Students' designs shine in Leathersellers competition

Intricate and sustainable leather creations by students at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) have been praised by one of the world’s oldest craft companies.

Students from the School of Fashion and Textiles drew on inspiration from sources as diverse as quantum mathematics, military aviation and Biblical stories to create designs for a competition judged by the Worshipful Company of Leathersellers.

Leather winner pic

Winner Rachel Revell with her collection of garments that combine fine knit and leather

Students on the shortlist were invited to present their work and explain the inspiration behind their designs at a special competition held at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).

“The standard of everything here is the best we have ever seen,” said Alistair Tusting, member of the court of the livery company, which dates back to the 14th century. “They have all brought different ideas and approaches and demonstrated the full potential of what leather can do.”

Fashion and Textiles student Rachel Revell’s work, which combined knitwear with leather to create structured garments, was judged the winner. She received a £1,000 bursary.

She said: “It’s amazing to win. It has been a great competition, everyone’s work is so different and there is just so much talent here.

“Working with leather is technically challenging and I am so proud of how my designs worked out. I was lucky to have experienced last year’s September Leather School (sponsored by the Leathersellers Company) which gave me a good insight into handling leather and tools. I was really intrigued by what happened when you mix really fine knitwear with leather and the different textures and weights.”

Mr Tusting said it was a difficult job to choose the winner. He said: “The combination of Rachel’s designs to bring knitting and the use of leather to create texture and structure that was really interesting and innovative, and really well executed. She had taken it so they were almost finished items you could see them being worn.”

First place went to Rachel, second prizes of £500 each went to Olivia Bodak (Contour Fashion) and Seanitta Jones (Fashion Design). Third place prizes of £200 each went to Charlie Jones (Textile Design), Maja Sharratt (Footwear Design) and Eva Clark (Contour Fashion). Highly commended were Leyla Kuman (Fashion Textiles) and Alice Dymond (Contour Fashion).

DMU’s fashion school focuses on technical expertise and provides bursaries to support students in learning traditional crafts. It has been a longtime partner and supporter of the Worshipful Company of Leathersellers and students from a variety of creative courses took part in this year’s competition including Contour Fashion, Footwear Design, Textile Design, Product Design and Fashion and Textiles.

Olivia Bodak, a Contour Fashion student, based her designs on the Fibonacci sequence devising geometric work which was 3D printed onto leather. “This competition has been really good fun and I have learned so much,” she said.

Bag leather pic

Gillian Proctor, Faculty Enterprise Lead, said: “We are very blessed with our associations with the Company, who are generous and enthusiastic supporters of leatherworking across he diversity of our course applications.

“Leather is a fabulous and directional material to work with, malleable and responsive and without the ongoing bursary support, some of our more disadvantaged students might have had to forgo this opportunity. Since leather is such a sustainable material this also underlines the university’s SDG’s. “We look forward to the launch of the Leather School in September and encouraging more students to engage with its potential. We would like to thank Tustings Ltd for their kind support in finding leather.”

Cowoy pic

Eva Clark, who was placed third in the competition


Posted on Friday 15th July 2022

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