Nordic Student Design Competition People’s Choice Winner 2023: Emese Fedor

People's Choice Winner: Emese Fedor

Nordic Student Design Competition People’s Choice Winner 2023: Emese Fedor

Emese Fedor grew up in Hungary and has spent years developing her love for design as well as her skills. She credits her fascination with arts and crafts for providing the foundation for the creative journey she is on.  Emese’s passion for painting led to seeking guidance from accomplished Hungarian artists, whilst an interest in fashion motivated her to engage in various design-related courses. In 2019, Emese enrolled in Design, Technology & Business studies at VIA University College in Denmark, with a specialization in Fashion Design. Over the years of study, she refined her skills through elective courses in knitwear, print and mixed media, draping, and numerous menswear and womenswear projects. It was during her bachelor project that she had her first hands-on experience with genuine leather. Along the way, internships in both Denmark and Hungary provided Emese with invaluable insights into the fashion industry. Currently, she continues her creative journey as a menswear design intern at Hugo Boss, specializing in tailoring.



Tell us about the inspiration behind your project:

Throughout this project, I wanted to celebrate one of leather’s most remarkable qualities: its durability. Leather garments are not mere clothing, they are companions throughout the decades, witnesses to the stories of numerous lives, holders of profound memories, and guardians of untold secrets. However, the true emotional core of my project lies in the memories I share with my beloved grandmother, ones that I have always kept dearly in my heart. As the years pass, my grandma’s recollection of these cherished moments slowly fades, but our bond remains unshaken. These precious memories, fragile yet enduring, shape our personalities and influence our choices in ways that are uniquely ours. Just as leather garments age gracefully, gaining character and depth with each passing year, so too do these memories become an integral part of our identity, enriching our souls with their timeless significance.

In my project, I aimed to connect the past and the present, the enduring nature of leather and the eternal value of memories. I wanted to honor the experiences and the pieces of our lives that, like leather garments, become more precious and beautiful as they withstand the test of time.



What do you think makes leather a great material to design with?

Besides leather’s durability, which I highlighted within my project, it is also a very all-rounded material. It is versatile as leather comes in various types, allowing it to be used in endless ways and makes it fit specific requirements. Leather being a material humans use for thousands of years, it is a very well researched natural material that can biodegrade. Over time it is aging gracefully and develops a unique character. Moreover, it can be easily customized with different treatments and techniques, allowing it to become even more unique.



What are your thoughts on leather and sustainability, and how you think leather can adapt to a fashion industry increasingly focused on sustainability?

I believe that leather, being a natural material at its core, inherently possesses sustainability qualities. However the approach it is sourced, needs to be adapted. As long as we live in a carnivorous society, leather if no other way, but at least available as a byproduct of the meat industry. Genuine leather, with its intrinsic durability and biodegradable nature, offers a long-lasting material option. By adopting alternative, eco-friendly approaches in the leather production process and prioritizing the reduction of chemical pollution, we can further enhance leather’s sustainability. Moreover, it is essential to address the ethical and environmental concerns associated with exotic leather production, and limit the farming of animals primarily and only for leather. This shift towards responsible sourcing is crucial.

To maximize sustainability, it is also important to utilize more parts of animals and ensure they are raised in ethical and eco-friendly conditions. Making leather upcycling and recycling more accessible options is another significant stride toward sustainable practices. Throughout the entire leather production cycle, from sourcing to the end product’s lifespan, sustainability should remain a central focus.


How do you think winning this competition will impact your career as a designer?

Winning this competition has the potential to significantly enhance my career as a designer in several key ways. Firstly, it can elevate my visibility within the design industry and beyond, potentially leading to increased recognition for my work. The media coverage can serve as a great platform to showcase my design expertise to a broader audience and open doors to valuable networking opportunities. Connecting with industry professionals, judges, and fellow competitors can shape my future in a positive way.

On a personal level, winning this competition serves as a powerful validation of my skills and creative abilities, and serves as a boost for future design projects. Lastly, my participation in this competition allows me to enrich my portfolio with a project centered around leather.


Click here to view all the shortlisted entries from this year’s Nordic Competition.

Click here to learn more about leather and sustainability.