Seven finalists were selected by The Woolmark Company from the UK and the USA for the 2022 International Woolmark Prize. They are from South Africa, Australia, France, China, France, South Africa, and the US.
Ahluwalia was launched in 2018 by Priya Ahluwalia. Saul Nash, a menswear designer, is also representing the UK in the final. They will be competing against New York City-based Peter Do and Rui, Rui from China founded by Jordan Dalah, Australian womenswear designer, MmusoMaxwell, which is a fashion brand that was founded in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2016 by Maxwell Boko and Mmuso Potsane.
The theme for this year’s competition is “play” and all finalist will be asked to explore textiles, design, and progressive business practices in order to “drive change and innovation for a better future.” Each finalist will receive 60,000 Australian Dollars to help develop a Merino collection in autumn/winter 2022.
The Woolmark Company explains that the award celebrates “forward-thinking design, innovation” and each designer will have to emphasize transparency in their supply chain and create a sustainability roadmap with Common Objective.
John Roberts, chief executive of The Woolmark Company stated in a statement that “We’re thrilled” to announce the next generation creative game-changers for the 2022 International Woolmark Prize.
“As the award evolves, our goal is to support designers in thinking beyond today. We highlight the innovation, versatility, and sustainability of Merino Wool and show its foundation for new technologies that will meet the discerning needs tomorrow’s customers.”
Ahluwalia and Saul Nash were announced as the finalists for the International Woolmark Prize
Two prizes will be awarded to the finalists: the International Woolmark Prize and the Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation. One finalist will receive 200,000 Australian dollars to help develop their business. The Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation will be presented to the winner, which is in memory of the late icon and International Woolmark Prize alumnus. It will also award 100,000 Australian dollars.
Through the International Woolmark Prize retailer network, all finalists will have the chance to be stocked in some of the most prestigious stores around the globe.
Priya Ahluwalia commented on her selection as a finalist. It is an incredible opportunity for me and my team to learn about wool and to be able to invent with the help of Woolmark experts.
Boko and Potsane, founders of MmusoMaxwell, said that there is a paradigm shift happening in the fashion industry. Africa is now part the conversation, and it is rightfully so. Being part of this prize is a testament of that.”
Woolmark will present the Supply Chain Award, which celebrates outstanding contributions by a trade partner to one of the supply chains.
A prestigious panel made up of industry professionals will select the winners in April 2022.
Innovation Academy will support the Woolmark Prize finalists
The Innovation Academy at Woolmark Company will provide International Woolmark Prize finalists and alumni with education and mentoring programmes. It offers support in early-stage investments, product research, and development. They also offer unparalleled insight to help them build a sustainable business.
Tilting The Lens, Common Objective and Queen of Raw will provide access to more than 47 international supply chain partners, including Aquapak, Close to Clothes. D-House, Knitwear Lab, Studioe, and ByBorre. You will also receive mentoring from industry professionals, including Gabriella Karefa Johnson, stylist and editor, Farfetch chief branding officer Holli Rogers and Sinead Burke. They will also have access to Sinead, Shaway Yeh, YehYeh founder, and Tim Blanks, Business of Fashion editor at large.