On July 9th at The Crosby Street Hotel in NYC, The Woolmark Company announced the first winner of its International Woolmark Prize, a materialization of a 60-year history of design awards supported by The Australian wool industry. This year’s prize brings together 70 designers and their unique capsule collections featuring Australian Merino wool woven and knitted fabrics across 15 countries, for final selection by an esteemed panel of regional judges.
Stuart McCullough, CEO of Australian Wool Innovation, found the design talent among the U.S. nominees “to be truly remarkable.” Regional nominees for the U.S. included Bibhu Mohapatra, Prabal Gurung, Ruffian, VPL Designs, Kaufman Franco, M. Patmos, Sophie Theallet, Naeem Khan, Number:Lab and Slinky Vagabond.
The jury, comprised of industry experts ranging from The CFDA’s Steven Kolb, to Bergdorf Goodman’s Linda Fargo and acclaimed American designer, Narciso Rodriguez, among others, reviewed capsule collection submissions from each of the 11 U.S. designers with the difficult decision of selecting one for the ultimate prize – their design stocked in the world’s premier boutiques and retailers, combined with a global media and marketing campaign supported by The Woolmark Company.
The CFDA supported the prize in the U.S., and CFDA CEO, Steven Kolb presented the top honor to designer Sophie Theallet.
“The CFDA is pleased to provide the opportunity to give a global platform to a CFDA member,” said Kolb, adding that “this is truly an important time for American fashion.”
A thankful and emotional Sophie Theallet accepted the award, thanking her fellow nominees for their incredible talent and stating her true love of Knitwear. “Knitwear is about color… love. You just want to wrap yourself in a piece of Knitwear,” she said.
The International Woolmark Prize moves along to China on July 12th, where one of 10 finalists will be awarded with regional honors. Upon the end of all regional competitions, the overall winner will be announced during the February 2013 London Fashion Week. Learn more about The Woolmark Prize at www.woolmarkprize.com.