This year’s finalists for the International Woolmark Prize – with the winner set to win AU$200,000 – have been revealed, with two contestants from the UK.
This year’s theme, “Less is More”, continues the company’s transparency focus, championing slow and responsibly produced fashion and craftsmanship, with each item highlighting the supply chain.
The six finalists were chosen by Woolmark’s advisory council, which includes model and businesswoman, Naomi Campbell, and educator and advocate, Sinéad Burke, who select and mentor the designers.
They are, Bethany Williams and Matty Bovan from the UK, Kenneth Ize from Nigeria, Thebe Magugu from South Africa, Lecavalier from Canada and Casablanca from France.
The six 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 “Less is More” theme 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. One finalist will be awarded the International Woolmark Prize by a prestigious panel of industry experts and receive AU$200,000 to invest in the development of their business.
The Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation will also be presented, and can be awarded to the International Woolmark Prize winner or a finalist, with the winner receiving AU$100,000.
Additionally, this year will 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.
Naomi 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.”
Sinéad Burke added: “The International Woolmark Prize has never been more needed – a conduit to educate and provoke new ideas and ways of working invoking sustainability, accessibility and equity.
“With mentoring and funding, it shapes the trajectory for a new generation of designers in a meaningful and transformative way.”