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Student Design Competition Concluded With Huge Success In Taiwan

The worldwide competition “Real Leather. Stay Different.” took place in Taiwan last September, and it was a great success.

The competition, organized by the Leather and Hide Council of America (LHCA) to celebrate all that is great about leather, attracted more than 300 entries from students at 15 participating universities in Taiwan.

“Real Leather. Stay Different.” is a campaign launched by the Leather and Hide Council of America (LHCA) that celebrates all that is great about leather – sustainability, versatility, durability and beauty. The most recent leg of its worldwide design competition attracted hundreds of Taiwanese entries, building on the success of similar competitions running in China, Italy and the United Kingdom. On Sep. 8, the competition in Taiwan concluded with a glorious awards ceremony in Taipei.

The competition, organized by LHCA in partnership with Taiwan International Leather Association (TILA), attracted more than 300 entries from students at 15 participating universities in Taiwan. Both the awards ceremony and product demonstration took place at Taipei 101, the 500-metre super-skyscraper in Taiwan.

More than 250 guests attended the ceremony, including representatives from the tanning and leather industry, fashion industry, local brands and retailers, media, Taiwan and US governments, as well as students and educators from participating schools. VIP guests included Elaine Liao, Editor-in-Chief of Harpers Bazaar; Richard Chen, CEO of Steve Madden Taiwan; Jen Yang, TILA founding Chairman; and Emily Scott, Director of the Agricultural Trade Office, American Institute Taiwan (AIT). The awards ceremony was complemented by a fashion show organized by participating students, featuring the products they had made from leather.

A prestigious judging panel led by Florence Lu, Chief Content Officer of Hearst Magazine Taiwan, determined the winners. Twenty-one student designs were selected for gold, silver and bronze places in each of the four categories: Garments, Footwear, Accessories and Life Craft. The following four were designated gold winners.

Accessories: Chi-Kit Yu, She-Te University, Gemini

Life craft:  Hsuan-Ting Huang & Tsung-Ying Hsieh, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Bloom Chair

Footwear: Kun-Lin Hsieh, Shih Chien University Kaohsiung Campus, Sculpture

Garment: Ong-Jia Ying, Shih Chien University Kaohsiung Campus, Drought

Je Yang, Founding Chairman of TILA, said at the award ceremony:

“After 50 years of hard work, Taiwan’s leather and footwear manufacturing industry has become the world’s top. However, the brand creation and design of leather products have always been dominated by European countries. I always fly to Milan and Paris for the latest leather designs. I hope that we can promote Taiwan’s leather design to the world through the “Real Leather. Stay Different.” student design competition and the efforts of local leather factories, brands, retailers and designers.”

Stephen Sothmann, President of Leather and Hide Council of America, who was not able to attend the awards ceremony in person due to travel restrictions related to the pandemic, added:

“I am strongly encouraged by the creativity and passion for leather the Taiwanese students demonstrated in our first-ever “Real Leather. Stay Different.” student design competition. We hope more students and young designers continue to use leather to promote its beauty, versatility and sustainability”.

Competition winners received cash awards and training opportunities sponsored by LHCA.

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