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Justine Aldersey-Williams: Woman Grows Jeans

A pioneering textile artisan has created the first ever pair of home-grown jeans in the UK for almost 120 years as part of an exciting National Lottery funded project.

Sam and Justine with the jeans.

In the latest episode of The National Lottery’s award-winning podcast Amazing Starts Here, Olympic gold medallist and TV presenter Sam Quek meets Justine Aldersey-Williams, the creative genius behind ‘Woman Grows Jeans.’

In a climate of increasing awareness of fast-fashion and rising eco-anxiety globally, Justine explained how using sustainable practices with native fibres and dye crops enabled her to produce lined jeans using natural indigo.

In 2020, Justine, founder of the Northern England Fibreshed, entered into a collaboration with long-time friend Patrick Grant, from the Great British Sewing Bee, and other partners to attempt to bring the jeans to market.

Drawing on the rich industrial heritage of Lancashire, Justine sewed and grew fields of flax and woad, which were spun, woven and dyed to make new clothes.

With the help of National Lottery funding, Justine hopes to continue to make waves in revolutionising the fashion industry by creating a regenerative, eco-friendly textile farming and production industry within the UK whilst inspiring others.

Justine said: “By creating short, transparent supply chains that directly link farms to fashion and reintroducing textile crops, skills and manufacturing infrastructure to UK shores, I hope the project will raise awareness of clothing as a renewable, agricultural product with the potential to regenerate both ecology and economy.”

The historic indigo jeans will be revealed live on stage at the forthcoming British Textile Biennial in Blackburn on 28 October.

Sam Quek added: “As a former elite athlete, I’ve been fortunate to benefit directly from National Lottery funding and have seen how it’s helped us bring home medals galore from Olympic and Paralympic games.

“In this series, I will be meeting some impressive people who have been making their mark in all aspects of life across the UK and catching-up with some familiar faces to find out how National Lottery support has empowered them to turn their dreams into reality.

“I hope you can join me to find out where the amazing starts”.

Justine’s extraordinary and forward-thinking Woman Grows Jeans project is one of the thousands of organisations throughout the UK which benefit from the £30 million raised every week for good causes by National Lottery players.

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