SDC International Design Competition 2019

Start Date: 04 October 2018 12:00am

End Date: 18 November 2019 12:00am

Type: Undergraduate fashion & textile design students


Theme for 2019: Colour and Nature

The International Design Competition is SDC’s annual flagship competition, engaging with hundreds of students, universities and designers globally. The competition helps the entrants develop their understanding of colour and the challenges around sustainability in the textile supply chain. The competition is free to enter and attracts hundreds of entries worldwide. The theme for 2019 is ‘colour and nature’.

SDC is delighted to announce that Archroma is our major sponsor for the 2019 competition. The links to The Color Atlas by Archroma® are key to both the competition theme and the accompanying educational package.

With a global textile supply chain, communication can stretch over different continents and languages so using the right tools is key. Selecting colors from the Color Atlas by Archroma® streamlines communication by having engineered colour standards and related technical information readily available to everyone in the supply chain.


Color Atlas

The Color Atlas by Archroma® was created to easily bring colour creativity and manageability to an entire new level for stylists and designers, brands and retailers, and their suppliers.

The Color Atlas by Archroma® is a system that includes: A “physical library” consisting of over 4,300 colours, in six volumes.  The new accordion-fold design of the library volumes is an innovative step away from traditional three-ring binders, for quick and intuitive browsing of the cotton poplin samples.
A mobile-friendly Color Atlas Online with exciting features such as “colour-on-the-go” which allows you to capture an image using your smart phone, and identify the closest Color Atlas shades.
Engineered Colour Standards connected to robust online technical databases via mobile communication technology..


Take a look at the downloads in the documents tab for the competition brief and step by step guidance on what to do next. Entry forms can be completed and submitted online.

For the 2019 competition we invite you to explore the theme of ‘colour and nature’.

“A painter should begin every canvas with a wash of black, because all things in nature are dark except where exposed by the light.” (Leonardo da Vinci)

Colour is fundamental to the way in which we see the world. Nature has some spectacular examples of colour, from insects to butterflies, birds to fish, plants to flowers. Colour is crucial in the animal kingdom, providing a range of signals. Animals use it to camouflage themselves from danger, to warn predators they are poisonous and to attract a mate.

Biomimicry creates solutions to challenges by emulating the ideas found in nature. Nature has huge potential to provide us with solutions for more sustainable fabrics and colours. What can we learn from nature and how can it inspire sustainability and innovation?

What does this mean for the designer? How do we see colour? Do we all see colour in the same way? Why do colours change according to light? What does this mean in terms of choice of colour and how this colour is communicated?

Questions you may like to consider include:

  •      Where does colour come from and how do we see it?
  •      How does light affect the colour we see?
  •      Natural versus synthetic – what is the impact of choosing a natural fibre versus a synthetic one?
  •      What are the implications of choosing a natural dye versus a synthetic one?
  •      Sustainability – what impact will your choice of colours, fibres and design have on the environment?
  •      What can we learn from biomimicry?
  •      What inspiration can we take from nature?

The theme can be interpreted widely and we look forward to seeing your entries.

The competition links to an educational package as part of SDC’s colour education pathway to help you develop your entry.

Competition Brief

The competition brief is available to download from the documents tab. Also available to download are quick summary documents of how to set up a free account on SDC’s Colour Network, and how to use the Color Atlas.


The winner of the heat in each country will be invited to attend the global grand final- location to be confirmed. The global winner will receive £1,000 cash and the prestigious Veronica Bell Trophy.

Who can enter?

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


Work should be mounted on a maximum of four boards of up to A2 size. One of your boards must show the colour palette, using colours from the Color Atlas.
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, a length of fabric or a sample garment.

How to Enter

Entry forms can be completed and submitted online or sent direct to the regional co-ordinator – country co-ordinators are listed below. All entries must be submitted by the relevant course tutor/ leader, not the student.

Some countries put a limit on the number of entries per university – please clarify this with your regional co-ordinator. One tutor should be identified as the contact per university and be responsible for pre-selecting the students and submitting an entry form.

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 2018: Official competition launch.  Tutors can submit entry forms at any time.

From Feb – September 2019: Regional heats take place and country finalists announced- dates of the regional heats will be announced as they are confirmed

November 2019: Grand Final takes place and global winner announced

United Kingdom Regional Heats

Five regional heats will be held in the UK between February and April 2019 – please see details in the Timetable tab above. The UK final will take place on 10th May 2019 in York – the winner will represent the UK at the Grand Final in November.


Judging Heats Outside The UK

Judging heats will take place in each participating country listed below and the winner selected will represent their country at the Grand Final in November.

For information about judging heats please contact the relevant country co-ordinator .

For general enquiries, please email: 

For country-specific enquiries, please email your regional contact from the contact details listed below:

Australia/NZ: Henry Orlinski:

Bangladesh: Afsana Ferdousi:

China: Shangshang Li:

Hong Kong: Chi-Wai Kan:

India: Vaishali Deokar,: 

Ireland: Paul Santokhi:

South Africa: Heidi Alcock:

Thailand: Wiwat Hirunpruk:

Pakistan: Dr Muhammad Mohsin:

Singapore: Dro Tan: 

Sri Lanka: Samangi Rodrigo:  

United Kingdom: Angela Ackroyd:

USA: Sean Cormier:


The timetable is as follows:

September 2018:

Official competition launch and brief available to download. Tutors can submit entry forms at any time.

From Feb 2019:

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 – the dates and venues of each regional heats will be publicised as soon as they are arranged.

United Kingdom Regional Heats

Five regional heats will take place in the UK between February and April 2019 – please see details below.  Institutions should submit the names and details of up to three entrants in advance via the online entry form. Entrants have until the day of the judging heat to work on their entries and will be invited to present their designs to the judging panel of industry professionals at the relevant regional heat. The winner of each UK regional heat will attend the UK final which will take place during our Day of Celebration on 10th May.

Midlands Region heat: 6th March 2019 @ Nottingham Trent University

London heat: Date and venue to be confirmed

West of England heat: Date and venue to be confirmed

Scotland heat: Date and venue to be confirmed

North of England heat: Date and venue to be confirmed


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 by the end of August 2019 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.

November 2019

The global winner will be selected and announced at the prestigious Grand Final at an exciting location to be confirmed.

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Competition Rules


Judging heats will be held in participating countries from February 2018.  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 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

Students from the following countries are eligible to enter the competition:

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

Age limit: Students must be 18 or over on 1 April 2019.

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 and referenced using the Color Atlas by Archroma –any entry without referencing will not be considered.
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 all artwork securely mounted.

ONE additional piece of work can be presented at the judging heat – this could be a length of fabric, a sketchbook, 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 short video on YouTube.


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/display 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.

Other terms and conditions apply to the competition and those attending the final. Please contact SDC if you have a specific query.

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