LONDON — Woolmark has a new cohort of finalists for the 2022 prize, seven brands from six countries that will compete for the international accolade that comes with 200,000 Australian dollars, or $144,000.
“Our aim is to support designers to think beyond today, highlighting the innovation, versatility and sustainability of Merino wool, and to showcase its basis for new technologies to meet the needs of tomorrow’s customer,” said John Roberts, chief executive officer of Australian Wool Innovation, the parent company of The Woolmark Company.
Roberts added that this year’s theme is “Play,” with finalists invited to experiment with textiles, design and business practices, and “drive change and innovation for a brighter future.”
Each finalist will receive a grant of 60,000 Australian dollars, or $43,329, for the development of a Merino wool collection. They will also be supported by the program’s education and mentoring initiative.
Mentors include Holli Rogers, chief brand officer, Farfetch; Sinéad Burke, an educator and advocate; Sara Sozzani Maino, head of Vogue Talents, and Shaway Yeh, founder of YehYehYeh and group style editorial director of Modern Media Group.
The finalists will present a Merino wool collection for fall 2022, focusing on transparency in the supply chain. As part of the project they’ll be working with Common Objective, which offers tech solutions for companies looking to become more sustainable.
The winners will be selected by a panel of industry experts in April, and the seven finalists will have the chance to be stocked at leading stores, via the International Woolmark Prize Retailer Network.
One finalist will be awarded the International Woolmark Prize. The Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation will be awarded to another finalist, with the winner receiving 100,000 Australian dollars, or $72,000.
There will also be a Woolmark Supply Chain Award “for outstanding contribution from a trade partner driving wool supply chain innovation.”
This year’s International Woolmark Prize finalists are part of an alumni network that includes Karl Lagerfeld, Yves Saint Laurent, Emily Bode Aujla, Richard Malone, Angel Chen, Gabriela Hearst, Rahul Mishra and Matty Bovan.
The Woolmark Company is a subsidiary of Australian Wool Innovation, a not-for-profit enterprise that conducts research, development and marketing along the worldwide supply chain for Australian wool on behalf of the approximately 60,000 wool growers that help to fund the company.