Only Natural Design Competitions


Switch ON to nature.

Here at Only Natural, we celebrate the sustainable and highlight a new way forward. A way that puts only natural fibres and materials – from the clothes we wear to the spaces we live in – at the heart of all we do.
Join us on the journey to a greener future, as we work to slow the fashion cycle and transform natural materials into sustainable items to be cherished for life.

If you are a design student, this is the place to showcase your talent by entering one of our international design competitions.

If you simply care about the sustainable, explore our dedicated news section to learn more about the beauty and versatility of natural materials.

Competitions

Home [2024]

The Home competition, with two categories – furniture and interiors – is for design students who have a passion for embellishing their living spaces with quality items. Using only natural fibres and materials, craft a home piece inspired by the beauty of nature.

Fashion [2024]

With three categories – apparel, accessories, and footwear – the Fashion competition encourages design students to create fashion items that will be loved and cherished for life. Create a statement piece using only natural fibres and materials and with planet’s future in mind.

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Judges

Edwin Ryder

Edwin Ryder is the founder of EASTJR Ltd. With nearly two decades of experience working in the construction and design industry, Edwin founded his business to bridge the gap between cutting-edge design and beautifully detailed joinery.

Alex Brownless

Alex Brownless is the CEO and Co-Founder of Arts Thread and Global Design Graduate Show. He has a diverse fashion consulting experience and has undertaken projects for companies including Banana Republic, Gap and M&S.

Ana Del Rio

Ana Del Rio is an award-winning British/Spanish fashion designer specialised in leathercraft. Intending to lead a leather revolution, through her brand ANA DEL RIO, she focuses on creating timeless contemporary leather garments.

Jens Laugesen

Jens Laugesen is an award-winning Danish fashion designer who has collaborated with a variety of high-profile clients, including Gucci and Calvin Klein. He currently runs a fashion consultancy business and LAUGESEN brand powered by Metaverse.

Nikita Jayasuriya

Nikita stands as a recognised creative leader with a strong fashion expertise. Most recently, he was Head of Europe at The Mills Fabrica – a platform dedicated to accelerating innovations for sustainability.

Grant Gibson

Grant Gibson is a renowned design, architecture and craft writer whose work has been featured in publications including The Guardian and FRAME. He is also well-known for his podcast and annual design fair, Material Matters, which focuses on material intelligence.

Materials

Softwood

Softwood comes from coniferous trees such as pine, fir, and spruce and is a crucial material in the construction and manufacturing industries. It is lightweight, easy to process, and cost-effective, making it the perfect material for joinery, structural and outdoor building projects.

Cotton

From cotton towels and crisp cotton sheets to blue jeans and shoelaces, cotton has become the most widely used natural fibre on the planet today. Cotton fibres are strong, easily dyed and are resistant to abrasion wear and high temperatures, making the material the perfect everyday textile.

Linen

Renowned for its timeless appeal and natural elegance, linen has captured the attention of prestigious designer labels such as Ralph Lauren, Burberry and Gucci. With its inherent durability, linen stands the tests of time and offers a natural alternative to fast fashion, embodying a perfect blend of sophistication, functionality and sustainability.

BAMBOO

Celebrated for both its sustainability and durability, bamboo is becoming an increasingly popular choice for environmentally conscious design. 
From earthquake-resistant construction and curved furniture pieces to handbag handles and organic toothbrushes, bamboo is one of the most versatile, and sustainable, natural materials on the planet.

Wool

Popular with the likes of designer brands Vivienne Westwood, Maison Margiela and Marni, wool has become the go-to fibre for stylish, functional and sustainable design.

Wool’s versatility extends from luxury fashion to high-performance activewear, accessories, homeware and everything in between.

Hemp

From COS shirts and Levis jeans, to BMW performance parts and hemp concrete (hempcrete), hemp offers huge opportunities in versatile and sustainable production. Hemp fibres made the sails and ropes of the ships that first explored the world and early drafts of the Declaration of Independence were even written on hemp paper.

Mohair

Mohair, often named the diamond fibre due to its inherently beautiful sheen, is a luxurious natural wool used to create products ranging from high end sweaters and winter accessories to upholstery and carpets.

Leather

Prada’s signature Saffiano bag, Michael Jackson’s red jacket, Gucci’s Marmont belt – leather has long been central to popular culture. Leather’s qualities set it apart from many other materials. It has exceptional durability, breathability, comfort and recyclability.

