Leather in Fashion: An Obvious Choice for the New Generation of Designers: Ana Del Rio Mullarkey

Leather in Fashion: An Obvious Choice for the New Generation of Designers: Ana Del Rio Mullarkey


In the ever-changing world of contemporary fashion, leather has always been a key material. While trends rapidly shift, the value of leather remains unchanged. It is celebrated for its strength, luxury, and most importantly, its alignment with sustainable design and slow fashion principles. That is why it is no surprise that all over the world more and more young fashion designers chose to work with leather.

This is the case for Ana Del Rio Mullarkey, a young Spanish/British designer, who recently won the Real Leather. Stay Different. International Student Design Competition 2023 in Milano and now runs her own leather fashion brand "ANA DEL RIO" with the aim of leading "a Leather Revolution".

Ana, could you share with us your reasons for choosing to work with leather?
“Initially, I was attracted to leather due to its sustainability profile. As a designer trying to work with more natural materials, this durable and biodegradable solution which also adheres to a circular economy model was perfect. Then, as soon as I started working with leather I felt an instant connection to this sumptuous material and decided to use it exclusively for all my designs”, says Ana.

Q: What do you enjoy most about working with this material?

“I love being able to explore and push the boundaries of what can be done with leather’s inherent properties such as its mouldability and malleability. This has led me to understand the endless possibilities which leather affords us and to understand that my future lies within fashion specialising in leathercraft”, - says Ana.

Talking about her recent award-winning “El Domingo” collection, inspired by her Spanish heritage, Ana explains: “El Domingo” is inspired by the quintessential Spanish Sunday traditions such as visiting the Sunday antique market which I enjoyed when growing up in Madrid. The leathercraft techniques as well as the garments’ silhouettes take references from traditional features such as the wall tiles inside classic Spanish bars or the elevated stonework surfaces on the facades of the historic buildings in my grandfather’s town.”

Learn more of Ana’s work

Leather's timeless nature is mirrored in humanity's own evolution and innovation. Even today, leather and its sustainable features keeps inspiring young designers worldwide who are not only striving to make a statement in the fashion world but are also committed to sustainable practices.
Their work with leather is a step towards a greener, carbon-neutral future, blending traditional craftsmanship with contemporary values. Thus, choosing to wear leather is not only historically justified, but also an environmentally responsible decision.

Ana: “My goal is to create contemporary, timeless leather garments and other pieces which defy fleeting trends and highlight leather’s sustainable attributes. In this world of overproduction and mass consumption I would love people to join me on my Leather Revolution and to embrace unique leather garments which can be loved and which last for many lifetimes”.