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China Mainland Student Design Competition


We are delighted for the third year to host the China Mainland Real Leather. Stay Different. Student Design Competition 2023, a search for the best of China Mainland’s new designers and for those who want to promote slow style and a more sustainable future for fashion.

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 clothes not only take hundreds of years to biodegrade but are often cheap and poorly made. The result — nearly one billion items of clothing, each typically worn just five times — are thrown away every year.

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 judges challenge 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, run with our partners at ArtsThread, opens February 20, 2023 and closes on May 30, 2023. 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 brings life to your project.

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 slow-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. The materials will be provided by China Leather Industry Association and the China leather industry.


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

The winning designs of the three categories will be sampled and produced in mainland China. The overall winner will be chosen from three categories, and it will form part of a capsule collection showcasing the best international talent and unveiled at an event hosted in Europe in October 2023. The category winners will have a chance to be interviewed and featured in a fashion magazine in China.


GUO Feifei

GUO graduated from the Department of Textile and Fashion Design of Academy of Arts & Design, Tsinghua University and is the Founder of GOFEFE, a leather accessories brand. He’s a member of the Accessories Art Committee of China Fashion Association and Chief judge for bag design in China International Fashion Accessories Design Competition, apparel and bag design of GLM Award China International Bags and Accessories Design Competition.

Before founding GOFEFE, he was the Design Director at K-ONE from 2010 to 2012, and MINND from 2008 to 2010.


LI Shanglun

The designer of extra one studio:Li Shanglun,graduated from Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology with a  Bagwear Design Major. In 2014, he worked as a designer of bag accessories at ZUCZUG. In 2017, extra one studio was established, and launched ZUCZUG’s first independent accessory brand: extra one.


Stephen Yuan

He graduated from Fu Dan university, and received his master degree from LSE in the UK before working for Alexander McQueen. He returned to work in Marketing and Retail for Louis Vuitton and Celine respectively. In 2013, he built his own lifestyle brand, La Mofiel, which has leading status in the industry.

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In association with Click to visit Arts Thread

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.