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IoDF partners with ‘Real Leather. Stay Different.’ design competition

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Image: IoDF
The Institute of Digital Fashion (IoDF) is partnering with the ‘Real Leather. Stay Different.’ International student design competition and offering a free digital and sustainability workshop to empower future fashion creatives.

The slow fashion challenge, run by Leather and Hide Council of America in partnership with ArtsThread, was launched to encourage a new generation of design talent to reconsider their relationship with leather and other natural materials to create designs where longevity and minimal environmental impact is key.

As an official partner, IoDF’s IRL x URL academy will host a digital fashion workshop on June 15 for all fashion students globally. The workshop will offer students insight into the future of digital design, its sustainability benefits and how metaverse innovations can be implemented within their creative practices to further reduce waste, while also raising awareness of responsibly sourced leather as a natural material in the process.

Leanne Elliott Young, IoDF co-founder and chief executive, said in a statement: “Pushing technology as a solution to not just sell more clothes, but to disrupt the way the system concepts, produces, creates and educates is core to the work we deliver at IoDF.

“Teaching these 3D making skills are integral, our work is rooted deeply in creating an opportunity for further social discourse on fashions futures and supporting in democratising digital especially towards the talent of the future. Working with ‘Real Leather. Stay Different.’ on this project has brought to light the importance of education and making digital fashion more accessible.”

‘Real Leather. Stay Different.’ International student design competition teams up with the Institute of Digital Fashion

In addition, IoDF co-founders, Leanne Elliott Young and Cattytay will also be part of the judging panel of this year’s RLSD 2022 global final. They will join other industry experts including Christopher Koerber, managing director of Hugo Boss Ticino and Rosie Wollacott Phillips, Mulberry's sustainability manager, alongside fashion stylist Mike Adler, the 2021 winner, and FIT graduate, Emily Omesi and Sothmann.

The competition is open to students and graduates over 18 years old who are currently studying art and design or have graduated from art and design higher education within the last two years. To enter, participants need to use leather as the inspiration for a single item, either clothing, footwear or accessories, with leather forming at least 50 percent of the item, and where possible alongside other natural materials.

Shortlisted finalists will have their designs professional made to present to the judges at a live showcase final during London Fashion Week on September 15. As part of the prize package, IoDF will also create a digital asset of the apparel category winner’s work, to enable the design “to come to life through an innovative AR try-on that can be experienced digitally”.

Steve Sothmann, on behalf of Real Leather. Stay Different., added: “The competition's mission is to spark the interest of young designers to work with responsibly produced real leather which puts hides that otherwise go to landfill, to good use.

"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. Working with IoDF gives us the opportunity to empower the next generation with digital skills that reduce waste in the design process.”

The ‘Real Leather. Stay Different.’ International student design competition is open for entries until June 30.

Digital Fashion
Institute of Digital Fashion
Leather and Hide Council of America
Real Leather. Stay Different.