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Real Leather Stay Different 2023 International Student Design Competition Now Open


The Real Leather. Stay Different. International Student Design Competition, in partnership with Arts Thread, is back with its mission to discover and showcase a new generation of designers who promote slow style and a more sustainable future through the use of long-lasting natural materials.

The competition is open to students in higher education or who have graduated in the past year. Students can enter designs in one of three categories of footwear, apparel and accessories, via rlsd.internationaldesigncomp.com, with entries closing at midnight [GMT] on June 30, 2023.

Moving on from the 2022 venue London, the 2023 finals will be held in fashion capital Milan this October. Finalists will present their designs to a judging panel including celebrity stylist Mike Adler and Gal Benjamin, the 2022 winner, who saw off competition from nearly 2000 entrants representing more than 130 colleges in 40 countries.  Category winners, including the People’s Choice winner, will enjoy an all-expenses paid trip to the finals where the overall winner will be crowned. All finalists will have their designs professionally made joining a capsule collection showcasing the best international talent. 

Alex Brownless, Co-Founder & President of competition partner Arts Thread said: “It’s great to, once again, support this competition. Not only is it a wonderful opportunity for students to showcase their talent but it also highlights the critical need to look again at the threat of fast fashion to the planet and people. To support life-long careers in fashion, entrants this year will also be given a profile on Arts Thread promoting their work to an international audience of industry movers and shakers.”

Every year some 120 million hides are thrown away, ending up in landfill or being incinerated, releasing CO2 and other harmful emissions rather than being used to make clothing. The industry is focused on ensuring that the by-products of food and drink production are used, not wasted. Whilst the leather industry saves two million tonnes of waste from landfill every year, more needs to be done.

Funded by the Leather & Hide Council of America (L&HCA), RLSD encourages emerging talent to work with natural, sustainable, responsibly produced leather with judges asked to assess work on its fashion credentials, sustainability credentials and its durability. The judges wanted to see pieces that will not only last but will be loved for a lifetime. 

Steve Sothmann, President of L&HCA added: “We are delighted to support the third year of the Real Leather. Stay Different. International Student Design Competition and are pleased to see it fast gaining a reputation for being the pre-eminent competition for young designers. 

“Our mission is to cut waste.  As a by-product of the meat and dairy industries, we believe the fashion has a responsibility to make use of hides that currently go to landfill, reducing reliance on environmentally costly plastic, synthetics and pleathers and the industries that support them.”

The competition is now open for entries and closes on 30 June 2023. 

For more information on the competition, visit: rlsd.internationaldesigncomp.com

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