Arts Thread

International Student Design Competition 2023

International Student Design Competition 2023

30th Jun 2023

Update! Meet the Category & Overall winner of the Real Leather. Stay Different. 2023 International Student Design Competition!

  • Meet Ana Del Rio Mullarkey, the Joint Overall & People’s Choice Award winner whose rich dual-cultural perspective informs her work in creating contemporary, timeless leather garments that defy fleeting trends and highlight leather's sustainable attributes.
  • Meet our apparel category and Joint Overall winner, Tamar Elbaz. Tamar is a 3rd-year Fashion Design student at Shenkar College of Design, Engineering and Art who works every day to innovate, grow and evolve as a fashion designer.‏
  • Meet Alida Xavier, our accessories category winner. Alida is a skilled leather artisan with a focus on sustainable production methods and a passion for optimising off-cuts generated throughout various manufacturing stages.
  • Meet our footwear category winner, Sara Veneziano.Influenced by her father, a shoemaker, Sara has a deep-rooted affinity for the craft and employs a hybrid drawing technique - hand sketching complemented by digital rendering via Procreate.

We are delighted for the third year to partner with 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.



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 . All three category winners and the People’s Choice award winner will win an all expenses-paid trip to attend the final event in Milan where the overall winner will be chosen and announced. Each of the three category winners will receive a trophy, certificate and coffee table book covering the competition and including their entry.


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 all these 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.


Applications are open to students currently studying at a higher education institution across the globe or who have graduated in the past year. Open to fashion, design or craftsmanship students.

Applicants must be 18 years old or older.


Create a profile and upload your entry now via the new competition platform , you can find a ‘how-to’ guide here

Please note: All entrants will automatically have a profile created on ArtsThread.

ENTRY: Free to apply



The Competition will be judged by a panel comprised of representatives chosen by Real Leather. Stay Different. The Panel will select the category winners and Overall Winner. All winners will be notified by email by 15 July 2023. There will also be a People’s Choice award, selected by public vote by the 30th July 2023.


Real Leather. Stay Different is a global campaign that last year reached some 750 million people around the globe. It makes the case for leather and other natural materials, and for making the best use of society’s waste, particularly the hides that are by-products of the dairy and meat industries, before looking to the petrochemical industries for manmade materials. Flexible and durable, leather is part of a more natural alternative to ‘fast fashion’.

For more background information on the competition and the Real Leather. Stay Different. campaign, visit and follow us on Instagram at @chooserealleather and on Facebook .