Entry to the International Woolmark Prize is by invitation only through a panel of regional nominating bodies. Nominating bodies are independent industry organisations committed to selecting the most promising designers from their region in womenswear and menswear, while adhering to strict criteria. Nominees must have shown creative promise and dedication to growing a commercial business, but are yet to be globally established. Nominating bodies also support the International Woolmark Prize through digital and social media coverage, and provide mentorship throughout the submission process.
International Woolmark Prize entry is strictly by invitation only. Industry committees, councils and/or media from each region nominate eligible labels each year. Labels wishing to participate in the International Woolmark Prize must meet the criteria below before making an expression of interest to the nominating body in their region.
The International Woolmark Prize recognises outstanding fashion designers who show promise but are not yet ‘established’ in a global sense.
The criteria for nominees are:
has been producing wholesale collections for commercial sale for a minimum of 3 years and a maximum of 8 years as at the time of nomination;
has a recognized brand in their own Region;
can demonstrate sound accounting practices (including showing historical growth in sales as well as the ability to support future growth in sales);
is a natural person or an enterprise (and if an enterprise shall not have more than 3 designers in which case 1 representative must be nominated as being the main Nominated Designer);
is a permanent resident and resides in the country within the Region they have been nominated for;
can show previous innovative use of fabric and textiles, particularly wool (or other natural fibres), within a number of seasons;
has a directional and modern design that has generated support in the industry from both retailers and media;
has demonstrated the ability to produce collections to a high level of consistent production;
can show growth in sales over their time in business but not have more than 30 points of retail sale with their designs internationally, through boutiques or department stores retailers or online retailers; and
the Nominated Designer, or in case of an enterprise, the representative of the Nominated Designer, is able to attend the regional awards in person and is aware that non-attendance will result in disqualification.
Designers may be nominated for regional awards up to two times. If a designer becomes a regional finalist but does not win the overall prize, they can be re-nominated only once more provided they meet the nomination criteria. The winner of the International Woolmark Prize cannot be nominated again.