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Only Natural Home Competition

2024


Introducing Only Natural – a global design competition that dares to redefine the future of fashion and home – challenging students to create bespoke items from only natural fibres and materials with sustainability at their core.

Our planet is at a tipping point. From global warming to the desecration of our seas, from plastic pollution to fast fashion waste. The power is ours to act now. To switch back ON to nature, to respect and cherish, to work as one with the environment. It’s time to change our behaviour, to restore the balance, together. To put nature first, for the sake of our future. 

Only Natural challenges you to create an innovative and beautiful design in one of the two categories – furniture and interiors – made from only natural fibres and materials. Show our judges and spectators that there is another way – a way without unnecessary waste and with the planet’s future in mind.

The competition, run with our partners at Arts Thread, opens 15th February 2024, and closes on the 30th June 2024, midnight BST. Any entries submitted after that date will not be accepted.

THE BRIEF & DELIVERABLES

“You can find inspiration in everything. If you can’t, look again” – Paul Smith

The brief is simple: Design a truly bespoke home item that you would love to live with, that’s inspired by nature and made from only natural fibres and materials.

Categories: furniture, interiors.

Regardless of your passion or chosen category, whether your design draws inspiration from the beauty of nature surrounding you, addresses pressing issues like the decline of coral reefs, the light pollution in our skies, the vast amounts of fast fashion items discarded into landfills annually or whether you choose to design a sofa inspired by the veins of a leaf – Only Natural encourages entrants to take inspiration from nature, to ignite a passion for the future of our planet and to craft something unique using Only Natural fibres and materials.

Your design MUST include two or more natural materials from cotton to wool and wood to stone (other materials include but are not limited to bamboo, mohair, hemp, cork, etc.) We accept the use of nature derived products such as glass or metals, where the end result can be recycled and reused.

Your design must NOT include fur or exotic skins such as crocodile, alligator, python or other snakeskin, ostrich skin, plastic, synthetics such as polyester or lycra.

Your design CAN include a minimal use of non-natural materials to join natural materials together (e.g. glue, metal screws) or to enhance item’s functionality and durability (e.g. light bulb filaments, electrical cables, ink, paint, varnish, etc). But we encourage you to swap these for natural alternatives where possible for the ease of recycling.

Other design essentials:

  • Ethical sourcing: the use of animal fibres is allowed when sourced from animals not raised or killed for skin or fur. Use of animal waste, for example cow skins and hides is encouraged.
  • Sustainability: chosen materials should be sustainably sourced and processed. The resulting product should be designed to minimise waste and support recycling or reuse.
  • Commercial viability: your design should align with genuine consumer needs and be suitable for large-scale production and distribution.

 

The entry should include the following elements:

  1. A brief summary of your project provided in English. Inclusion of high-res imagery or sketches of your project (JPEG or PNG files) advised.
  2. Design documentation: a comprehensive document detailing the product’s design process, from inspiration boards to technical specifications (Please note: a prototype does not need to be physically made at this stage).
  3. Material breakdown: a detailed explanation of the fibres and materials used, their sourcing, and the rationale behind their selection.
  4. A short two-minute video (using a mobile device is accepted) to introduce you and your design. This is optional but encouraged.

 

Design students, Good luck and bring it ON!

JUDGING PROCESS

After creating your profile and uploading all relevant materials onto the Only Natural competition platform, your design will be judged by our panel of industry leading experts and a shortlist of finalists will be determined in each of the competitions (Fashion and Home).

Category winners will be notified by email by 15th August 2024. At this time winners will provide a digital prototype of their product and/or provide additional imagery and video footage of the item highlighting functionality for a live final later in the year, where the Overall winners from each category will be selected. Category winners will be asked to provide a physical prototype, if available, for the ‘IRL’ final exhibition.

There will also be a People’s Choice award, selected by public vote in July 2024.

All entrants are encouraged to upload a copy of their project to showcase their work on the official competition partner site artsthread.com.

