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China Mainland Student Design Competition


We are delighted for the fourth year to host the China Mainland Real Leather. Stay Different. Student Design Competition 2024, a search for the best of China Mainlands new designers and for those who want to promote slow style and a more sustainable future for fashion both in China and around the world.

Are you ready to join the fight against fast fashion and for the planetTime is short…. According to Greenpeace synthetics – which are made from oil – now make up 60% of our clothing and the average item is worn just five times. These clothes are then discarded, resulting in huge dumps, notably in Ghana and Chile, that are visible from space. It’s time to challenge the fast fashion business model and all those who say no to nature by designing beautiful, durable clothes from natural fibres that people will want to wear longer, and that will last longer. 

In the meantime, leather, a natural by-product of the dairy and meat industries and our growing demand for food — from burgers to milkshakes, can be used to make items that last a lifetime and, when disposed of, biodegrade quickly. Leather is a perfect solution to one of fashion’s biggest problems, but each year almost half of the world’s cattle hides are just thrown away. 

To encourage thinking about our planet’s future and to combat this waste, our high-profile judges representing brands recognised around the world 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 cattle leather. They would also like to see how entrants approach creating garments that will not only last, but be loved, for a lifetime. 

The competition opens for registration March 1, 2024, and closes on June 10, 2024. Any entries submitted after that date will not be accepted.


You are asked to use leather as the inspiration for a single item, either clothing, shoes, or accessories. Entries must be at least 50% cattle hide leather and any other materials used must be natural or organic materials where possible. We do not accept the use of fur or exotic skins. Plastics must only be used where no natural alternatives are available. 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 the following elements:

  1. A brief summary of your project provided in Mandarin and English
  2.  Storyboards and design inspiration
  3.  Sketches, flats, technical specifications, and final design (the item does not need to be physically made at this stage)
  4. A short two-minute video to introduce you and your design. This is optional but encouraged, as it would make a great addition to your entry


Please give consideration to ease of recycling, reuse and disposal at the end of the product’s life, and also think about the practicalities of commercial production, as we are looking for designers who will start new brands, fashion movements or style trends. 

A shortlist of the best entries will be presented to the judges, and the finalists will be asked to create their designs for the final judging element. Leather will be provided.


Please note: All entries will automatically be entered into the Real Leather. Stay Different. International Student Design Competition, which will require the student to provide an English description for their entry.


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

The four winning designs will be sampled and produced in mainland China, one of which will be chosen as the overall winning design and will form part of a capsule collection showcasing the best international talent and unveiled at an event in October 2024. The category winners will have a chance to be interviewed and featured in a fashion magazine in mainland China.

The overall winner will be offered the opportunity to attend the International Student Design Competition final event to see their design on display [airfare and accommodation expenses will be covered by the organisers].


GUO Feifei / Independant Designer

Guo Feifei, an Independent Designer and graduate of Tsinghua University’s Academy of Arts & Design, is renowned for his expertise in fashion and accessories. In 2012, he founded GOFEFE, a renowned brand specializing in leather accessories. Collaborating with domestic fashion designers, GOFEFE has showcased co-branded products at prestigious events like China and New York Fashion Week. Guo is a Member of the Accessories Art Committee of the China Fashion Association (CFA) and serves as Chief Judge for bag design at esteemed competitions in China. With a background including key roles at notable fashion brands like K-ONE and MINND, Guo remains committed to craftsmanship and design excellence, shaping the fashion industry.


Li Shanglun / Designer

Li Shanglun, the designer of Extra One Studio, is a graduate of the Bagwear Design Major at the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology (BIFT). His journey in the fashion industry began in 2014 when he joined ZUCZUG as a designer for bag accessories. In 2017, Li Shanglun established Extra One Studio, ZUCZUG’s first independent accessory brand. With a foundation in bagwear design and a commitment to innovation, Li Shanglun continues to drive creativity and excellence in the fashion world.


Lin Xu / Fashion Figure

Lin Xu is a highly acclaimed figure in the fashion industry, known for her many achievements including nominations for prestigious awards and serving as a referee for esteemed competitions. She has won awards such as the “Best Creative Styling Award” at China Fashion Week and holds the position of Chairman of the Technical Committee of the China Designers Association. Lin Xu founded Xu Lin Studio in 1997, completing over a thousand pattern making works and collaborating with numerous designers. She also serves as a technical consultant for Fengfei Fashion Co., Ltd. and WEIWEI company, showcasing her broad influence and skill set within the industry. Prior to her current roles, Lin Xu served as the Technical Director of Xiamen Romantic Declaration Clothing Co., Ltd. from 2003 to 2015, contributing significantly to the company’s operations and success.


Working with our partners at Arts Thread to develop lifelong learning and career opportunities for students of fashion and design. Our partnership provides the opportunity to compete on a world stage, participate in industry led workshops, set up an outstanding portfolio and gain access to the resources that will kickstart careers in fashion and design.