Ten designers named finalists for Woolmark Prize

November 12, 2019 - Australia

Ten designers have made it to the finals of the International Woolmark Prize. The finalists have been selected from among more than 300 applicants, representing 47 countries. The finalists represent diversity in the global fashion industry and show promise in their commitment to innovative practices. The global final will be held in February 2020.

The International Woolmark Prize celebrates outstanding fashion talents from around the globe who showcase the beauty and versatility of Merino wool. First held in 1953 as an initiative of the International Wool Secretariat, the award was won the following year by iconic fashion designers Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent.

Among the finalists is UK’s Samuel Ross who launched A-Cold-Wall in the fall of 2015. Having studied graphic design and illustration, Ross creates handcrafted graphic garments that have a stark urbanity.

“By working with Woolmark, we want to access a pre-existing network of sustainable, traceable supply chains that could help better drive A-Cold-Wall’s ambition to continually pursue sustainability across future collection development and production,” Ross said.

South Korea’s Shin Kyu Yong and Ji Sun Park, also among the finalists, have been selected for creating Blindness, known for its gender-less, bold silhouettes, dramatic layers and lavish embellishments of pearls and frills. Instead of shying away from heavily gendered design elements, Shin Kyu Yong and Ji Sun Park blend these elements to create collections that are playful and subversive.

US’ Bode, a luxury menswear brand that expresses a sentimentality for the past through the study of personal narrative and historical techniques, is another finalists. The brand began with a collection of one-of-a-kind garments composed entirely of antique textiles. Its founder, Emily Bode, was the first female designer to show at the New York Fashion Week Men’s and was a 2018 runner-up for the Vogue/CFDA Fashion Fund award.

The other finalists, the Netherlands’Rushemy Botter and Lisi Herrebrugh, the design team behind Botter, draw on their Caribbean roots to infuse their menswear label with sophisticated virility. Rushemy Botter’s masters collection, presented at Amsterdam Fashion Week, won numerous emerging talent awards. Joined by Lisi Herrebrugh, the label won the top design award at the Festival d’Hyères in 2018. The next year the designers were picked up by the Puig Group and appointed as co-creative directors of Nina Ricci women’s ready-to-wear line, showing their first collection for the French fashion house during the pre-fall 2019 season.

Other finalists are Feng Chen Wang, a Chinese-born menswear designer who graduated from the Royal College of Art, London in 2015, GmbH which was founded in Berlin by Serhat Isik and Benjamin A Huseby in 2016, France’s Ludovic de Saint Sernin, the Matthew Adams Dolan label from the US, Sweden’s Namacheko, founded by Dilan and Lezan Lurr, and Ireland’s Richard Malone who has an unwavering commitment to sustainability and is strongly against the concept of mass production, often releasing collections in strictly limited numbers.