The International Woolmark Prize is a global competition which recognises up-and-coming designers for their use of merino wool. The competition is backed by the Australian Wool Industry, and each geographical region has its own judging panel. This year’s European judges will include Alber Elbaz, Alexandra Shulman (the Editor of UK Vogue), Christiane Arp (the Editor of Vogue Germany), and designers Dean and Dan Caten from DSquared2.
The competition is considered to be highly prestigious by industry professionals, which is partly due to the fact that it helped leading designers such as Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld to initially gain recognition. The British Fashion Council therefore readily supports it, and so, this year they have eagerly put forward designers JW Anderson and James Long as the UK’s entrants within the competition.
Irish designer JW Anderson was recently granted the honour of closing the recent Menswear Fashion Week where his show was reportedly less conservative than others because it featured glitter fringes and head scarves, as of course, head scarves aren’t a commercial trend for men. His design signature was also reported by the traditional London Fashion Week as being the interchangeable element of things that can be switched between a man and a woman, and he named his trademark piece as boots.
One of the things that stood out from Long’s show at Menswear Fashion Week were his bomber jackets, with key features being leather or decoratively stitched arming. It appears that leather, knits, and accessories really are his signatures, so much so that the British Fashion Council has put him forward for the Woolmark award. Check out some of his pieces below:
Each regional winner will take away 32,000 British pounds which will go towards their next show. The kind of cash injection which any emerging fashion designer needs! Plus, a global winner will be selected in February next year. This lucky winner will then go on to take away an extra 60,000 British pounds. Who will win?