UK Student Design Competition Accessories Winner 2023: Emily Richardson

Accessories Winner: Emily Richardson

UK Student Design Competition Accessories Winner 2023: Emily Richardson

Emily, a first class honours graduate in BA Product and Industrial Design at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, is a materials focused designer who highlights opportunities with waste materials by placing sustainability at the forefront of her design process. She uses observation and curiosity to create work that excites the end user and that can form discussion.




Tell us about the inspiration behind your project:

Inspired by the environmental impact of fashion accessories and their components, Weave introduces a new way of designing without hardware, encouraging the user to add their own materials to create straps or fastenings from their own environments. The project aims to create a new type of fashion accessory that can be continually adapted to fit within the user’s shifting lifestyle. The bag is designed to be fully disassembled and redesigned into a new shape due to the loose weave of the piece which is stitched in only two repeating points of the bag. Its adaptable structure increases the durability of the product and allows the bag to fulfil many functions throughout its cycle, making it a versatile and sustainable accessory option.

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

I have been very grateful for the opportunity that this competition has presented through sharing the exciting potential of leather offcuts. It has reinforced my ideas of working with waste and researching new material opportunities within fashion accessories.


What has been your experience in working with leather for this competition?

Working with leather offcuts has been a great opportunity to represent the versatility of the material and the exciting ways that unwanted parts can lead to a new project and outcome. By using waste material, the limited shapes that can be formed from the edges of the hide and the restrictions on the finishes available encourage an end result that is a reflection of a local environment and the materials available.


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

The versatility of leather opens up more opportunities when designing with a sustainable approach. If appropriately sourced and not used wastefully, the material can provide longevity and be repurposed. Weave aims to show the potential with using all parts of a hide by using offcuts, highlighting the qualities in the parts typically disposed.

Click here to learn more about the UK Design Competition.

Click here to learn more about leather and sustainability.