In what has become one of the fashion industry’s most breakthrough events of the year, Woolmark is pleased to confirm that Sophie Theallet from the US, Christian Wijnants from Belgium, Ban Xiao Xiu from China, Dion Lee from Australia and Pankaj and Nidhi from India represent the line-up for the final round of the International Woolmark Prize to be held in London in February 2013.
The Woolmark Company have re-launched the International Woolmark Prize to help promote outstanding design talent from around the world, and through their innovative use of the fibre, inspire and educate consumers on the natural beauty of Merino wool.
Over seventy nominees were initially selected by various fashion industry nominating bodies across the globe vied for position as the finalist who will represent their region in the awards to be held in London in February 2013.
The awards were kicked off on the 9th July in the US where Sophie Theallet was selected as the winner by iconic industry figures: Steven Kolb; Narciso Rodriguez; Linda Fargo – Bergdorf Goodman; Sally Singer – Editor in Chief at T Magazine and Malcolm Carfrae – EVP of Global Communications at Calvin Klein. When asked what made Sophie stand out in the competition, Narciso Rodriguez answered, “Sophie’s unique vision, her skill and apparent craftsmanship.”
In Europe on the 12th July, Christian Wijnants was selected as the winner by iconic industry figures: Alber Elbaz – Artistic Director for Lanvin; Alexandra Schulman – Editor Vogue UK; Christiane Arp – Editor Vogue Germany; Dean & Dan Caten – DSQUARED2, Giles Deacon, and Tim Blanks – Editor at Large Style.com. Alber Elbaz said, “Christian’s work was right for the project, it was about knitwear, construction and technique”.
In China , also on the 12th July a judging panel formed by opinion leaders from the industry, Vogue China editor-in-chief Angelica Cheung, supermodel Du Juan, fashion designer Uma Wang, artist Xiang Jing and Ning Lau, representative of JOYCE as the exclusive retail partner of IWP in China, selected Ban Xiao Xue as the regional finalist. “Ban Xiau Xue won because of his innovative treatment of wool,” explained Ms Cheung.
In Australia on the 16th July, Dion Lee was recognised by a panel of experts including Edwina McCann, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Australia, Richard Nichol – Designer, Simon P Lock – Founder of Australian Fashion Week, Malcolm Carfrae – EVP of Global Communications at Calvin Klein and David Bush – General Manager Womenswear David Jones. “Dion is the ideal designer ambassador for Australia,” explained designer and judge, Richard Nichol. “I think he has a good chance of winning the overall international competition which would be a fantastic result for the perception of Australian fashion as a whole and inspiring for future generations of winners.”
On the 19th July, Pankaj and Nidhi were announced the finalists to represent India. The design duo were selected as the winner by iconic industry figures, Priya Tanna – Editor-in-Chief Vogue India, Pradeep Hirani – CMD, Kimaya, Simon Lock, Sunil Sethi – President Fashion Design Council of India. ” We are on top of the world, winning the International Woolmark Prize, India is like a dream come true,” explained the duo. “There are few such opportunities in the world of fashion that can catapult a designer to a global stage and we are proud to have been chosen.”
“This project not only highlights the amazing standard of design work and craftsmanship from all nominees, but it is a showcase of today’s extraordinary multi-channel platforms of communication with ‘on the scene’ reporting from the judging rooms through social media and live streaming of the announcements, uniting the global fashion community,” explained Stuart McCullough, CEO of Australian Wool Innovation.
The international winner will have his/her designs stocked by leading global retailers including Bergdorf Goodman in the USA, Harvey Nichols in the UK, 10 Corso Como in Italy, Joyce in China, Eickoff in Germany and David Jones in Australia.