Nov 17, 2020
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Finalists chosen for A$300k 2021 International Woolmark Prize, Naomi Campbell heads panel

Nov 17, 2020

Woolmark Group has announced six “of the world’s most promising emerging design talents” selected as finalists for its prestigious 2021 International Woolmark Prize.

2020 winner Richard Malone (centre-right) pictured with the winner of the Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation, Emily Adams Bode (centre-left) - Photo: The Woolmark Prize

Billed as “the world’s original and most prestigious fashion awards and talent development programme” the finalist chosen are Bethany Williams, UK; Casablanca, France; Kenneth Ize, Nigeria; Lecavalier, Canada; Matty Bovan, UK; and Thebe Magugu, South Africa.

They are the leading half-dozen chosen from more than 380 applicants from 55 countries, ranging from Australia to Nigeria, Peru to Denmark and England to the USA, “proving that talent has no cultural nor geographical boundaries”, Woolmark said.

“The six finalists showcased a commitment to upholding the prize’s pillars of product excellence, innovation, supply-chain transparency, sustainability and inclusivity”, it added.

The task? In 2021, the finalists will present a Merino wool collection “highlighting transparency throughout their supply chain” with NFC technology from partner Blue Bite and a Common Objective sustainability roadmap.

The 2021 theme ‘less is more’ will celebrate “slow and responsibly produced fashion and craftsmanship, the cornerstones of emerging designer businesses. Each Merino wool garment will tell a story and shine light on the supply chain".

The prizes? One finalist will be awarded the International Woolmark Prize, receiving A$200,000 to invest in the development of their business.

The Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation will be presented once again and can be awarded to the International Woolmark Prize winner or a finalist, with the winner receiving A$100,000.

This year will also see the introduction of the Woolmark Supply Chain Award, "celebrating outstanding contribution from a trade partner to drive awareness for wool supply chain innovation”.

All finalists will have the opportunity to be stocked in some of the world’s leading stores, via the International Woolmark Prize Retailer Network.

Woolmark also announced the upcoming award’s advisory council, headlined by model, activist and businesswoman Naomi Campbell. Further members of the advisory council include Farfetch's Holli Rogers, i-D's Carlos Nazario, Vogue Germany's Christiane Arp, stylist Gabriella Karefa-Johnson, InStyle's Laura Brown, Livia Firth, Manish Arora, and Sarah Mower, among others.

Campbell said: “Now more so than ever, in these incredibly challenging times for our industry, we must continue to support and nurture the emerging voices in fashion design. They are the future, and I look forward to seeing what creative and innovative work comes out of this year’s entries to push our industry's ongoing mission in diversity and sustainability”.

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