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Real Leather. Stay Different. opens entries for student design competition 2023

By Veerle Versteeg


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Image: Real Leather, Stay Different. 2022 overall winner and new judge Gal Benjamin (third person from the left) with 2022 judges. Courtesy of The Leather and Hide Council of America and ArtsThread.

The Leather and Hide Council of America (L&HCA) has announced the 2023 edition of its international student design competition.

Students in higher education from all over the world can apply for the competition, as well as international students who have graduated in the past year.

The aim of the competition, which the L&HCA hosts annually alongside Arts Thread, a digital platform that promotes emerging international talent, is to encourage young fashion talent to “work with natural, sustainable, responsibly produced leather,” the official press release reads.

This way hoping to "ensure that the by-products of the meat and dairy industry are used, not wasted.”

The finalists of the competition will present their designs to an international jury. Fashion designer Gal Benjamin, the winner of the student design competition 2022 will join the judging panel for the new edition.

Celebrity stylist Mike Adler is another new member of the jury this year.

Real Leather. Stay Different. student design competition 2023 opens applications

L&HCA will reward the winner in each of the three categories by paying for the trip to the final in October, which will take place on October 17 in Milan, Italy.

The council will also pay for the student who wins the ‘People’s Choice’ prize, or the public vote.

In addition, all of the finalists in the competition will see their designs come to life in a professionally made joint international capsule collection.

Applicants must submit their application to one of three categories: footwear, apparel or accessories.

Entries are open until June 30, 2023 at midnight GMT. Students must apply via the official website of the competition.

The global final of the international student design competition 2023 will take place on October 17 in Milan, Italy.

Steve Sothmann, President of L&HCA, commented on the launch of the 2023 competition in a release, saying: “Our mission is to cut waste.”

“As a by-product of the meat and dairy industries, we believe the fashion has a responsibility to make use of hides that currently go to landfill, reducing reliance on environmentally costly plastic, synthetics and pleathers and the industries that support them,” he concluded.

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