Slow Fashion Challenge for International Design Competition

The Real Leather. Stay Different search for new design talent is now on.

Enter here.

Open to anyone studying art and design or who has graduated from art and design higher education within the last two years, the Real Leather. Stay Different. International Student Design Competition 2022 (RLSD ‘22) is run in partnership with ArtsThread. Its mission is to encourage a new generation of designers to reconsider their relationship with leather and other natural materials to create stunning designs where longevity and minimal environmental impact is key.


The competitor has also announce the appointment of two industry-leading figures to the judging panel. Christopher Koerber, Managing Director of HUGO BOSS Ticino and Rosie Wollacott Phillips, Group Sustainability Manager of Mulberry, join celebrity fashion stylist, Mike Adler and the 2021 winner, and FIT NYC graduate, Emily Omesi for the final, in London on 15 September 2022.

Christopher Koerber, comments:

“For HUGO BOSS, sustainability means creating innovative, high-quality products while taking responsibility for ensuring ethical corporate governance. We bear responsibility for a complex global value chain and choose our suppliers and distributors carefully. We are committed to making it more sustainable from start to finish.

A significant contributor to achieving a sustainable future for fashion is advocacy amongst our peers and future influencers. Raising awareness amongst young designers about the role they can play by simply choosing more sustainable and appropriately sourced materials is vital. This is why I am pleased to support RLSD ‘22 as it will help to drive positive change and innovation by inspiring the next generation of design talent.”

Rosie Wollacott Phillips, Group Sustainability Manager at Mulberry, which since producing its first 100% sustainable leather handbag in 2019 has now committed to becoming net-zero by 2035 and to developing the world’s lowest carbon leather, added:

“I am delighted to be part of the judging panel for this year’s Real Leather. Stay Different. International Student Design Competition. It is an important opportunity for us to talk to tomorrow’s influencers and to encourage designers to really consider working with natural, sustainable, and responsibly sourced leather.

The leather industry diverts two million tonnes of global waste from landfill every year and converts unwanted materials into accessories, clothing and footwear which are made to last. Leather is a beautiful, sustainable material when sourced properly, and the proponents of slow fashion have a responsibility to champion it.”

Chairman of the judging panel Steven Sothmann pointed out the waste that the fashion industry creates, not just with disposable fast fashion but in its material choice:

“Forty per cent of hides from the meat and dairy industry are thrown away, ending up in landfill. So, when considering a leather purchase, you can do so in the knowledge you’re helping to reduce waste and lowering the CO2 emissions of landfill.”

Competition entrants will be challenged to design a single piece of clothing, footwear or accessory using 50% or more leather. Shortlisted finalists will be invited to present their design concept to the judges during a live showcase final, with an all-expenses-paid trip to London, during Fashion Week in September.

As part of the prize for making the global final, finalists will have their design professionally made to present to the judges.

The competition is now live, with entries being accepted until 30th June, more details here.