Teatum Jones, a label designed by Catherine Teatum and Rob Jones, won the British prize for women’s wear, while Agi & Sam, designed by Agape Mdumulla and Sam Cotton, won the award for men’s wear.
It is the first time that the Woolmark Prize has held a regional British final — in previous years, U.K. designers had competed in a European regional event.
Both labels won 50,000 Australian dollars, or around $38,000 at current exchange, in cash sponsorship and have the opportunity to compete in the International Woolmark Prize final.
For women’s wear, the international final will be held in New York in February 2016, while for men’s wear it will be in Florence in January 2016. At the international finals, designers have the chance to win the 100,000 Australian dollar, or $76,300, prize and have their winning collection stocked at retailers including Saks Fifth Avenue in New York, Harvey Nichols in London and 10 Corso Como in Milan, Beijing and Shanghai.
Stuart McCullough, managing director of The Woolmark Co., said at Friday’s event that the focus of the prize wasn’t on “handing out a trophy and a check.”
“We want to make sure the winners of this award get the opportunity to merchandise their product around the world. We think that’s one of the reasons for the prize’s success,” he said.
The British Isles judging panel that picked the winners was made up of designer Roland Mouret; Jason Basmajian, chief creative officer of Gieves & Hawkes; Dylan Jones, editor of British GQ; Sophia Neophitou, editor in chief and publisher of 10 Magazine; Anita Barr, group fashion buying director at Harvey Nichols; Simon Chilvers, men’s style director at Matchesfashion.com, and McCullough of The Woolmark Co.
The winners were picked on the strength of an outfit they each designed using Merino wool. Now, they will develop a capsule collection using Merino wool that will be showcased at Woolmark events for the prize’s regional finalist. The capsule collections will then go into the men’s and women’s finals for the international prize.