PRIZE

Winners in each category will receive help towards the creation of a physical prototype, professionally manufactured, and will be promoted to the industry. Each winner will receive a coveted Only Natural winner’s trophy and framed certificate. Only Natural will provide exposure and promotion of all winners across all social channels. Additional prizes may be announced by the organiser at a later date.

THE JUDGES

Our expert panel of industry leading judges have been carefully selected based on their credentials and long-standing experience in the fashion, furniture, interiors, materials and sustainability spaces.

Alex Brownless

Alex Brownless is the CEO and Co-Founder of Arts Thread & Global Design Graduate Show who collaborate with Gucci and Google Arts & Culture.

Alex graduated in Fashion/Textiles in the early 1990’s and has a rather diverse career, designing for such companies as Banana Republic, Gap, M&S etc. He created the successful fashion rave label NASA, oversaw global partnerships and business development for WGSN, consulted for fashion manufacturers in Italy, China, India, Turkey & Puerto Rico supplying many retailers & brands worldwide. He also headed up the international fashion division at US based creative recruitment consultancy Aquent. Over the last two years he was consulting for Premiere Vision in Paris and Lineapelle in Milan, prior to this he consulted for Ascential owners of WGSN, Cannes Lions & Coloro.

Jens Laugesen

London-based Jens Laugesen is an award-winning Danish fashion designer who holds an MA in Womenswear Design from Central Saint Martins and a Masters in Fashion Management from Institut Francais de la Mode in Paris. He has won awards including the LVMH Prize at ANDAM Awards in Paris and was also the first London-based young designer to be scouted by Rex Kawabuko and stocked in Dover Street Market.

Much of Jens’ work has been inspired by his personal design philosophy named hybrid reconstruction, a style developed during his creative research at university. Evolving from a unisex-inspired urban collection embodying the deconstruction which defined the 90s, Jens’ signature designs then shifted to concept-led creations aligned with traditional, luxury artisanal craftsmanship.

As he quickly became recognised by industry leaders as an impressive creative and experienced fashion strategist, Jens took the step to launch his fashion consultancy business with JENS LAUGESEN DESIGN and KONsensX Advisory Collective. His multicultural background has shaped a personal design vision and an ability to develop cohesive concepts which seamlessly blend within the commercial framework and allow for the strategic execution of brand vision.

Grant Gibson

Grant Gibson is a renowned design, architecture and craft writer and podcaster based in the UK. His work has been featured in publications including The Observer, The Guardian, New Statesman, FRAME, Dwell and House & Garden. Grant’s career in magazines includes roles as editor at Blueprint, FX deputy editor, and executive editor of the RIBA Journal. More recently, he has been the editor of Crafts and a contributing editor of the Dutch architecture title MARK.

In 2019, Grant launched his critically acclaimed podcast Material Matters with Grant Gibson. In each episode he talks to a designer, maker, artist or architect about a material or technique with which they are intrinsically linked and discovers how it changed their lives and careers. Since its launch, the series has attracted more than 525,000 downloads globally, garnering media recommendations from publications including The Observer, Wallpaper and Dezeen, and winning the 2020 prize for Best Podcast at the Archiboo Awards.

In 2022, Material Matters was transformed into an annual design fair that takes place this year at Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf from 18-21 September. Writing in Dezeen, design critic Max Fraser said the show ‘dares to rattle the status quo by creating an optimistic forum for new material experimentations’.

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, the company has achieved this by focusing their collective expertise in communication and unusual materials.

Based out of their East London workshop / studio, EASTJR works with commercial, hospitality and residential clients across London. EASTJR has quickly earned a reputation for delivering inspired contemporary design with a dedication to waste-conscious and material-led craft.

From designing and furnishing private residences to boutique stores and fit-outs, such as for Aesop Borough Market, Arome Bakeries and Stacy Martin’s house, EASTJR’s projects have been seen in most major design and architecture publications. Their clients range from V&A and the RA to Soho House.

Their project for MONC eyewear won the top Surface Design award as well as winning Surface Design and Dezeen awards for sustainability.

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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.