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Woolmark Prize 2021: six finalists announced

By Huw Hughes

17 Nov 2020

The International Woolmark Prize, an award that celebrates fashion talents working with Merino wool, has announced the six finalists for its 2021 edition.

They are: Bethany Williams and Matty Bovan from the UK, Casablanca from France, Kenneth Ize from Nigeria, Lecavalier from Canada and Thebe Magugu from South Africa.

Each designer was selected for showcasing “a commitment to upholding the prize’s pillars of product excellence, innovation, supply-chain transparency, sustainability and inclusivity”.

They are now tasked with creating and presenting a Merino wool collection - under the theme “less is more” - which highlights transparency throughout the supply chain with NFC technology from partner Blue Bite and a Common Objective sustainability roadmap.

International Woolmark Prize finalists announced

One finalist will be awarded the International Woolmark Prize by a panel of industry experts and will receive 200,000 Australian dollars to invest in their business.

Another 100,000 Australian dollars will also be up for grabs for the winner of The Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation, a prize launched for the first time last year in honor of the late iconic fashion designer and International Woolmark Prize alumnus. The winner of the prize must demonstrate “outstanding creativity and innovation”.

This year will also see the introduction of the Woolmark Supply Chain Award, a new 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.

The finalists this year were narrowed down from more than 380 applicants from 55 countries by the awards’ advisory council, which includes members such as model and businesswoman Naomi Campbell, Browns CEO Holli Rogers and Eco Age founder Livia Firth.

“It is my pleasure to support the International Woolmark Prize. 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,” Campbell said in a statement.

“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.”

Photo credit: The International Woolmark Prize