The ‘Real Leather. Stay Different.’ international student design competition from the Leather and Hide Council of America is launching an African talent leather design showcase in 2023 in partnership with the African Leather and Leather Products Institute (ALLPI).
The African Talent Leather Design Showcase 2023 aims to educate the next generation of creatives while reshaping education around the production and use of sustainable leather across Africa.
The competition will promote sustainable leather and leather products production among small and medium-sized enterprises, alongside a workshop series exploring fashion, production and sustainability. The aim is to empower African designers of tomorrow on the benefits of leather, while helping to improve business efficiency and minimise negative environmental and social impacts.
The educational workshops will be hosted at ALLPI’s satellite design studios located in its ten member countries. They will be open to creatives studying or working at small and medium-sized enterprises and will showcase the future of leather design, its sustainability benefits and how innovations can be implemented within their creative practices to further reduce waste.
‘Real Leather. Stay Different.’ African Talent Leather Design Showcase 2023 launches
The talent showcase will be open to creatives studying or working in art and design via ALLPI’s design studios. Participants will be challenged to design a single piece of apparel, accessory, footwear, or furniture item using natural materials and 50 percent or more leather. No fur or exotic skins will be accepted, and plastic must only be used where no natural alternatives are available.
The contest aims to highlight pieces that “celebrate the beauty, versatility and sustainability of leather and champion slow style”.
Shortlisted finalists will create their design concept at one of ALLPI’s satellite design studios and present their work during a live final at the All Africa Leather Fair 2023 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Steve Sothmann, president for Leather and Hide Council of America, said in a statement: “The showcase’s mission is to spark the interest of African designers to work with responsibly produced real leather which puts hides that would otherwise go to waste, to good use. Real leather doesn’t just look good, it is better for the environment than its man-made alternatives and they make products so durable that each can last a lifetime – it's quintessentially ‘slow fashion’.
“Too many of our fashion choices end up in landfill, creating an unwanted legacy from today’s society that will damage the environment for centuries. Fast fashion means not only more consumption, but the increased use of fossil fuels and associated environmental impacts in the form of toxics and microfibers. Working with ALLPI gives us the opportunity to empower the next generation with skills that reduce waste in the design process.”
Gehbregziabher Ghebremedhin, programmes coordinator at the African Leather and Leather Products Institute, added: “The RLSD African Showcase ’23 extends our commitment to bring the highest ethics for business and the environment to leather production systems, supporting sustainable small and medium-sized enterprises and businesses while improving business practices and the environment.
“Not only will it become a platform to showcase beautiful leather and leather products, but it will also highlight that leather bags, clothes, footwear, and furniture, if maintained properly, can last indefinitely.”
This is the latest competition from the Leather and Hide Council of America, its ‘Real Leather. Stay Different.’ international student design competition focused on apparel, accessories and footwear, was set to have its 2022 grand final during London Fashion Week in September but was moved to November out of respect for the Queen’s death.