Denin World Championships - 2015 to 2017

The Denim World Championships is a contest which has been four years in the making, coming from small and humble roots to become the undisputed biggest denim contest in the world. It began in 2011 with the first Heavyweight Denim Championships, the HWDC (as it would become better known), was put together as a small contest contained within the Superfuture denim forum and supported by exclusive US retailer Self Edge, its mission was to let people take their love for heavy denim on a two year journey, with the result being some of the most beautifully faded and worn heavy denim ever produced. The format was simple, with contestants asked to simply wear and document the progress of their jeans over a 24 month period, and the prize was a Championship belt.

The contest proved to be so popular that many denim aficionados requested that it be re-run on a much larger scale, and so it was with the HWDC2 spreading the focus to a much larger group over multiple forums and with some serious sponsorship from major brands and retailers such as Iron Heart, Obbigood and Rivet & Hide. The second HWDC also introduced the challenge elements to the basic contest format, this was done to encourage interaction between participants, maintain interest and add a further dimension of fun for those wishing to join in. The results of HWDC2 have been even more stunning worn heavy denim, and a real sense of camaraderie amongst those with the stamina to last out the entire 2 years.

For the DWC it was decided that the scope needed to be even wider, and the most obvious way to do this was to open the contest up to all weights of denim, not just heavyweight, meaning that it would become a true Denim World Championship for all brands, all weights and it was even decided to include duck cotton to give the denim a little competition. It didn’t stop there either, taking the contest even further more elements have been added including a boot championship, a kids denim championship, and even a continuation of the HWDC to allow wearers to carry on with their jeans from the previous contest in a “Last Man Standing” format. This expansion has seen the need for the DWC to run on its own website in order to host all the different competitions in a forum style setting, where each participant is the star of their own thread, making their individual evolution progress very easy to track and cutting down on much of the background administration which slowed down HWDC2.

As well as seeing the major brands represented the DWC now incorporates the Artisan Challenge, in association with the Union Of Artisans. This is an invitational challenge for the finest jeans artisans in the world to make something a little special for the two year contest. Unlike the regular DWC, the Artisan Challenge adds the elements of design, construction and material choice to the two year wear cycle, making it a complete denim experience for all who participate and spectate. Through transparency, shared learning and comparative manufacturing techniques we hope to see much more focus given to artisanal brands and the key role that they play in the denim scene with their innovation and very personal detailing.

The Denim World Championships runs over 24 months, beginning on May 1st 2015 and ending on May 1st 2017, but unlike previous contests there is no requirement for competitors to join from day one. The belief of the organisers is that people know their own lifestyles and limitations, therefore the progress which might take someone two years to make could only take 6 months for someone else who is possibly more active, so contestants are free to join and leave as they please as the new format makes it very easy to spot when people begin and end posting.

The scope may have grown immeasurably, but the spirit and basic format remains the same as it did back in 2011, what everyone associated with the DWC wants to see more than anything are the most beautiful examples of worn denim available anywhere, and if we all have some shared fun and adventures along the way then even better.

Nick OdonnellComment