Hardwood

Hardwood is considered by many to be the ultimate versatile material. Available in countless combinations of species, specifications and colours, hardwood is both a multifunctional and beautiful natural material.

Latest news

Only Natural Student Design Competition extends deadline to June 30th, 2024

Following approaches from a number of design students, who are currently busy completing their degree projects, Only Natural has extended the submission deadline to 30th June 2024.

Only Natural gets featured in Wallpaper* magazine

On its mission to challenge the future of design and manufacture, Only Natural teamed up with Wallpaper* magazine to call out for sustainably minded talent.

Only Natural Student Design competition launches for the first time

Introducing Only Natural – an international design competition that dares to redefine the future of fashion and home – challenging students and recent graduates to take inspiration from nature and create bespoke designs using only natural materials.

About Only Natural

Only Natural is a global campaign funded by the Leather & Hide Council of America. It was launched to inspire people everywhere to preserve the world we all live in by switching to sustainable, natural alternatives and minimizing the waste. It challenges the fast fashion cycle and its effects, working to combat water pollution, air contamination, depletion of natural resources and never-ending textile landfills.

At Only Natural, we are championing nature and the resources it provides. We do NOT accept any competition entries using plastics, synthetics, furs or exotic skins.

We strive to promote sustainable design and durability. Any materials used within entry projects must be fully recyclable to ensure we break the current chain of production and waste.

Latest Articles

Put some cork in it!

Used by humankind for more than 5,000 years, Cork is waterproof, buoyant and fire resistant. In fact it is one of the most versatile natural materials you can find.

Creative Synergy: Famous duos that have changed the world of design

While many designers prefer to work independently, some turn to teamwork – and to great effect! They collaborate with artists and celebrities for limited-edition collections or partner with professionals from different creative subsets when designing complex pieces.

Hemp – the answer to everything?

Cultivated by humankind for more than 10,000 years, there are few plants that can be turned into as many types of material as hemp. The variety of purposes of hemp can serve is a gift to designers

Organic cotton. The sustainable choice

When it comes to natural materials, cotton is one of the most adaptable. It can be used to make thin, delicate items such as underwear, in thicker weaves it can be used for comfortable knitwear and if waxed it is ideal for weather resistant outerwear.

From Factory to Landfill – with Nothing In Between

Fashion organisations driven purely by profit are highly unlikely to recycle their clothes. It’s too hard and it’s too costly. And the clothes these companies create are not designed to be recycled – again, because it doesn’t maximise profits.

Our Commitment to the Circular Economy

The circular economy is a sustainable and innovative economic model that seeks to redefine the traditional linear ‘take, make, dispose’ model of production and consumption.

The price we pay for plastic

We all know about plastic pollution—the microplastics that are shed and the general waste caused. And we know how difficult it is to recycle a product that takes 500 years to biodegrade. But the harm plastics do starts even before they are made.

Natural born classics

Take some inspiration from furniture designs that have earned their places in the hearts of all true aesthetes by checking out our selection of classics.

Mohair – practical luxury

Durable, adaptable and luxurious, mohair is one of the most versatile fabrics available. And, of course, it’s completely natural.

Material Partners

American Softwoods

American Softwood has been exported from the United States for over 400 years and today America is recognised worldwide as a sustainable source of top-quality timber.

American Hardwood Export Council

The American Hardwood Export Council is the leading international trade association for the American hardwood industry. It represents companies and trade associations engaged in the export of a full range of U.S. hardwood products, including lumber, veneer, plywood, flooring, moulding and dimension materials.

National Industrial Hemp Council of America

The mission of the National Industrial Hemp Council of America is simple – to educate businesses and consumers on the benefits of hemp, creating the demand needed to drive markets and a well-regulated, standardised industry.

American Wool Council

The American Wool Council (AWC) is a division of the American Sheep Industry Association that works to improve the American wool industry and promote the usage of American wool.

Leather & Hide Council of America

L&HCA is the voice of the industry in the US, constantly working to advise and drive policy and to champion the interests of the sector.

Mohair Council of America

The Mohair Council of America is dedicated to researching, increasing profitability and perpetuating the sustainable production and use of Angora goats and their so-called ‘diamond fibre’, mohair.

Upload your entry now

Working with our partners at Arts Thread to develop lifelong learning and career opportunities for students of fashion and design. Our partnership provides the opportunity to compete on a world stage, participate in industry led workshops, set up an outstanding portfolio and gain access to the resources that will kickstart careers in fashion and design.