Society of Dyers and Colourists International Design Competition

Publish Date: Sep 08, 2016

Society of Dyers and Colourists International Design Competition

‘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.

Further Official Information

Link to Original

Similar Opportunities



Opportunity Types


Eligible Countries




Hong Kong



New Zealand




South Africa

Sri Lanka


United Kingdom