Arts Thread

Real Leather. Stay Different. Nordics Competition

Real Leather. Stay Different. Nordics Competition

30th Jun 2022


OVERALL WINNER & APPAREL CATEGORY WINNER: Emilia Utbult from Beckmans College of Design, Sweden for Ruby GG228

ACCESSORY CATEGORY WINNER: Riikka Peltola from Aalto University, Finland for Leather Blossom

PEOPLE’S CHOICE CATEGORY WINNER: Maria Julia Echarte Pascual from VIA University College, Denmark for Sukeban


The Real Leather. Stay Different. Nordic Region Student Design Competizione 2022, in association with our friends at ArtsThread, has now closed.

We have curated a shortlist of original and innovative designs from the Nordic Region and it is now your chance to vote for your favourite design for the People’s Choice Award, whose winner will win a trophy, certificate and Coffee Table Book covering the competition and their winning entry.

Click to see the shortlist and click on the entries to open the porfolios of the potential winners!

Voting closes on the 25th of August.

Real Leather. Stay Different. Nordics Competition 2022

We are delighted to host, for the first time, the Real Leather. Stay Different Nordic Student Design Competition 2022, open to students & recent graduates in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden - a search for the best new designers and for those who want to promote slow style and a more sustainable future for fashion and part of a series of competitions taking place around the world.

Are you concerned about fast throwaway fashion and unsustainable materials? According to Greenpeace, synthetics - made using petrochemicals from the oil industry - now make up 60% of our clothing. These materials, which take hundreds of years to biodegrade, often lack quality and endurance, leading to nearly 1 billion items of clothing- that are typically just worn five times - being thrown away annually.

In the meantime leather, which is a natural bio produce of the dairy and meat industry, created by our growing demand for food – from burgers to milkshakes, lasts a lifetime and biodegrades quickly. But each year almost half of the world’s leather 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 leather. They would also like to see how entrants are approaching creating garments that will not only last, but be loved, for a lifetime.

DEADLINE TO APPLY: June 30 2022 23.59 CET


The Overall Winner, chosen from the three category winners by a panel of judges, will have their entry professionally made and it will form part of a capsule collection - showcasing the best talent from our competitions running in China, Taiwan, Italy and the UK Regions and those from the international competition - and unveiled at an event hosted in London in September 2022.

The overall winner will be invited to London at the organiser's expense to attend this event and the selection of the International Design Competition’s overall winner. Organisers reserve the right to host a digital event in the case of travel restrictions being in place.

Each of the three category winners and the People’s Choice winner will receive a trophy, certificate and Coffee Table Book covering the competition and including their entry.


You are asked to use leather as the inspiration for a single item, either clothing, footwear or accessories, using leather at least 50% of the item and where possible other natural materials. Furs and exotic skins are not permitted. 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 – Storyboards & Inspiration - minimum 2 pages

2 - Sketches, Flats, Technical Specs, and One Final Design Drawing (the item does not need to be physically made - the winner’s design will be professionally made.)

3 – Make a video! It’s optional, but we’d love to see one. A short two-minute video to introduce you and your design.

There are some practical considerations as we are looking for the designers who will start new brands, fashion movements or style trends.


  • Open to anyone studying art and design or has graduated from art and design higher education in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway or Sweden within the last two (2) years.
  • Entrants must be over 18 years old.
  • Entrants cannot be currently employed full-time within the creative sector. 



Already got an ARTS THREAD portfolio? To enter, simply log into your account, upload your design as a new project, return to this page and select your project into the Competition box above.

New to ARTS THREAD? To enter, register to create an ARTS THREAD account and go to your email and click on the activation link sent to your email Inbox. Then log into your account, upload your project, then return to this page and select your project into the Competition box above.



Complete our online Real Leather. Say Different. Nordics Competition 2022 Entry Form

Please ensure you have read the Terms & Conditions for the Real Leather. Say Different. Nordics Competition

ENTRY: Free to apply

DEADLINE TO APPLY: June 30 2022 23.59 CET

*All entries will automatically be entered into the Real Leather. Stay Different. International competition open to students and recent graduates around the world.


Helena Waker is CEO of Stockholm Fashion District & Association of Trade Partners Sweden – an international business network with strong roots in fashion and design. Its members include agents, distributors, designers, importers or suppliers. It has over 100 years of experience in national and international trade, establishing collaborations with business networks, organisations and government. Trade Partners Sweden is the founder and operator of Stockholm Fashion District.

Marja-Liisa Niinikoski is Managing Director of Finnish Textile & Fashion – an employers’ association with over 200 member companies in the textiles and apparel industry. It represents the Finnish textile, fashion and apparel industry employers when negotiating collective agreements. Since 2004 she has specialised in leading organisations providing expert services, firstly in regional development and international trade, then in investment before her current role.

Jens Laugesen is an award-winning Danish fashion designer, consultant and video artist who holds two master’s degrees in Fashion Management from Institut Français de La Mode in Paris and Central Saint Martins in London. With over 20 years of experience within the international fashion industry, Jens is an experienced creative thinker, famed for his hybrid design methodologies, based on a personal “hybrid reconstruction” philosophy that focused on what fashion would be after de-construction. Developed during his MA studies at Central Saint Martins, this translated into a credible urban collection epitomising ‘90s deconstruction”.

All winners will be notified by email by 15 July 2022.

There will also be a People’s Choice award, selected by public vote by the 15 July 2022.


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’. 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.