Arts Thread

International Student Design Competition 2024

International Student Design Competition 2024

30th Jun 2024

We are delighted for the fourth year to be partnering with 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 planet? Time 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 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. 



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 be commissioned to recreate their winning design, to form part of a capsule collection showcasing the best international talent, and unveiled at a final event hosted in October 2024. 

All three category winners and the People’s Choice award winner will be offered the opportunity to attend the final event [Travel and accommodation expenses will be covered by the organiser] where the overall winner will be chosen and announced.

Additional prizes may be announced by the organiser at a later date.


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. There will also be a People’s Choice award, selected by public vote by 31 July, 2024. All winners will be notified by email by 12 August, 2024.


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 .