More Sustainable Leather Products 2022

Leather as an ancient material features characteristics and properties that in many cases relate to sustainability by default (e.g. durability, repairability and aesthetically pleasing ageing). At the same time, in contrast, increasing functional and aesthetic demands lead to problematic conditions regarding, for instance, the leather chemistry. This is even amplified by highly complex and non-transparent supply chains.

In many cases, the design of leather products foster these conditions. It may create unwanted incentives for manufacturers to use of harmful substances. Due to the use of less sustainable or appropriate materials and construction techniques, these products last only for a short while. They are difficult to be reused, repaired or even recycled and eventually end up in landfills.  

This is where you come into play! In a participatory process, we have created an open-access design-canvas and related design guidelines that comprise a range of aspects to help create more sustainable leather products. Now we are looking for creative minds (individuals or groups) to utilize these tools aiming for the most sustainable leather product.

Besides the opportunity to develop your product alongside our industry and academic experts, you will be offered a unique mentoring programme to enhance your skills in product design, leather, sustainable and business development.

For more information about the competition send a mail to!


All participants are asked to create a design concept for a leather product based on the „Leather Product Design Canvas for Sustainable Development“ by using the poster template provided.


Rules & Prerequisites for attending

Everybody interested or involved in designing and developing leather products can join the competition. This includes - but is not limited to - professional and early career designers, design agencies, students of design and related disciplines, leather brands and start-ups. The participant(s) or the participating team take full responsibility that they submit original creations only.

Criteria for Success

Submissions will be evaluated by a transdisciplinary jury of experts from industry and science based on the following criteria:


  • Consideration of Leather Product Design Canvas
  • Systemic perspective on sustainable development
  • Overall aesthetic and conceptual quality of design
  • Degree of innovation
  • Market opportunities
  • Feasibility

Final Task

Throughout the mentoring program, participants will elaborate their design concept for a leather product based on the "Design Guidelines for More Sustainable Products“ (provided during program).

All participants who pass the entry level will be selected for the mentoring programme and will be given the chance to participate in an in-depth teaching phase led by a transdisciplinary team of experts from industry and academia. The participants will able to gain (more) knowledge and skills in leather as a material and related topics such as sustainable development, taught by leading experts in this field.

The mentoring program will be held in three online sessions comprising a mix of input speeches, project clinics and personal consultations focusing on the final design task.

Topics and content of the mentoring program will be relevant both to early career and professional leather product designers.


Mentoring Dates

  • Session #1:     12.05.2022  |  10:00 am CET
  • Session #2:     09.06.2022  |  10:00 am CET
  • Session #3:     14.07.2022  |  10:00 am CET

1. Award and High Visibility

The winner will be granted the Sustainable Leather Product Award from Darmstadt UAS and will be featured in severl media outlets.


2. Possibility to Earn Royalties

The winner will get to pitch the final design to an industry partner and might be offered a royalty-based licence contract or create a new business collaboration.


3. Featured in the Guidelines‘ Appendix

All mentoring participants will get the chance to be featured in the guidelines‘ appendix with their concept and personal profile.


Intellectual Property

All participants will retain ownership of their design concepts at all stages. The winner(s) might sell this interlectual property to an industry partner. Participating parties grant the Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences the rights to exhibit, publish, publicize, collect and display submissions in the context of this competition as well as the design guidelines on TV, Internet, print or broadcasting media in any format, material, and virtual medium.

The data will be saved and processed [according to Article 6(1)(f) GDPR] for the purpose of planning, conducting and advertising the design competition and mentoring program. In addition, processing according to Article 6(1)(a) GDPR is possible with your consent for the purposes covered by this.

Any questions?

Contact the organiser Jonas Rehn-Groenendijk by mail:

How to Join

1. Create a design concept poster (using the poster template)

2. Fill-out the submission form

3. Send it all to