The 10 finalists of the highly-lauded International Woolmark Prize have recently been announced, each gearing up to present six looks featuring Australian merino wool to a panel of industry experts and creatives.
One overall winner will receive $200,000, and another designer will receive $100,000 for demonstrating outstanding innovation in production or manufacturing.
The winner’s and finalists’ collections will be available for commercialisation in September 2020 via the International Woolmark Prize retail network, which includes Mytheresa.com, Matchesfashion.com, Takashimaya, Lane Crawford and David Jones. Smart tags will showcase the journey of each product with mobile-optimised content.
The finalists are:
- A-COLD-WALL*, UK
- BLINDNESS, Korea
- BODE, US
- BOTTER, The Netherlands
- Feng Chen Wang, UK/China
- GmbH, Germany
- Ludovic de Saint Sernin, France
- Matthew Adams Dolan, US
- Namacheko, Sweden
- Richard Malone, Ireland/UK
Through the winner’s and finalists’ work, the collections will offer customers more environmentally-friendly choices when making buying decisions, Woolmark Company managing director Stuart McCullough said.
“We see traceability and supply chain integrity as a way to empower brands and customers to make better choices. By ensuring these emerging designers are equipped with the knowledge, support and access to the most advanced supply chain partners, the International Woolmark Prize continues to push the agenda for best practice,” he said.
The Prize has recently partnered with Provenance, a platform that enables businesses to gather and share key product information, journey and impact of products with customers. Another key partner is Common Objective, a global information and sourcing network that helps fashion professionals reach their sustainability goals.
As part of the program, the 10 finalists are taking part in a fast-track mentoring and education program through the Innovation Academy at Woolmark. The program connects finalists with trade and International Woolmark Prize partners to support sustainable principles, innovation and best practice.
“Topics include addressing environmental and social issues along with sustainable business growth with a series of exclusive webinars also hosted covering yarn and machine technologies, how to build supply chain integrity and road maps and how wool fits into the circular economy,” McCullough added.
In another win for the local wool industry, the Prize helps to generate long-term incremental demand for wool by connecting emerging designers, emerging markets and consumers with the fibre. It also helps to promote Australian wool and its technological attributes to the global fashion industry and build relationships with some of the world’s most prestigious retailers.
“Through talent development and incubation programs, we can build an alumnus of life-long wool advocates,” explained McCullough.
“It allows the wool industry to educate the future of fashion on the benefits and skills for working with wool. By instilling this knowledge at an early stage, we are securing future demand for the fibre within the luxury industry. International Woolmark Prize alumni become lifetime ambassadors for wool and continue to use the fibre throughout their careers.”