Congratulations to Louise De Groote, BA (Hons) Cordwainers Fashion Bags and Accessories: Product Design and Innovation, who won the 2014 Craft the Leather competition at Cuir à Paris last week!
Craft the Leather is a training project for talented young designers which aims to promote Tuscan Vegetable-Tanned Leather and to increase awareness of this traditional but also extremely versatile product among the new generation of fashion designers.
Louise was chosen as one of ten students from ten of the word’s most renowned art & design universities and institutes including LCF, to create an imaginative accessories collection using veg-tanned leather. The students together with their tutors spent a week in the Tuscan leather region learning first hand about the production of veg-tanned leather, visiting tanneries, technological labs and local artisan’s workshops. The challenge was set to create a mini-collection of three pieces where the unique characteristics of veg-tanned leather are the design inspiration, using forms and manufacturing techniques that would not be possible with different materials.
Louise was inspired to transform raw hide into a durable material, giving it a second life. The ‘Crafting Vegetal With Technology’ theme led her to create three pieces based on the life cycle of plants. Molded fern-like fronds entwined around the fingers to form filigree work gloves symbolise new growth. A laser cut physalis fruit influenced container with a hand-plaited stem suggests maturity and a dramatic skeletal leaf shoulder wrap portrays dryness and decay.
Louise’s beautiful collection of organic laser cut veg tan leather pieces won her the award, along with a scholarship of 2,500 euros to further her studies. Part of the marking criteria was based on the popular vote and visitors to the exhibition were asked to nominate their favourite collection. Louise got an overwhelming response with twice as many votes as the 2nd and 3rd favourite choices put together.