SDC International Design Competition 2017

Start Date: 25 July 2016 12:00am

End Date: 22 November 2017 12:00am

Type: Undergraduate fashion/textile design students


(image from the 2015 Grand Final, held in London)

This competition is now closed.

Our 2018 competiton ‘Colour Communication’ is now open!

Regional heats have taken place across the world and the finalists from the participating countries listed below travelled to Colombo for the Grand Final on 22nd November where the winner was selected by an international panel of industry professionals.

Congratulations to UK finalist Rosie Moorman, a Textiles Innovation & Design student of Loughborough University who was selected as the global winner 2017 and to runners up Li Shan of Xiamen Academy of Arts and Design, Fuzhou University China and Mikayla Hammond of Massey University New Zealand.

Theme for 2017: Design for a Circular Economy

‘The circular economy is an alternative system in which products and materials are kept in a high-value state of use for as long as possible’

First launched in 2002, the SDC International Design Competition is our annual flagship competition, open to students in 14 countries. The competition is free to enter and attracts hundreds of entries worldwide; previous winners have gone on to major success in the fashion and textile industry.

Competition Brief

To explore and demonstrate the creative, imaginative, technical and original use of colour in either fashion or textiles suitable for a circular economy.                                                                      

All entries should show evidence of the following:

  • colour as an integral component of the design process
  • development of the designs, from concept to final product within a circular economy
  • analysis of alternative ideas and justification of choices made about the materials used in the design
  • investigation of the application and fastness of colour during production and throughout the lifetime of the product
  • innovative and scientific approach to incorporating this year’s theme of “design for a circular economy” within the original design and final submission

The judges will assign marks in each of these categories. In most instances, the students will be invited to bring their entries and a finished article or garment to the regional heats. They will meet the judges and have the opportunity to present their work. Where this is not possible alternative arrangements will be made.


The winner of the heat in each country will be invited to attend the global grand final. The global winner will receive £1,000 cash and the prestigious Veronica Bell Trophy. The winner and finalists also benefit from significant international profile and press.

Who can enter?

Open to fashion and textile design undergraduates in: Australia, Bangladesh, China, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Thailand and the United Kingdom.

Theme: ‘Design for a Circular Economy’

This year’s theme of “Design for a Circular Economy” must be included in the design and written statement.

Today’s linear ‘take, make, dispose’ economic model relies on large quantities of cheap, easily accessible materials and energy and is a model that is reaching its physical limits. A circular economy is an attractive and viable alternative with huge benefits for the environment.

Design of a closed loop product requires innovative thinking and working methods. Areas important for economically successful circular design include:

  • Careful material selection
  • Designed-to-last products
  • End of life separation or reuse of products and materials
  • Design-for-manufacturing criteria that take into account possible useful applications of by-products and wastes.

As this design brief focuses on colour and its use in the design process, critical analysis and justification of resources used and investigated will be expected to be demonstrated. This includes the dyes, chemicals, materials and processes used to commercially produce the product within a circular economy. Thought should be given to the impact of each phase on the next, including the types of dyes used and the care of the product during its lifetime. Showing alternative routes and why decisions were made will enhance your submission.

There’s a world of opportunity to re-think and re-design the way we make stuff. Through a change in perspective we can re-design the way our economy works.

The aim of this brief

You should create a design which places a clear emphasis on the technical aspects of the materials and processes used, with colour and sustainability remaining at the core.

You will need to consider the following:

  • Product type
  • Customer group
  • Yarns, colours, fabrics
  • Manufacturing techniques
  • Sustainability
  • Marketing
  • Price
  • Commerciality

Always Consider

What is your final product?  Will it be used to dress the body or to furnish the home?

  • Think about colour, texture, pattern, weight and handle.
  • Consider the context in which it will appear and why it is ultimately a good piece of design in terms of industry’s commercial value and sustainability.
  • Where will it be sold?

And remember: colour is key!

Supporting information, materials and resources will be available over the next few months to help students to develop their entries.


  • work should be mounted on a maximum of four boards of up to A2 size (please do not include any additional artwork/portfolio).
  • a typewritten statement on one A4 sheet – no more than 500 words!
  • you are encouraged to bring one extra piece of work to the judging heat, this could be a finished article or a sample garment.

How to Enter

  • Download an entry form, or contact your regional co-ordinator. All entries must be endorsed by the relevant course tutor/ leader.
  • Some countries put a limit on the number of entries per university – please clarify this with your regional contact. One tutor should be identified as the contact per university and be responsible for pre-selecting the students and submitting an entry form.
  • Entry forms can be submitted by email to SDC or direct to the regional contact.
  • Please don’t post your design boards. In most instances, students will be invited to the regional heat to present their entries in person.


September 2016: Official competition launch.  Tutors can submit entry forms at any time.

From Feb 2017: Regional heats take place and country finalists announced

November 2017: Grand Final takes place in Sri Lanka and global winner announced

United Kingdom Regional Heats – This competition is now closed to UK applicants:

Five regional heats took place in the UK between February and April this year; the winner of each UK regional heat attended the UK final in York on 19th May during our Day of Celebration.

Congratulations to the winner, Rosie Moorman from Loughborough University who was selected to represent the UK at the global Grand Final in November. Details of overseas heats and finalists will be added once they have been announced.

Judging Heats Outside The UK

Judging heats have taken place in some participating countries; congratulations to the winners listed below who have been selected to represent their country at the next stage of the competition, the Grand Final in November 2017.

