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Most promising fashion designers selected as finalists for 2023 International Woolmark Prize

Tom Bottomley
22 November 2022

Eight of the world’s most promising emerging fashion design talents have been chosen as finalists from hundreds of applications for the 2023 International Woolmark Prize.

Each finalist has now received £33,616 (AU$60,000) to assist in the development of six Merino wool looks. The winners will be revealed in April 2023.

The 2023 International Woolmark Prize finalists are:

  • ROEGE HOVE, Denmark
  • Bluemarble, France
  • Lagos Space Programme, Nigeria
  • MAXXIJ, South Korea
  • Paolina Russo, UK
  • ROBYN LYNCH, Ireland

The Woolmark Company Managing Director, John Roberts, said: “This group of finalists represents the next generation of creative game-changers, who all want to design fashion for a better tomorrow.

“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 of 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.”

This year’s theme is titled ‘Dialogue’, reflecting The Woolmark Company’s mission to “establish dialogue and connect leading design talent with industry players to collectively envision a more sustainable future”.

The development of each of the designers’ Merino wool collections will be supported by the programme’s education and mentoring initiative, the Innovation Academy, which includes mentoring from industry leaders including Holli Rogers, Chief Brand Officer at Farfetch, Gabriella Karefa-Johnson, Global Fashion Editor-at-Large at Vogue and Stylist, and Sara Sozzani Maino, Scouting and Educational Initiatives Advisor at Vogue Italia.

The International Woolmark Prize is a manifestation of more than 60 years of supporting emerging talent in fashion by the Australian wool industry. The prize represents The Woolmark Company’s continued social commitment, a sharing of resources and “enduring support of local artisans”.

The eight finalists will each develop six Merino wool looks as part of their AW23 collection, or as a standalone capsule collection which highlights the versatility and eco-credentials of Merino wool.

One finalist will be awarded the International Woolmark Prize and receive £112,000  (AU$200,000) to invest in the development of their business, and the Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation will be awarded to another finalist - with the winner of that receiving £56,000 (AU$100,000).

The Woolmark Supply Chain Award will also be presented, celebrating outstanding contribution from a trade partner driving wool supply chain innovation.

Additionally, all finalists will 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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