the intersection of fashion and sustainability: denzel sanders
motivated by his love for mother earth and design, fashion designer denzel saunders created @xperiment.2256, an eco-innovative fashion brand. the brand's core focus is on utilizing patchwork techniques and repurposing leftover materials, including fabrics, household items, and everyday waste, to create unique and sustainable fashion pieces. denzel's creative vision manifested into two distinct lines. the first is xperiment 2256, where he pushes boundaries by incorporating unconventional materials into wearable designs that may not necessarily be functional but are true experiments in fashion innovation. the second is @X2256, which offers more wearable garments that are a fusion of experimentation and practicality, providing eco-conscious consumers with fashionable options that are both stylish and sustainable.
what was the inspiration behind starting your own brand?
the initial idea was simply to convey a message to people, showing the waste that we generate every day, even down to the receipt paper. i created a pair of pants made from receipts to demonstrate a different way of noticing how we waste resources. i chose fashion as my medium because it's fun and attainable. clothes are something that people can interact with and wear and are an accessible way to show the fourth wave.
what is your design creation process like?
i always start by choosing a location or time period for inspiration. for my first collection, i focused on waste, so i began with the location. i considered what the future would look like and how everything that was left over, like receipts and plastic, would just become waste. i also think about where the person wearing my designs will be. from there, i move on to the design process, which always incorporates x since it is my brand. every design is based on x, whether that means changing it up or using different geometric shapes like squares, triangles, and little crisscrosses.
talking about materials, how do you decide what materials and combinations of fabrics you're going to use?
my primary focus when designing for x 2256 is denim. i'm always on the lookout for sturdy and rigid denim, with plenty of structure. i prefer heavyweight denim, but there are alternatives like lightweight or medium-weight denim. i design my pieces with the intention that they will wear the person, rather than the other way around. therefore, i look for denim with strong, rubbery qualities and bold colors for the top stitching. the top stitching is an important aspect of the design.
how do you source your materials?
i source my materials from secondhand stores. for my upcoming true religion collection for x2256, i bought pieces from beacon's closet. these items were previously owned by individuals who no longer wanted their true religion pieces. i thought, "let me turn them into something new." this is one of the ways i gather materials. when i design for xperiment, i typically search for any unusual object that can be manipulated by hand.
how do you want people to feel wearing your clothes?
i want my customers to feel protected, which is why i'm using heavy denim. additionally, i want them to feel a connection to different aspects of the garment. i hope they discover new parts of the garment every day, noticing something they didn't see before wearing it six months ago, and appreciating the little details i added.
what are you currently working on?
i am working on my true religion stacked pants project. i have combined seven pairs of true religion pants into one, resulting in 14 pockets. this way, i never have to worry about carrying too many things, and i can easily store my phone, headphones, and other items in the extra pockets.
what can we expect from your brand in the future?
i strongly believe that consumers should be involved in the design process. currently, i am working on a proposed plan for how to incorporate consumers into the process. even if you have three or two pairs of pants that you love - the fabric, color, and fit - they may not be considered trendy or suitable for you at the moment. i would love to help people combine pairs of pants to create something new and to continue loving the pants they already have. in the future, i hope to work with consumers and design something together.
do you think about combining fashion and education?
exactly! it's like when you have something broken, such as a shoe, or when you need to repair something. you take your clothes to a tailor or a repair shop, give them away, and they don't explain the process of how they fix them. i would love to show people how to fix their own clothes so they can learn to do it themselves. sometimes all you need is a needle and thread.
interview and images by leticia ferraz