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Open design competition

The City of Lahti is organizing an open design competition focusing on the circular economy of textiles. The competition is open for entries from 25 May to 13 August 2023. The winner will be announced by 8 September 2023.

Lahti is known for its pioneering environmental work. Through the design competition the city wants to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in circular economy by searching for new applications for discarded textiles and recovered textile fiber.

Who can participate?

The competition is open to Finnish citizens and people residing in Finland. Participation is encouraged from both students and professional designers. Entries can be submitted by individuals, groups, and companies alike. Entries that have been previously showcased in similar competitions are not eligible. Each participant or group can submit only one proposal.

The aims of the competition

The goal of the competition is to explore innovative and feasible applications and commercial opportunities for discarded textiles and recycled textile fibers. Through this competition, Lahti aims to promote the circularity of textiles and highlight the potential of discarded textiles as a raw material for industry and design.

The competition is looking for impactful and innovative ideas or product concepts that make use of discarded textiles and recycled textile fiber in a significant way. At the same time, the competition will showcase the potential and the principles of circular economy.

Conditions and criteria

  • Competition entries need to make use of discarded textiles or textile fiber in a significant way.
  • Competition entries should adhere to the principles of circular economy throughout the entire lifecycle of the product.
  • Entries will be considered for their innovation, newness, and esthetic value, along with their feasibility and commercial potential.
  • The competition does not focus on a particular product category or industry; entries from different fields such as fashion, design and industrial design are welcomed.
  • Products already on the market and entries that have been previously showcased in similar competitions are not eligible.

Textile waste and circularity

  • Textile waste is made up of all textiles that can no longer be used, such as clothes and household textiles that are too worn out and torn and no longer fit for their purpose.
  • Recycled fibers can be used to make thread, nonwoven fabrics, insulation materials, acoustic panels, filter fabrics and composites.
  • Recycled textile fibers can vary in quality and properties based on the source fiber. This can affect the material’s durability, flexibility, color retention, and other technical qualities.
  • Compared to virgin fiber, recycled textile fiber can help minimize a product’s carbon footprint and environmental impact.
  • Recycled textile fibers can be used in the manufacturing of various products, such as clothes, accessories, acoustic panels, household textiles and carpets. The versatility of the fiber makes it possible to create different textile structures and surfaces for different uses.
  • In circular economy, product lifecycle assessment aims to ensure that in addition to its manufacturing, all stages before and after are included in calculating the environmental impact of the product. The design process should put focus on sustainability and durability, as well as recyclability, modularity and effective use of resources.


The winning entry will be awarded a 5000€ prize. The prize is considered taxable income.


29.5.2023     Competition materials are published, the design competition opens for entries.

21.6.2023      Deadline for questions concerning the competition. The competition secretaries will publish the questions and answers on the competition website.

13.8.2023      Deadline for entries at 23.59.

vko 35            The jury announces the top 5 entries.

vko 36            The winner is announced.

Guidelines for entries

Please carefully read the guidelines below

  • 2-3 conceptual images of the product. Images should demonstrate the qualities of the product clearly for the purposes of assessment. The entrant may choose the medium and style of the images to support the entry.

    A written description (max. 2xA4) about the contents of the entry, its composition, technical solutions, or other details that provide insight into the entry.

    The entrants can provide up to two images of the entry’s details, technical solutions or other details that provide insight into the entry.

    Details of the entry, including the entrant’s name, address, email address and phone number. If you’re entering as a group, all entrants should be listed by name, but it is enough to provide contact details for one person.

  • All entry materials should be identified to an entry through an entry title or a group name that can be connected to the entry’s contact details, but the entries should not contain any personal information. The entries are handled by the competition secretaries. The secretary will ensure that the personal details of the entrants are kept secret from the competition jury.

  • The competition jury consists of Professor of Practice Sami Sykkö (LUT), Lecturer in Wearable Design Minna Cheung (LAB), Lecturer in Furniture Design Harri Kalliomäki (LAB), Managing Director of Martta Association Marianne Heikkilä, and Environmental Coordinator Jenni Rahkonen (City of Lahti). The competition secretaries are Communications and Marketing Specialist Maria Ansas (City of Lahti) and Communications Manager Anu-Liisa Rönkä (City of Lahti).

    The jury will rank the five best entries based on the following criteria:

    • The esthetic quality of the entry
    • The principle of circular economy embodied in the entry
    • Feasibility
    • How the entry corresponds to the competitions conditions and criteria
  • For more information about the competition, contact the competition secretaries Maria Ansas and Anu-Liisa Rönkä at

    The deadline for questions is 21 June 2023. Questions and answers will be published on the competition website by 30 June 2023.

  • 1. Who can participate?
    In the competition’s assignment, the emphasis is more on the design field than on the technology-oriented design competition, sometimes they are intertwined in such a way that it is difficult or impossible to draw a line. We have not limited the proposals to product categories or industries, but we hope for participation in the competition from a wide range of fashion, design, and industrial design.

    Entries can be submitted by individuals, groups, and companies alike.

    2. Is there an average estimate of the share of different materials in textile waste? 
    The competition work must make use of scrap textiles or textile fibers centrally, without defining their proportions.

    3. Is it possible for me, as an international student residing in Finland and studying at a Finnish university, to participate in the competition?
    Yes it is.

    4. Furthermore, am I correct in understanding that I am expected to present a proposal (illustrations, explanations, etc.), but not required to create a physical prototype?
    We are looking for a proposal in the competition, not a physical prototype.

    5. Is it possible to send photos of the details of the work in addition to observational photos, for example, as a collage?
    You can deliver a photo collage.

    6.Is it possible to send a physical material sample as part of the competition performance in addition to the electronic material?
    We only accept digital material.

  • Competition entries are digital and should be delivered to

    Entries can be delivered via WeTransfer. Please enter the entrant’s name, address, email and phone number in the message field. Entries should be delivered by 23:59 on 13 August 2023. Late entries are not admitted to the competition.

  • The City of Lahti has the right to publish the top five entries and their creators. The city has the right to use competition entries along with the entry material for its own marketing purposes.