More than 130 academic institutions across 40 countries were represented as students competed for the categories of Apparel, Footwear, Accessories and People’s Choice.
The four finalists will compete head-to-head in a live final in London on September 15, 2022, in front of a judging panel of leading fashion industry experts.
The judging panel is comprised of:
● Christopher Koerber, Managing Director, HUGO BOSS
● Rosie Wollacott Phillips, Head of Sustainability, Mulberry
● Mike Adler, Style & Fashion Director
● Leanne Elliott Young and Cattytay, Co-Founders, Institute of Digital Fashion
● Emily Omesi, FIT NYC graduate and the 2021 International winner
The finalist for the Apparel category is Gal Benjamin from Shenkar College of Engineering, Design and Art, Israel, for Alexithymia (trousers). Benjamin is a 24-year-old designer currently based in Israel, who specialises in menswear atelier, pattern cutting, and gender-neutral/mixed FM fashion.
His designs are made using advanced pattern cutting and sewing techniques in leather, emphasising zero waste techniques as well as items designed with consideration and sewn fully from leather leftovers.
The finalist for the Footwear category is Anna Melegh from London College of Fashion, UAL, for Haute Couture Trash (shoes). Melegh is a footwear and accessories designer turning everyday objects inside out by using the methods of surrealism.
She has worked with leather, footwear and accessories for more than eight years now and has gained knowledge from various industry professionals. She has visited trade fairs such as Lineapelle, Premiere Vision, and built connections within the industry with companies in Brazil, India, UK, Italy, Netherlands, Iceland and Hungary. She is also the Overall Winner for the 2022 Real Leather. Stay Different UK National Competition.
The finalist for the Accessories category is Gianluca Ambrosini from SCAD Savannah in the U.S. for Pouch Shopping Bag (bag). Ambrosini is a Peruvian accessory designer with a B.F.A in Industrial Design at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), and is currently based in Georgia, getting an M.F.A in Accessory Design, specialising in handbags.
His approach to design is rooted in storytelling, creating interesting and tongue-in-cheek designs that start a conversation. Having worked at Coach as an apprentice for a year, he tries to strike a balance between innovation and commerciality, creating products that allow a wide range of customers to express themselves.
The finalist for the fourth category, the People’s Choice, is Lior Weinberg, also from Shenkar College of Engineering, Design and Art, Israel, for Paradox of Fashion (leather jacket). Weinberg is a 24-year-old third-year fashion design student at Shenkar College of engineering and design in Israel.
She specialises in apparel, womenswear, lingerie and swimwear. Her work examines dress codes and uniforms over the years, and the paradox that fashion creates in our need to imitate others but also distinguish ourselves from each other.
Rosie Wollacott Phillips, Head of Sustainability at Mulberry, said: “It was an unbelievably challenging task for everyone involved in the selection and judging process to identify the category winners, such was the quality, diversity and sheer volume of entries.
“But we did so independently with the People’s Choice vote ensuring broad consensus for our fourth finalist. I am deeply encouraged by what I have seen. Creativity is alive and well – and there is a real appetite in these young designers to explore how they can incorporate leather into their work.
“Leather is a beautiful and sustainable material when sourced properly. I’m delighted to be supporting tomorrow’s generation of design talent, who take sustainability seriously, to reconsider their relationship with leather and other natural materials in order to create stunning designs where longevity and minimal environmental impact is key. I am looking forward to meeting these designers in person for the global final that will decide the overall winner.”