Woolmark reveals names of eight finalists in 2023 international prize
Woolmark has revealed the names of the eight finalists of the organization’s much-watched International Woolmark Prize for 2023, selecting designers from eight different nations.
Windowed down from hundreds of applications, the jury selected A. Roege Hove from Denmark; Bluemarble, France; Lagos Space Programme, Nigeria; Marco Rambaldi, Italy; Maxxij, South Korea; Paolina Russo, UK; Rhude, USA and Robyn Lynch, Ireland.
Amalie Røge Hove of A. Roege Hove is one of the most happening young designers from Denmark; Bluemarble's Franco-Filipino founder Anthony Alvarez is a designer to watch in menswear; while Lagos Space Programme’s greatly admired designer Adeju Thompson is a 2021 LVMH Prize semi-finalist.
Marco Rambaldi for his part is a gender bending color maximalist; Maxxij is the brainchild of London College of Fashion graduate Maxxij Jaehyung Lee and Paolina Russo, who manages to combine corsetry, couture elements and active sportswear with bravura balance; Rhude, by Rhuigi Villaseñor out of Los Angeles blends luxury techniques with streetwear elements; and Robyn Lynch looks poised for greatness with her novel mash-up of avant garde fashion, clubbing cool and techy sportswear.
Ever since Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld were prize-winners back in 1954, for dress and coat respectively, the International Woolmark Prize has been one of the most closely watched awards and talent development programs in fashion. Subsequent winners have included Valentino Garavani, Gabriela Hearst, Rahul Mishra, Bode, Matty Bovan and, most recently, Saul Nash.
“This group of finalists represents the next generation of creative game-changers, who all want to design fashion for a better tomorrow,” explained Woolmark Company's managing director John Roberts.
“As the fashion and textile industry continues to evolve amongst an ever-changing landscape, we hope that our support throughout the International Woolmark Prize will inspire and propel design and business strategies for our eight finalists. I would personally like to congratulate these finalists on behalf of the Australian woolgrowers and also thank the Advisory Council for helping decide our final eight,” Roberts added.
The eight finalists will each develop six Merino wool looks as part of their Autumn/Winter 2023 collection, or a standalone IWP2023 capsule collection which highlights the innate versatility, innovative nature and eco-credentials of Merino wool.
One finalist will be awarded the International Woolmark Prize and receive AU$200,000 to invest in the development of their business. The Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation will be awarded to another finalist, with the winner receiving AU$100,000. The Woolmark Supply Chain Award will also be presented, celebrating an outstanding contribution from a trade partner driving wool supply chain innovation.
Each 2023 finalist will receive AU$60,000 for the development of a Merino wool collection and will be supported by the program’s education and mentoring initiative, the Innovation Academy. It includes mentoring from industry leaders, including noted experts like Gabriella Karefa-Johnson, global fashion editor-at-large, Vogue and stylist; Holli Rogers, chief brand officer, Farfetch; Sara Sozzani Maino, scouting and educational initiatives advisor, Vogue Italia and international brand ambassador Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana; Shaway Yeh, founder of YehYehYeh and group style editorial director of the Modern Media Group; and Sinéad Burke, educator and advocate.
All finalists will also have the opportunity to be stocked at some of the world’s leading stores, via the International Woolmark Prize Retailer Network.
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