We are delighted for the fourth year to host the International Real Leather. Stay Different. Student Design Competition 2024, a search for the best new designers around the globe and for those who want to promote slow style and a more sustainable future for fashion.

Are you ready to join the fight against fast fashion and for the planetTime is short…. according to Greenpeace synthetics – which are made from oil –  now make up 60% of our clothing and the average item is worn just five times. These clothes are then discarded, resulting in huge dumps, notably in Ghana and Chile, that are visible from space. It’s time to challenge the fast fashion business model and all those who say no to nature by designing beautiful, durable clothes from natural fibres that people will want to wear longer, and that will last longer.

In the meantime, leather, a natural by-product of the dairy and meat industries and our growing demand for food — from burgers to milkshakes, can be used to make items that last a lifetime and, when disposed of, biodegrade quickly. Leather is a perfect solution to one of fashion’s biggest problems, but each year almost half of the world’s cattle hides are just thrown away.

To encourage thinking about our planets future and to combat this waste, our judges are challenging you to create an original, innovative, and visually stunning design, in one of three categories of apparel, accessories or footwear made from real cattle leather. They would also like to see how entrants approach creating garments that will not only last, but be loved, for a lifetime.

The competition opens March 1, 2024, and closes on June 30, 2024, midnight BST. Any entries submitted after that date will not be accepted.


Visit rlsd.internationaldesigncomp.com to register now!

The brief and deliverables

You are asked to use leather as the inspiration for a single item, either clothing, shoes, or accessories. Entries must be at least 50% cattle hide leather and any other materials used must be natural or organic materials where possible. We do not accept the use of fur or exotic skins. Plastics must only be used where no natural alternatives are available. We would like your piece to capture one or more of the facets of leather, from beauty and versatility to strength and durability.


Entries should include the following elements:

1. A brief summary of your project provided in English.

2. Storyboards and design inspiration.

3. Sketches, flats, technical specifications, and final design (the item does not need to be physically made at this stage).

4. A short two-minute video to introduce you and your design. This is optional but encouraged, as it would make a great addition to your entry.


Please give consideration to ease of recycling, reuse and disposal at the end of the product’s life, and also think about the practicalities of commercial production, as we are looking for designers who will start new brands, fashion movements or style trends.









Designs must be made of at least 50% leather from cow hide.

Any other materials used must be natural or organic materials, for example wood or any natural fibres.

No fur or exotic skins. Our mission is to cut waste and utilise materials that would otherwise be sent to landfill.

Plastics must only be used where no natural alternatives are available.


Each of the three category winners will receive a trophy, certificate and Coffee Table Book covering the competition and including their entry. See all prizes at rlsd.internationaldesigncomp.com


Anna Melegh | Care and Repair Coordinator, Christian Louboutin

Anna Melegh is a footwear and accessories designer known for using the methods of surrealism to turn everyday objects inside out. 

Anna is currently working at luxury footwear brand Christian Louboutin as a Care and Repair Coordinator. With almost a decade of education focused on art and shoe design, her innovative approach has ensured her work has quickly gained recognition. This includes winning the Real Leather. Stay Different. International Footwear, UK Overall and UK Footwear categories in 2022.




Christopher Koerber | Managing Director, HUGO BOSS

Christopher has spent most of his professional life in the fashion industry, from senior executive roles at Tommy Hilfiger to the current Managing Director of Hugo Boss. 

He is known as a change agent, an innovative, big-picture thinker, a strong cross-functional collaborator, and a powerful motivator and mentor who raises the performance of diverse, global teams. 

His expertise encompasses operations, strategy, brand management, innovation, and consumer-centric products at all stages of the life cycle.




Mike Adler | Celebrity Stylist

Celebrity fashion stylist Mike Adler works between Los Angeles, London, Paris and NYC. His client base sees him creating style and wardrobe content for the world’s leading red carpet and Hollywood awards events. 

As well as campaign, editorial, luxury private consultancy and the Paris Haute Couture seasons, he has worked with the likes of Elizabeth Hurley, Alessandra Ambrosio, Pamela Anderson, Maisie Williams, Elle Macpherson, Kat Graham, Josh O’Connor, Emma Corrin, Emerald Fennell, Damian Hurley and more.




Adrien Yakimov Roberts | Fashion Education Consultant

Adrien has a considerable influence on global fashion education. Currently, the International Director of Education at Accademia Costume & Moda in Rome and Milan, Italy, he was also chair of GFWi and an International Trustee of the Graduate Fashion Foundation for 16 years. 

A Central Saint Martin’s alumni, he completed a Parsons New School (New York) exchange, secured a Masters at the Royal College of Art and a Postgraduate from the University of the Arts London. He was a Fashion Programme Leader at the University for the Creative Arts and Group Director of Education at Istituto Marangoni (Milan, London and Paris) before his current role.




Matteo Mastrotto | CEO, Rino Mastrotto

Matteo is the CEO of Rino Mastrotto, a company specialising in the production of high-quality leather, textiles and bespoke services for luxury sectors. Under his leadership, the company has seen significant growth and strategic companies acquisitions to diversify and enhance their product offerings.

Matteo emphasises the importance of sustainability and innovation, ensuring the company’s commitment to ethical practices and environmental stewardship. His approach integrates traditional craftsmanship with modern techniques, aiming to inspire and support clients in the luxury fashion, automotive and interior design industries​.



The Real Leather. Stay Different. International Student Design Competition 2023, in association with our friends at ArtsThread, has now closed. With thousands of entries from more than 100 higher-education institutions across 27 different countries, this year’s International Overall Joint Winners were decided by our panel of judges at the competition final in Milan, Italy.

Congratulations Tamar Elbaz, for her work WHIM, and Ana Del Rio Mullarkey for El Domingo.


Meet The Winners

Click the below images to find out more about this year’s finalists!


“More than 100 billion items of clothing, worn on average just seven times, are thrown away annually, taking 10s if not hundreds of years to biodegrade.”

Slow Style. Fast Fashion. Or both?

Almost half of the world’s leather hides, created by our ever-growing demand for fast-food – burgers and milkshakes, are just thrown away every year. Our student design competition puts some of this waste to use.

Learning Materials

Want to learn more about how using leather cuts waste, landfill and carbon? Or about its durability, versatility and timeless style? Download our educational materials.