Following last year’s inaugural RLSD competition, which received more than 400 entries from students representing 117 universities around the world, we are delighted to be back in our global search for top design talent – and to support slow fashion and sustainability.

According to Greenpeace, synthetics – made using petrochemicals from the oil industry – now make up 60% of our clothing. These clothes not only take hundreds of years to biodegrade, but are often cheap and poorly made.  The result – nearly one billion items of clothing, each typically worn just five times – are thrown away every year. In the meantime leather, a natural bi-product of the dairy and meat industry and our growing demand for food, makes 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 leather hides are just thrown away.  To encourage thinking about our planet’s 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 leather. They would also like to see how entrants approach creating garments that will not only last, but be loved, for a lifetime.

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The 2020/2021 RLSD Fashion Show in Shanghai, China

2021 International Winner Emily Omesi's design featured on the cover of Rollacoaster AW21 issue

Italy's 2020/2021 Apparel Winning Design, by Brigida Aiello



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Calling all design students!

Through the International Student Design Competition, Real Leather. Stay Different. will engage with designers while also providing information on leather, its history, applications and sustainable credentials.

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“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.”




We will shortlist finalists in each category before the judges choose category winners and an overall winner who will see their design professionally made and promoted in a capsule collection, as well as taking home the trophy and featuring in the RLSD 2022 coffee table book. Additional prizes to be announced soon.

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.