.

GA Creative Brands and the University of Johannesburg celebrate the best design ideas in denim and, in doing so, aims to elevate the fashion students overall.