Last night’s heat and storms didn’t dampen the festive mood at the Woolmark U.S. International Prize Awards, where Public School and M. Patmos took home the top honors for menswear and womenswear, respectively.
The awards, which selects a designer to create a capsule collection using Woolmark’s Merino wool (and grants a prize of $50,000), allows them to compete in the international competition in London later this year with a shot at being stocked at some pretty big retailers the world over (think Harvey Nichols, Saks, Colette, 10 Corso Como).
“We’re so incredibly thrilled and honored to be selected as the U.S. representative in the first Woolmark Prize for menswear,” winners Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne of Public School said. “Working with wool and all of its natural benefits has been instrumental in developing the trans-seasonality and versatility of our own collection and it’s going to really help jumpstart our knitwear business.”
For the nominees, getting a chance to compete was an honor in its own right.
“It’s a huge honor to even be nominated,” Timo Weiland told us.
“Honestly, all five mens’ designers were so beautiful and did such a great job,” Weiland’s design partner, Alan Eckstein, added. “We have our own take. The rules of the competition are that everyone sort of had their own thing. You can see everyone’s own style.”
The duo’s entry into the competition was a check print wool overcoat with knitwear.
“We don’t have a huge suiting business, so for us it was a natural idea to go with a big piece of outerwear,” Eckstein explained. When we hinted our hope that the look make it into the next collection and for womenswear, Eckstein agreed. “I would love to do that too. Womenswear inspires me.”
The judges—Alexander Wang, InStyle EIC Ariel Foxman, Esquire EIC David Granger, Calvin Klein’s Malcom Carfrae, W EIC Stefano Tonchi, CFDA CEO Steven Kolb, Saks’ Eric Jennings and Colleen Sherrin and Michelle Lee from Woolmark—had the tough job of deciding the winner. The nominees for menswear included a.a. antonio azzuolo, OVADIA & SONS, Public School, Timo Weiland and Todd Snyder. For womenswear, the nominees were M. Patmos, Jonathan Simkhai, Nonoo, Rosie Assoulin and WHIT.