Bangladesh: Anower Hossain Sawon – BGMEA Institute of Fashion and Technology

China: Li Shan – Xiamen Academy of Arts and Design, Fuzhou University

Ireland: Eleanore Curley – Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology

Portugal: Bernardo Resende – University of Minho

South Africa: Diana Zitha – Nelson Mandela University of Technology

Thailand: Pacharoj Changwan- Bangkok University

UK: Rosie Moorman- Loughborough University

The dates of judging heats still to be held are shown below where known, more dates will be added when announced.  If you have any questions, please contact the relevant country co-ordinator (contact details are available in the list below).

Australia/New Zealand:  Date to be confirmed

Hong Kong: Date to be confirmed

India: Judging Heat – Winner will be announced  on 16th September

Pakistan: Date to be confirmed

Singapore: Closing date 4th September – Winner will be announced on 18th September

Sri Lanka: Closing date for entries – 16th October

Any queries?

For general enquiries, please email:

For country-specific enquiries, please email your regional contact – see below:

Australia/NZ: Henry Orlinski:

Bangladesh: Afsana Ferdousi:

China: Zhiming Zhang:

Hong Kong: Chi-Wai Kan:

India: Vaishali Deokar,:

Ireland: Paul Santokhi:

South Africa: Heidi Alcock:

Thailand: Wiwat Hirunpruk:

United Kingdom: Angela Ackroyd:

Pakistan: M Fawad Noori:

Singapore: Dro Tan:

Portugal: Joana Cunha:

Sri Lanka: Angela Ackroyd:


The timetable is as follows:

July 2016:

Brief available on the website.

September 2016:

Official competition launch. Tutors can submit entry forms at any time.

From Feb 2017:

Regional heats take place and country finalists announced.  Some countries, such as the UK hold a number of regional heats, others just have one judging heat. The dates of heats vary across participating countries.

United Kingdom Regional Heats- This competition is now closed to UK applicants

Five regional heats took place in the UK between February and April this year; the winner of each UK regional heat shown below attended the UK final in York on 19th May during our annual Day of Celebration.

North of England: Amy Wain, Leeds College of Art
Midlands: Rosie Moorman, Loughborough University
West of England: Becky Knott, Falmouth University
London: Beth Town, University for the Creative Arts, Farnham
Scotland: Eilidh Ferguson, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art
Congratulations to the winner, Rosie Moorman from Loughborough University who was selected to represent the UK at the global Grand Final in November. Details of overseas heats and finalists will be added once they have been announced.


Judging Heats Outside The UK

Judging heats in other participating countries are usually held between May and September each year.  Finalists may require a visa to travel to the Grand Final so regional heats should by held before 10th September 2017 to allow sufficient time for visas to be secured if necessary.

Regional competition co-odinators work with college and university contacts/tutors in their country to raise awareness of the competition and arrange the judging heat/s.  For information about the judging heat in a specific country, please contact the relevant country co-ordinator (contact details available in the ‘overview’ tab).

November 2017:

The prestigious Grand Final takes place where the global winner will be selected and announced.


Competition Rules


Judging heats will be held in participating countries from February 2017.  One finalist from each participating country will be chosen and all the finalists will be invited to the grand final where the global winner will be selected. On announcement of each country’s winner, accommodation and flights to the Grand Final will be arranged by SDC or reimbursement made up to an agreed cost based on available flights at the time. Due to budget restrictions flights booked may not be direct. If a visa is required to travel to the grand final, this is the responsibility of the finalist and we strongly encourage finalists to apply for their visa in plenty of time.

Who can enter?

Undergraduate students in higher or further education following a recognised first degree or diploma course in fashion and/or textile design from the countries listed below.
Entries must be endorsed by the course leader and entry forms submitted by the college or university on behalf of the student/s to the regional contact. Individual entries will not be considered.

The participating countries are:

Australia, Bangladesh, China, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Thailand, United Kingdom

Age limit: Students must be 18 or over on 1 April 2017.

Basis of submission

The work can be based on a fashion or textile design project produced as part of the standard course curriculum or specifically for the competition.
Content can include finished roughs, design sheets, illustrations, working drawings, mood boards, photographs, fabric indicators, material swatches, etc. At least one board must outline the colour theme with the colour palette clearly indicated.
Each submission must be titled and supported by a typewritten statement in English (no more than one A4 page / ~500 words) explaining the background and inspiration for the work.
Boards (maximum of 4 ) should be A3 (297 x 420 mm) or A2 (420 x 594 mm) in size, with your artwork securely mounted.

ONE additional piece of work can be presented at the judging heat – this could be a length of fabric, a garment or finished article.

Only one entry may be submitted by each student.

Group entries will not be accepted.


Entries will be judged by respected professionals from the fashion and textile industry. Our judges are impartial and must not be contacted before the competition judging.  Failure to abide by the rules may result in disqualification.

To find out ‘what the judges are looking for’ take a look at our blog.


The work of the finalists will be on display during the heats and final. The winners will receive extensive publicity in the international press and in SDC’s own publications.

Intellectual property:

The intellectual property rights (patents, registered designs etc) in all designs submitted in the competition remain with the student. However, the SDC reserves the right to use the designs for exhibition purposes and to reproduce them in reports, on the website, in press releases and in any other publicity material.

Any queries?

For general queries, please email: For country-specific queries, please get in touch with the regional contact.

Site Directory