Announcing the judging panel for the 2024 RLSD Africa Talent Leather Design Showcase

2024 RLSD Africa Talent Leather Design Showcase judges announced!

Announcing the judging panel for the 2024 RLSD Africa Talent Leather Design Showcase

Real Leather. Stay Different., in partnership with the African Leather and Leather Products Institute (ALLPI) and the Leather & Hide Council of America (L&HCA), is excited to reveal the judging panel for the 2024 Africa Talent Leather Design Showcase.

Heading up the panel is Preston Viswamo, ALLPI’s Regional Design Studio Project Manager. With more than 25 years of experience working in the leather NGO and education sectors, Preston is an expert in leather value chains, cluster development, footwear design and vegetable leather tanning technology.

Michael Redwood brings the panel nearly 60 years of involvement in the leather industry. He studied Leather Science at Leeds University and has held senior roles as a technician and general manager in plants across the UK, Europe, Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Michael has been a Visiting Professor in Leather at Northampton University and a part-time Teaching Fellow in Marketing at Bath University. He is a leading volunteer spokesperson for Leather Naturally and a Trustee of the Leather Conservation Centre. His current work concentrates on the circular economy and the ESG agenda.

Ethical Fashion expert Jacqueline Shaw also brings her expertise to the judging panel. With 16 years of experience in the global fashion industry, Jacqueline is the founder of Africa Fashion Guide, a consultancy and information platform for African fashion. She is an author, public speaker, university lecturer, and African Fashion Business Consultant, recognised internationally for her work in ethical African fashion. Jacqueline’s mission is to educate, inform, and reshape perceptions of Africa’s fashion and textile industry, advocating for sustainable and responsible fashion practices.

Tezera Ketema, co-founder of and an award-winning leather footwear design and technology specialist, brings to the panel a focus on innovation and sustainability. Tezera’s company, Podo Pal, gained international acclaim for designing and manufacturing parade boots for the Canadian Winter Olympic and Paralympic teams in 2006.

Judy Maina, the founder and CEO of Siafu Leather, is renowned for her commitment to circular economy principles and sustainable fashion. Based in Nairobi, Kenya, Judy’s company exemplifies ethical and innovative leather production, ensuring that entries align with the values of sustainability and social responsibility.

This diverse and accomplished group of professionals represents the finest talent and expertise from Africa’s leather industry and beyond. The competition’s objective is to find and showcase the best of Africa’s creative talent while promoting sustainable designs crafted from leather and other natural materials, emphasising durability and minimal environmental impact.

The 2024 showcase is open to forward-thinking designers interested in contributing to the fight against fast fashion. Entrants are challenged to make original, innovative, and visually stunning designs made from at least 50% leather in one of three categories: Apparel, Accessories, and Footwear. The judging panel will select up to five submissions from each category.

Designers of each of the selected entries, as well as the People’s Choice Winner, will have their work—with designer credits and profile–included in a showcase exhibition and receive a certificate, three copies of the limited-edition Real Leather. Stay Different. coffee table book, a cash prize and a trophy. One representative, with the most commendable design, will be invited to Europe to attend the final judging event and selection of the International Design Competition’s overall winner. Accommodation and travel expenses will be covered by the organisers.

The competition is accepting design entries until June 14th. For more information, visit RLSD Africa Talent Leather Design Showcase 2024.