The finalists of the sixth annual Danier Leather Design Challenge were announced Tuesday.
The competition is part of a mandatory third-year Ryerson fashion design course, in which students are expected to design and build a unique leather jacket. The top designer will win a cash prize of $5000 and will have his or her jacket sold in Danier stores.
“This is as much education as it is a competition,” says Robert Ott, a judge for the competition and chair of Ryerson’s School of Fashion. “It’s not just about exposing Danier to the designs of our students. It’s more so working with Danier to get all our students to learn how to work with leather.”
Ott says that learning to work with leather is much different than working with other fabrics and that makes the course a valuable learning experience. Leather is an unforgiving fabric with little room for error, and must be treated with a more meticulous hand than other materials. Students learn what the limitations of the fabric are and how to treat it, he explains.
“Our students at Ryerson are probably global experts in working with leather,” says Ott. “We produced a series of videos with Danier that shows students on how to work with leather. So that’s a unique resource that we have in the school only for our students.”
Although all students in the course are expected to design and build their jackets for academic purposes, only 10 finalists have the opportunity to present designs to a panel of judges. The panel of industry professionals are lending expertise too. Their professions range from bloggers and journalists to Danier’s director of marketing. The competition is exclusively for the Ryerson students enrolled in the course.
The top 10 finalists are: Haneen Abu-Hijleh, Clement Chan, Willis Chan, Dimitar Dangov, Mitchell Heyens, Lesley Kuk, Kelvin Lau, Kristian Nielsen, Mickelli Orbe and Joobo Shim.
Stay tuned for our feature on one of the finalists for an inside look at the life of a Ryerson fashion student.