The Woolmark Prize is returning to London Fashion Week this weekend for the 2019 grand final and Woolmark has confirmed that Alber Elbaz will be heading up the judging panel.
The international competition challenges designers to highlight the versatility of merino wool within their collections, and this year’s final features designers from the UK, Sweden, the US, Australia, Korea, Hong Kong, Japan and China.
Joining iconic designer Alber Elbaz on the judging panel is actress Gwendoline Christie, Tim Blanks, editor-at-large at Business of Fashion, Sinead Burke from British Vogue, editor-in-chief of InStyle Laura Brown, David Fischer the founder of Highsnobiety, 032c fashion director Marc Goehring, Gert Jonkers, co-founder and editor-in-chief at Fantastic Man, and Sara Sozzani Maino, deputy editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia.
Also representing The Woolmark Company is general manager of processing innovation, Julie Davies and Colette Garnsey, chairman of Australian Wool Innovation.
In addition, there are a number of retail partner judges from Harvey Nichols, mytheresa.com, Parlour X, Takashimaya, Lane Crawford, L’Eclaireur, Boon the Shop and Hudson’s Bay Company.
This year’s competition attracted more than 300 applications from across 46 countries, which was shortlisted down to 42 designers globally competing for the 12 grand final spots. Each of the global finalist received 70,000 Australian dollars for the development of their business and to produce a capsule collection featuring six looks for the catwalk final taking place during London Fashion Week.
The 12 Woolmark Prize finalists are: Nicholas Daley (menswear), Daniel W Fletcher (menswear), and Edward Crutchley (unisex) representing the UK; for the US there is Willy Chavarria (menswear), Brandon Maxwell (womenswear) and Colovos (womenswear); for Sweden there is Cmmn Swdn (menswear); Youser (menswear) from Korea; for Australia Albus Lumen (womenswear); I-Am-Chen (womenswear) representing Hong Kong; for Japan Yohei Ohno (womenswear); and for China, Angel Chen (unisex).
There will be Woolmark Prize awards granted to a menswear and a womenswear finalist, who will each win a further 200,000 Australian dollars, as well as mentorship from international experts to help propel their business to the next stage, a Woolmark license, and the opportunity for their winning collections to be stocked in International Woolmark partner retail stores including Harvey Nichols, Lane Crawford, Mytheresa.com and Hudson’s Bay Co.
In addition, one finalist will also be selected for the second edition of the Innovation Award, which recognises the most innovative and creative wool fabrications, process or development for merino wool. The winner of that prize will receive 100,000 Australian dollars.
The Woolmark Company has also partnered with online wholesale platform Ordre for a third year to present online showrooms for the International Woolmark Prize winners' and finalists' capsule collections to an invitation-only retail network and will allow wholesale orders to be placed.
The 2019 International Woolmark Prize final will take place in London on February 16.
Image: courtesy of Woolmark