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Only Natural Student Design Competition

Introducing Only Natural: a brand-new education platform and international student design competition taking in fashion and home design.

Entrants are challenged to “think sustainable” and use only natural materials to design a truly bespoke piece, inspired by the beauty of nature.

Head to the website for entry details

Closing date for entries 31st May 2024

Only Natural is a brand-new education platform and international student design competition taking in fashion and home design. Funded by the Leather & Hide Council of America(L&HCA), and inpartnership with trade bodies representing wool, cotton, hemp, mohair and hardwood, amongst others, the initiative challenges design students to “think sustainable”and design a truly bespoke fashion or home design piece that’s inspired by the beauty of nature and uses only natural materials.

Composed of an educational platform and international competition, Only Natural encourages students to showcase their talent while inviting members of the public to explore a broad range of “natural” topics, all available at

Only Natural champions design for contemporary societal needs using natural materials and upholding principles of sustainabilityand ethical sourcing. In the age of environmental challenge, this initiative aims to slow down both the fashion and consumer cycles and offer sustainable alternatives to what is currently available in the market.

The initiative brings together, for the first time, a number of trade bodies who champion the planet’s natural resources. They include the American Wool Council, American Hardwood Export Council, International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC), National Industrial Hemp Council and Mohair Council of America. The aim is to inspire emerging designers and engagethe public to look to natural materials to find a way to live in harmony with nature.

Chad Robertson,Chair, Leather & Hide Council of America (L&HCA), said;

“Only Natural is a global movement that gives nature a voice. That asks that we putnatural, low impact, durable and recyclable materials-from hemp to wool, wood to cotton - at the heart of all we do. That we think slow, not fast and that we cherish items for life, not just love for a season.”

Alex Brownless, of Arts Thread, Only Natural’s Education Partner, commented;

“Natural materials were used for centuries by our ancestors for their superb qualities.Beautiful and versatile, these materials are vastly underused today as more and moreitems are produced using plastic despite the catastrophic environmental consequences. Synthetic fibres, such as polyester and nylon, make up about 60% ofclothing and 70 % of household textiles.“ "Arts Thread is delighted to be the education partner for Only Natural and to supportthe drive for students to enter this inspirational competition that has the potential to shape the material preferences they choose to use in their future careers. For the sake of our future, we need to go back to our origins. The power is ours to act now.”

The Only Natural competition is open to students in higher education or designers who have graduated in the past year. They can enter their designs in two competition events - Fashion (categories: footwear, apparel and accessories) and Home (categories: furniture, interiors). Submitted designs should be made using a minimum of two natural materials ranging from hemp to wool, wood to cotton. The use of fur, exotic skins, plastic and synthetics is not permitted.

Jens Laugensen, Designer and Creative Director of JENS LAUGESEN DESIGN and KONsensXAdvisory, who will sit on both the Fashion and Home category judging panels, added;

“For a designer, the ability to work with theirhands, to feel materials and their texture, is the very foundation of a good design practice and sustainable process. Design without craft simply becomes soulless and leads to a lack of real skills learning.Only Natural not only promotes the idea that designers should return to using natural fibres but, by association, fosters the encouragement to return to the craft of designand making by hand, alongside using the digital tools available. I look forward tocollaborating on this amazing project.”

Entrants will be judged by a panel of expert curators, including Charlotte Kingsnorth. There will also be a People’s Choice award, selected by public vote from shortlisted entriesdisplayed online. Prizes will include a coveted Only Natural winners trophy, a framed certificate, exposure and promotion across all Only Natural social channels. More details ofprizes and judges line up will be revealed throughout the duration of the competition’s entryphase.

The Only Natural competition is open for entries at:

Closing date for entries: 31st May 2024

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