We are delighted for the second year to host the International Real Leather. Stay Different. Student Design Competition 2023, 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 concerned about fast throwaway fashion and unsustainable materials? 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 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 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 cattle leather. They would also like to see how entrants approach creating garments that will not only last, but be loved, for a lifetime.

Keep an eye out for all shortlisted designs available to view on rlsd.internationaldesigncomp.com soon!


Each of the three category winners will receive a trophy, certificate and Coffee Table Book covering the competition and including their entry. The category winners will have their designs professionally made, and form part of a capsule collection showcasing the best international talent, and unveiled at a final event hosted in Europe in October 2023.



The Real Leather. Stay Different. International Student Design Competition 2022, in association with our friends at ArtsThread, has now closed. Chosen amongst almost 400 entries, this year’s International Overall Winner was decided by our panel of judges at the competition final in Soho, London.

Congratulations Gal Benjamin, a Fashion Design graduate of Shenkar College of Design in Israel, who modelled his winning design, ‘Alexithymia’.



“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.