DFSD Global Challenge


Globalization has created an ever-growing effect on design in every corner of the world. As a  global design community we are still finding an equilibrium. The Design for Sustainable Development Foundation (DFSD) works with Rural artisan groups in Sri Lanka to increase livelihood through design. We strive to create a balance that makes local artisans part of a global community, but retains the core of their regional identity. This competition is looking for entrants who can engage in that same mission. Of course, our values necessitate the incorporation of the latest developments in technology, design, and social trends around the globe to make the work of associated artisans both relevant and contemporary.


DFSD Global Identity Challenge is open to graduate and undergraduate students who are currently pursuing Fashion, Craft, or Product design degrees in an accredited university program, as well as recent graduates (within the last four years) with a degree in related design fields. Students must provide proof of active enrollment status: a scanned copy of their student ID and current course schedule. Recent graduates must provide a scanned copy of their graduation certificate.


Participants in this competition are asked to submit designs for a single product range that shows a balance between local identity and global sensibility. Submitted designs must identify with a single, focused, region and display a knowledge of product marketability and contemporary technologies and trends. Submission can come in any form; garments, products, accessories, jewelry, etc.

The submission must consider Factors like sustainability, and the ability for a submitted product to be produced in a craft village (Low tech) environment. Participants should create a new concept that breaks ground in their product area.  


Use clear, concise language to convey ideas, key points, and design solutions. Photographs, diagrams, renderings, animations, collages or other visualizations are encouraged to help explain the concept, respecting the guidelines previously described. Please label drawings.


The design approach is innovative and inspiring. Both the concept and design solution are presented through unique and compelling graphics and other media.


The design considers environmental impact, supply chain, logistics, and energy use. The overall design strategy considers and responds to notions of social sustainability, artisan lifestyle, and well-being.


The manufacture organization is clear and appropriate. The design solution contains a defined and well-articulated structural, technical, and constructible rationale.


Full scholarship worth of USD 2500 to Sustainable Fashion and supply chain management programme.(2 weeks starting from the 15th of July 2019)


Competition Announcement                           15th March 2019

Design Submission Deadline                       1st of May 2019

Shortlist Announcement                               8th of May 2019

Winners Announcement                               15th of May 2019

Apply online - By the 1st of May 2019 (23:00 GMT)  


The official language of the competition is English and the official unit of measurement is the millimeter.

The design concept shall be submitted in PDF format and include:

  • Up to 8 pages in A3 format, landscape orientation
  • Each of the 8 pages must have a page number.
  • File must be named as follows: 2019 name_design concept title.pdf
  • The submission must have a design concept title, a 400-word description
  • Supporting diagrams, plans, sections and perspectives are encouraged
  • The digital file may be no larger than 100mb

Plagiarism and/or cheating will result in disqualification.


*The Academy of Design is offering a 2 week academic program designed to familiarize international graduate and post-graduate students  with the wealth of fashion industry related resources and history inherent in the current makeup of Sri Lanka. This program, spanning 2 weeks will work in conjunction with AOD’s affiliate **DFSD charity wing, and will focus dually on Sri Lanka’s large high-tech manufacturing industry and on direct work with the artisan villages and their long traditions of handmade textile production. We are seeking partnership with relevant international and governmental agencies to sponsor students from their home countries to participate in this unique opportunity.

 Candidate Profile:

Ideal candidates for this program would be enrolled in tertiary or beyond educational programs in textile, craft, fashion, sustainable design or supply chain management. They should be available to come to Sri Lanka for a two week intensive program that will include working directly with both factories and village groups, as well as lectures, seminars, and practical work. This program would enhance any related field of study by giving direct access to parts of the supply chain that are only theoretical in their home programs, as well as an opportunity to examine vertically integrates sustainable thinking to all of their current work.

 Methodology and Logistics:

Students would be flown from their home countries and housed in Colombo initially where they would receive orientation  and an initial seminar about Sri Lankan craft. This would be immediately followed by a the “Artisan Tour”, a week-long trip to remote parts of the island to work with traditional textile artisans in Batik, Handloom, Dumbara, and Beeralu lace, amongst others. After returning to colombo to spend a few days working with our DFSD craft specialists on incorporating the knowledge gained from working with the artisans, participants would leave on a manufacturing tour that would include a close-up look at bleeding edge manufacturing techniques with industry partners like Hirdaramani, MAS, and Brandix.  Finally, the course would conclude with practical sessions with industry professionals that would focus on applying the merger of traditional textiles and contemporary manufacturing.

 Support Costs:

Supporting international and governmental agencies are asked for a package support cost that covers all transport, airfare, logistical, and staffing costs of the program. A full 2 week program would run USD 2500 per student.

Appendix 1: Host Agencies

*The Academy of Design ( www.aod.lk) is Sri lanka’s premier institute for degree level design studies. In operation for fifteen years, AOD offers courses in Fashion, Animation, Visual Communication, Interior Design, and Fashion Marketing. Home to 400 Students, AOD is dedicated to being a leader in advancing the place of Sri Lankan design in the global design community.

**DFSD, The Design for Sustainable Development Foundation, is a non-profit founded in 2010 to advance rural livelihood in war affected areas through a connection between local craft skills and international design and marketing knowledge. Over the years we have worked with over 70 villages with a wide variety of crafts, connecting students, teachers, design professionals, and international organizations to the potential of Sri Lankan artisans. Read more about our current mission here: https://www.aod.lk/blogs/news/designed-and-made-in-sri-lanka-a-fresh-new-take-on-sri-lankan-craft-design