Announced the collapse of DMU’s leather school in 2020 due to Covid-19, it reopened this year with a renewed emphasis on environmental and technical advancement for students from a variety of arts and design fields.

It was sponsored by DMU partner The Leathersellers’ Company, a historic livery company dedicated to helping charity and education in the British leather sector, and it provided 20 final-year students with the opportunity to learn how to deal with leather techniques.

The first day was spent at the University of Northampton’s Institute for Creative Leather Technologies, where students visited a working subsidiary and a leather lab to learn about the material’s journey, properties, the variety of leather used across various application, and the limitations and legislation surrounding skin from rare species, and even the modern methods used to recreate those effects.

The majority of the week was spent on DMU’s campus, where learners honed a variety of leatherworking methods such as machine stitching, manual sewing, insertion zippers, producing pockets, creating straps, slacking and trimming, embossing, and laser etching.

Yusuf Osman, an award-winning designer and leather craftsman whose distinctive purse received renowned distinction from The Leathersellers’ Company this year, served as the leather school’s mentor.

Contour Fashion’s Ellie Jones, who won the £1,000 first place in this year’s Leathersellers’ Design Awards after impressing the judges with a hooded cowl neck playsuit and cropped jacket in suede, was one of the students who attended the workshop.

“Although discussions about leather can be contentious, I believe the experience has led me to think of the extent to which the leather sector has such a beneficial and sustainable influence on the world around us,” she said.

“Here experience provides these students the courage to incorporate leather into their respective disciplines and apply the technical skills they learned this week.” It serves as a solid foundation from something they can test the limits of leather invention for The Leathersellers’ Design Awards 2022.