In the last few years we have promoted wool as a wonder textile of the fashion industry. Particularly the merino wool we have found on our fashion trips to New Zealand and Australasia.
To celebrate the fabulous natural fibre, the International Woolmark Prize gives the opportunity for designers to show “versatility and modernity of wool”, the original concept of the design award from its inauguration in 1936 by the International Wool Secretariat.
Merino wool is an ancient and a precious luxury fibre that has been worn by mankind for 10,000 years. It’s unique fibres keeps you warm when it’s cold but cool when it’s hot – great for trans-seasonal dressing or quite simply, the UK Climate! Perfect to layer up as it is breathable, light and durable. Merino wool is incredibly fine, soft next-to-skin and versatile and you will find it in many products today. Some can even be washed on a normal 30 degree was rather than handwashed or “washed as wool”, which can make your life easier!
History of the International Woolmark Prize
Two unknown womenswear designers, back in 1954 made a name for themselves winning awards in two categories in the IWS Awards. You may have heard of them; Karl Lagerfeld (coat category) and Yves Saint Laurent (dress design). There is a lot of fashion history in these awards. As time ticked on and synthetic fibres were developed, the wool industry faced threat of extinction. So the then Chairman of the International Wool Secretariat (IWS), Sir William Vines, came up with the idea of a unique label that would be a guarantee of a product’s composition. And so the famous Woolmark was born, that you will see on many items of clothing and accessories today. The International Woolmark Prize launched in Paris in 2008, revived the longstanding IWS Awards and is a hotly contested competition these days.
The overall objective of the International Woolmark Prize is to promote the use of fine Merino wool by ready to wear designers globally. Specifically it is to identify the world’s leading emerging designers from five major regions (Europe, Australia, India, China and the USA) and highlight their interpretations of Merino wool within their collections.
The International Woolmark Prize 2013
The 2013 International Woolmark Prize winner will be announced and presented during London Fashion Week. The finalists, picked from a total of seventy applicants nominated by fashion industry figures in their respective regions are; Sophie Theallet from the US, Christian Wijnants from Europe (Belgium), Ban Xiao Xiu from China, Dion Lee from Australia, DRESSEDUNDRESSED from Japan and Pankaj and Nidhi from India. The winner will win $105,000 USD and placement of their collection in department stores across the globe including Bergdorf Goodman in the USA and Harvey Nichols in London.
There is the most amazing and influential International judging panel:
- Diane von Furstenberg
- Donatella Versace
- Franca Sozzani, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Italia
- Tim Blanks, Editor-at-Large Style.com
- Victoria Beckham
Good luck to all the entrants; we look forward to hearing the winner announced at London Fashion Week in a few weeks time.