Seven of the world’s most promising emerging design talents have been selected for the 2022 International Woolmark Prize, one of the most prestigious fashion prizes in the world.
The finalists are Ahluwalia, U.K.; EGONlab, France; Jordan Dalah, Australia; MmusoMaxwell, South Africa; Peter Do, USA; Rui, China and Saul Nash, U.K. In July 2021, hundreds of applications were reviewed by a panel of industry experts and the Woolmark Company selected the seven finalists.
“We’re thrilled to introduce the next generation of creative game-changers to take part in the 2022 International Woolmark Prize,” Woolmark Company CEO John Roberts said. “As the award continues to evolve, our aim is to support designers to think beyond today, highlighting the innovation, versatility and sustainability of Merino wool and showcase its basis for new technologies to meet the discerning needs of tomorrow’s customer.”
This year’s program theme, Play, will celebrate forward-thinking design and innovation. Finalists experimented with textiles, design and business practices to drive change and innovation for a brighter future.
Each finalist will receive a $60,000 Australian ($43,312) grant for the development of a Merino collection and will be supported by the program’s education and mentoring initiative, the Innovation Academy, which includes mentoring from industry leaders such as Gabriella Karefa-Johnson, stylist and editor; Holli Rogers, chief brand officer, Farfetch; Sinéad Burke, educator and advocate; Sara Sozzani Maino, head of Vogue Talents; Shaway Yeh, founder of YehYehYeh and group style editorial director of Modern Media Group, and Tim Blanks, editor-at-large for Business of Fashion.
The seven finalists will present a Merino wool collection for Fall/Winter 2022 highlighting transparency throughout their supply chain and, alongside partner Common Objective, will build a sustainability roadmap. The winners will be selected by a panel of industry experts, to be announced in April.
One finalist will be awarded the International Woolmark Prize and receive $200,000 Australian ($144,373) to invest in developing their business. The Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation will be awarded to another finalist, with the winner receiving $100,000 Australian ($72,186).
The Woolmark Supply Chain Award will also be presented, celebrating an outstanding contribution from a trade partner driving wool supply chain innovation. All finalists will have the opportunity to be stocked at some of the world’s leading stores via the International Woolmark Prize Retailer Network.
This year’s International Woolmark Prize finalists join well-known alumni, including Karl Lagerfeld, Yves Saint Laurent, Ralph Lauren, Gabriela Hearst, Emily Bode Aujla, Richard Malone, Angel Chen, Rahul Mishra and, most recently, Matty Bovan.
This year’s Innovation Academy partners include Tilting the Lens, Common Objective, Queen of Raw, Aquapak and Close to Clothes. The program’s global network of 47 progressive international supply chain partners includes BYBORRE, D-House, Knitwear Lab and Studioe. The Innovation Academy supports finalists with early-stage investment, product research and development, mentoring, networking and commerce, providing insights and support to grow a sustainable business.
The Woolmark Company highlights Australian wool’s position as a natural fiber and ingredient in luxury apparel. It is a subsidiary of Australian Wool Innovation, a not-for-profit enterprise that conducts research, development and marketing along the worldwide supply chain for Australian wool on behalf of about 60,000 wool growers that help fund the company.