Announcing a global leather design competition

U.S. Hide, Skin and Leather Association (USHSLA) is excited to announce the first Global Leather Design Competition. Students from eligible university and design schools are eligible to compete.  Currently countries/regions that will participate are: China, Italy, Taiwan and the U.K.

Winners will receive an industry Certificate of Excellence, will be eligible to attend an award ceremony hosted by USHSLA at one of world’s major leather industry events; selected winners will receive training opportunities and be able to attend a USHSLA sponsored fashion show/product demonstration with winning products. The competition is a great opportunity to be recognised by the brands, leather industry, and fast-moving community of fashion and design.  See below for details.

The competition is organised by U.S. Hide, Skin and Leather Association (USHSLA) , in corporation with the China Leather Industry Association (CLIA), the Italian Tanners Association (UNIC), Leather UK and the Taiwan Leather Industry Association (TLIA) to promote the versatility, beauty and sustainability of leather.

USHSLA will report on the progress of the competition in selected or all participating countries on social media and web site.

Design Theme and Categories

The theme for the design competition is “Real Leather. Stay Different.” Contestants can blend the versatility of the leather with traditional and modern visions of design. We are looking for unique, astonishing and compelling designs that encourage the use of leather now and in the future and can set the global trends for style-conscious fashion consumers. New ways of leather use in traditional categories are strongly encouraged.

The design competition categories include apparels, bags, footwear and fashion accessories made principally of leather; leather can be used exclusively or in combination with other natural materials suggested by participants.  Specific categories of design include:

  • Apparel – Women, Men, Teen, Youth
  • Footwear – Boots, Casual shoes, Evening and dress shoes, Sandals and slippers, Sports shoes, Special purpose shoes
  • Accessory – Bags, Jewellery, Travel accessories, Apparel accessories (e.g., belts, hats, gloves), Other accessories

 Submission and Judging

USHSLA in-country counterparts: CLIA, Leather UK, TILA and UNIC, will coordinate the in-country competition.  The in-country association will select 4-5 designs in each category with a total of 12-15 products and make sample products at local producer or school facilities. The four organisations will then submit the sample products with the original design sketch package to USHSLA.  A judge committee organised by USHSLA will evaluate the products.  The original design sketch package should include:

  • Concept sketches
  • A technical drawing with clear specifications of materials, technique, and trimmings
  • An illustration of where inspiration comes from and why leather is used in the design; no more than 200 words
  • Contact information (name, college, email, phone and address)

Please note:

  • Design documents: All documents should be in PDF format
  • Sample products: one sample products is required for each selected design, 2-3 is preferred
  • Please follow the size of sample products:
    • Apparel: Adult woman: M, Adult Man: M, Teen: M, Youth: L
    • Footwear: Woman: 39, Man: 43
    • Glove: Woman: L, Man: L


Judging will take place at Lineapelle in July 2020 in New York by the USHSLA World Competition Judge Committee. The committee will be comprised of leather experts/designers from each country/region, US leather experts, US fashion experts and US celebrity designers.  Judging will be blind. The participant will be assessed on the ability to present a visually appealing style and an innovative concept.

Awards will be announced, and award ceremony will be held, at ACLE, September 2020 or Lineapelle, October 2020. All gold, silver and bronze winners will be invited to participate the award ceremony sponsored by USHSLA.  USHSLA and partner organizations will make multi-lingual press releases for general awards announcements on social media and major trade media in each participating country.

Gold and Silver winners will have the opportunity to attend a U.S.-based training sponsored by USHSLA tentatively scheduled in July 2021.

Award categories include Gold, Silver and Bronze with the benefits of each listed below.

  • Gold: 1 winner for each category, total of 3
    • Certificate of Leather Design Excellence
    • Designers will be invited to attend award ceremony at USHSLA expense
    • Designers will receive a 6-10 days training opportunity in the US sponsored by USHSLA
    • Products will be featured at leather fashion shows/ demonstrations sponsored by USHSLA
    • Designers will have the opportunity to attend a fashion shows/demonstration sponsored by USHSLA
  • Silver: 2 winners for each category, total of 6
    • Certificate of Leather Design Excellence
    • Designers will be invited to attend award ceremony at USHSLA expense
    • Designers will receive a 6-10 days training opportunity in the US sponsored by USHSLA
    • Products may be featured at USHSLA leather fashion shows/demonstrations
  • Bronze: 2 winners for each category, total of 6
    • Certificate of Leather Design Excellence
    • Designers will be invited to attend awarding ceremony at USHSLA expense
    • Products may be featured at leather fashion shows/demonstrations sponsored by USHSLA

All non-winners will receive a letter of recognition and leather souvenir from USHSLA.

Who can participate: Currently enrolled undergraduate and graduate students at eligible schools and design institutes.

Estimated Timeline

September -December 2019                In-country design competition

January -April 2020                              Each country selects 12-15 design pieces and converts them into products samples at local producer and/or school facilities

May-June 2020                                     Each country submits final products with original design packet to USHSLA

July 2020                                                Judging at Lineapelle, New York

September-Oct 2020                            Award ceremony at ACLE, China or Lineapelle, Italy

February/March 2021                          Fashion show/product demonstration

July 2021                                                Winners training in US, including attending Lineapelle, New York, 2021


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