Real Leather. Stay Different. International Student Design Competition reveals shortlist

Shortlist revealed

Real Leather. Stay Different. International Student Design Competition reveals shortlist

Real Leather. Stay Different. International Student Design Competition reveals shortlist

After attracting more than 350 entries from nearly 40 countries, and some 58 nationalities, the international competition closed on 28 April 2021

It gathered entries of a very high calibre with entrants representing more than 100 HE schools and universities across the world as it set out to look at the role leather has to play in delivering a sustainable future for fashion that is embedded in slow style rather than fast fashion

Launched earlier this year in partnership with Rollacoaster Magazine and ArtsThread, the competition was run by Real Leather. Stay Different. on behalf of the Leather & Hide Council of America. It invited students to design an item of visually stunning apparel, accessory or footwear, using 50% or more leather.

Entries were made digitally to help ensure access around the globe with the help of mood boards, sketches, technical specs, videos and more, and came from countries including Argentina, Australia, Denmark, Estonia, France, Iran, Jordan, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, the US, the UK and Vietnam, and many more.  The range of entries was of exceptional calibre and made selecting the shortlist incredibly difficult.

Among the entries, 227 were for apparel and there were 135 in the accessory and footwear categories. From using moulded leather to pattern cutting, carving and stitching, the entries shortlisted demonstrated outstanding talent, innovative craftmanship and bold designs. All entries use leather as their main material, and the designs emphasise its numerous properties as a natural, organic, durable and ultimately bio-degradable by-product of the meat and dairy industry.

Steve Sothmann, Chairman of the judging panel & President of L&HCA, said: “These trailblazing young designers showed craft and imagination in the way they used leather, reinterpreting traditional uses in an exciting way, and based on current trends. Leather is not only a well-established material in the world of fashion, but it is also a stylish and fun material to use, as demonstrated by this artistic new generation of design talents.

By showcasing their products, we hope to inspire a whole new generation of designers to think and act more sustainably.”

The shortlist will be assessed  by a panel of industry experts made of Katie Greenyer, Creative Director for the Pentland Group, Mike Adler, Fashion Stylist and Milan Miladinov, Art Director at Rollacoaster magazine. The winner will be invited to travel to London (COVID-19 safety measures apply) to attend the cover shoot and see their winning design featured on the cover of Rollacoaster Magazine and will be interviewed for a competition feature also promoted in sister magazine, Wonderland.

The shortlist includes entries from 11 countries split between the three categories: apparel (23), footwear (2) and accessory (5):


Alice Morgan for ‘Fragments’

Amanda Trom for ‘We Are Here’

Anna Melegh for ‘The Bug Designer’

Chloe Twigg

Daiana-Gabriela Ion for ‘The Shape of Light’

Eliška Chromčáková for ‘Pera Spera Adastra’

Emily Omesi for ‘Bacterial Genetics’

Emma Münstermann for ‘Leather Goes Upcycling’

Gaëlle Da Costa for ‘Leather Veston Conjunction 1.0’

Georgia Hallsworth for ‘A Work of Art’

Iga Kampa for ‘Fawda’

Isabella Diorio for ‘Kay Lynn Tote’

Jonathan Ferris for ‘Guntastölzl’

Kaiqi Wang for ‘Bang Bang Pow Pow’

Katie Griffith Morgan for ‘Through the Lens’

Lam Bui for ‘Missed and Remembered’

Lisa Van Wersch for ‘She Asks’

Lucy Growdon for ‘Observe’

Meghan Beattie for ‘Deep Sea’

Naima Touray for ‘Tropical Cowboys’

Natalia Chiro Tarrab for ‘Roots – Merging Times’

Natalija Siukstiene for ‘Traditions & Innovations’

Nathalie Hauser for ‘Gestalt’

Nicolas Rademacher for ‘Viper Dress’

Ruvarashe Claudia Torto

Sara Carney for ‘Til Death Do Us Apart’

Teresita Marrero Escalona for ‘A Tu Gusto’

Thomas Castree for ‘The Urban Night’

Victoria Archer for ‘Throw Like a Girl’

Yang Shen for ‘Looming’


We thank everyone for their entries and invite you to come back soon to discover who the finalists are. The winner will be revealed at the end of June 2021.