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Real Leather Stay Different International Student Design Competition 2022 now open!

The Real Leather. Stay Different. International Student Design Competition (RLSD), in partnership with ArtsThread, is now open to students and recent graduates from anywhere around the world. The annual competition showcases the next generation of global design talent and champions ‘slow fashion’ through use of long-lasting natural leather products. Entries will be accepted at https://www.artsthread.com/international-student-design-competition-2022.

RLSD 2022 encourages the use and role of leather in delivering a more sustainable future by asking the question “Fast Fashion or Slow Style?” as it searches for the next generation of design talent with a future-first, slow fashion message. Entrants will be challenged to design a single piece of apparel, accessory or footwear using where possible natural materials and 50% or more leather.

The competition is run by Real Leather. Stay Different. on behalf of the Leather & Hide Council of America [L&HCA]. US Leather accounts for more than 37% of all hides exported globally each year. As such, L&HCA recognises its role and responsibility in promoting leather to a broad audience and in working with the industry around the world to ensure best practice and a sustainable future. 

Shortlisted finalists will be invited to join an all-expenses paid live showcase final hosted in London in September 2022, where they will present their design concept to a judging panel of fashion pioneers and future industry experts including Emily Omesi, the winner of the inaugural 2021 competition. 

Emily, a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, won the 2021 competition with her provocative leather jacket design entitled ‘Bacterial Genetics’. As the global winner Emily had her design professionally made and featured on the cover of famed fashion magazine, Rollacoaster. She now works at Oscar de la Renta.  Full details of the 2022 judging panel and competition prizes will be revealed in due course.

Steve Sothmann, President of L&HCA, commented:

“The competition’s mission is to spark the interest of young designers to work with natural, sustainable, responsibly produced real leather – a by-product of the meat and dairy industries – which puts hides that otherwise go to landfill, to good use. 120 million hides are thrown away every year.  In their place the fashion industry uses plastic, synthetics and fake pleathers. The result is more demand for oil, more low-cost disposable clothing, more waste, more landfill, more micro-fibres in our waters and more carbon dioxide in our atmosphere.” 

Alex Brownless, Co-Founder & President of ArtsThread, added:

“We are delighted to, once again, be supporting this competition. Not only is it a wonderful opportunity for students to showcase their talent but it also highlights the critical need to reject fast fashion and replace this with slow style.”

For more information on the competition, please visit: www.chooserealleather.com/international-competition/.


Real Leather. Stay Different. is a global campaign that has reached some 750 million people and hundreds of thousands of students. 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 the by-products of the dairy and meat industries, before looking to the petrochemical industries for manmade materials. Flexible and durable, leather is the natural alternative to fast fashion.  

Real Leather. Stay Different. has been running regional competitions in Italy, China, the UK and Taiwan since the end of 2019 and this year will see the inclusion of the Nordic region. It has attracted more than 1,000 design submissions in categories spanning Garments, Footwear, Accessories and Design. The International Student Design Competition will run alongside the national programmes in 2022.www.chooserealleather.com is a place for inspiration, information and creativity with contributors ranging from craftspeople to designers, stylists, and photographers to retailers talking about leather and debating the future of fashion and sustainability. 


ARTS THREAD is the leading digital platform for emerging artists and designers, a launchpad for the next generation of creative talent representing approximately 350,000 students in 130 countries from over 950 universities/design schools. It bridges the gap between education and the creative industry. For the first time ever, design students, graduates, universities, schools, and the creative industry can network worldwide.

Master Leather Carving from North America and Japan: Design and Cultural Influences

The Brinton Museum in Big Horn, Wyoming, presents Master Leather Carving From North America and Japan: Design and Cultural Influences, on exhibit in the Forrest E. Mars, Jr. Building’s Jacomien Mars Reception Gallery, beginning May 12. This cross-cultural, outstanding exhibition includes the best of the best leather artisans in the field from North America and Japan. The geneses of this show started several years ago as the vision of artist and master leather worker James F. Jackson from Sheridan (WY). Jim is a recipient of the prestigious 2019 National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship Award, 2019 Wyoming Governor’s Arts Award and the Al Stohlman Achievement in Leather Craft Award. Jim envisioned an exhibit showcasing exceptionally talented craftsmen in the leather trade from distinctly different cultures. Included in The Brinton Museum’s exhibition are superbly carved leather wall panels and a wide diversity of 3-dimensional works which highlight traditional carving and the cross-cultural influences of Sheridan Style carving on Japanese leather artisans. Also included is a wide diversity of Japanese contemporary work representative of intricately composed designs. Exhibit pieces by award-winning saddle makers and leather workers from North America represent a longstanding tradition of elegantly tooled saddles and other tooled artwork related to the still-alive-today vibrant cowboy culture of the American West.

An illustrated catalog with an introductory essay by James F. Jackson will be published in both English and Japanese to accompany this event. Master Leather Carving from America and Japan is made possible through the kind generosity of charitable sponsors from America and Japan.

Master artisans included in The Brinton Museum’s leather show are listed below:


Taka Otsuka, Seiichi Koyashiki, Akiko Okada, Michiko Matsuda, Koichiro Oyama, Atsushi Kubota, Takahiro Kubo, Kazuki Fujita, Ryuichi Kimura, Naomi Saito, Mayumi Konno, Takeshi Yonezawa, Takeshi Katsumura, Chi Honghao and Lefty Mikuni

North America

Chuck Stormes, Wayne Hape, Gordon Andrus, Bill King, Keith Seidel, Rick Bean, Bob Park, Cary Schwarz, Barry King and Jim Jackson

Master Leather Carving from America and Japan continues through September 5.

About The Brinton Museum

Founded in 1960, The Brinton Museum is a fine arts institution devoted to preserving the art and history of the West. Located on the historic Quarter Circle Ă Ranch in the foothills of the majestic Bighorn Mountains, it features 19th, 20th and 21st century American and Indian Art in a historic Western setting.

General admission for 2022 is FREE, made possible by a generous donation from First Interstate Bank. The Brinton is a participating member of the North American Reciprocal (NARM) Association which offers its members free admission during regular museum hours to other participating NARM institutions.

Hours: Thursday through Monday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. through May. Open Daily, Memorial Day to Labor Day.