HISTORIC TIMELINE

1936
2019

1936Establishment of the International Wool Secretariat

Australian woolgrowers vote for a levy to be imposed on each bale of wool they produced, to promote their product around the world. This bold and innovative decision results in the formation of a body first known as the International Wool Secretariat, which later becomes The Woolmark Company.

1950-53Launch of the International Wool Secretariat prize

The International Wool Secretariat founds a fashion design award to highlight the versatility and modernity of wool. The earliest recorded winner of this award is Valentino Garavani, who then went on to work for couturier Jean Desses before launching his own fashion house.

1953YVES SAINT LAURENT EMERGES IN PARIS

Unknown womenswear designer Yves Saint Laurent travels to Paris from Algeria for the first time to receive his third place award in the dress category of the International Wool Secretariat prize.

1954TWO ICONIC WOMENSWEAR DESIGNERS LAUNCH THEIR CAREERS

Young designers Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent step up on stage to accept their respective fashion design prizes at the International Wool Secretariat awards. Lagerfeld, then 21, wins the coat category. Saint Laurent, just 18 years old, wins the award for dress design, judged by a panel that included Christian Dior and Hubert de Givenchy. Fashion history is made.

1964The Woolmark Brand is born

An international identity for wool is created to increase consumer confidence and represent quality standards. Italian graphic artist Francesco Saroglia designs the Woolmark logo featuring five black bands criss-crossing to form a skein-shape perfectly represent the softness, elegance and modernity of wool. Today the Woolmark logo is one of the world’s most recognized and respected brands.

1989GIORGIO ARMANI’S SUCCESS WITH WOOL

Giorgio Armani receives the Woolmark Award and then again 1992, making Mr Armani the only ever dual outright winner. Romeo Gigli wins the Woolmark Award in 1990.

1992THE AMERICANS MAKE THEIR MARK

Ralph Lauren and Donna Karen win the Woolmark Award for menswear and womenswear, respectively.

2007The Protégé program

The Woolmark Company connects the world’s biggest names in fashion, including Karl Lagerfeld, Donatella Versace and Francisco Costa for Calvin Klein, with emerging designers of their choice for the Protégé program. The resultant collections are presented in Florence in January and in Sydney in May during Australian Fashion Week.

2008The Woolmark Prize

The Woolmark Prize was held in Paris in 2008 and revived the original International Wool Secretariat awards. Chinese designer Qiu Hao was the winner and received financial support along with assistance in sourcing materials.

2012A star is reborn

The International Woolmark Prize is revived, spotlighting fashion stars from hotspots in more than 20 countries before a who’s who of the international fashion industry. The $100,00 prize includes the opportunity for the winner’s designs to be commercialized and sold in the world’s top boutiques and department stores.

February 2013Christian Wijnants wins

Christian Wijnants snares the coveted International Woolmark Prize during London Fashion Week. The Belgium-based designer took a single piece of yarn as his starting point and explored all of its potential, including applying the shibori technique, to create unique shapes and moulded around the body like sculpture.

February 2014Rahul Mishra is victorious

Rahul Mishra wins the International Woolmark Prize during Milan Fashion Week. Inspired by Maurits Cornelis Escher, the capsule range of delicate embroidery examines the eight-petal lotus and its similarities to the complex structure modern cities. The designs reflect the lifecycle of wool from its natural state on the land to the concrete cities where it’s redesigned and reinvented.

January 2015The menswear moment

In response to industry demand, the International Woolmark Prize expands to include a separate category for menswear, which is held during London Collections: Men in London. The inaugural menswear prize is won by American label Public School and judged by an esteemed panel including Paul Smith, Dylan Jones, Tim Blanks and Nick Wooster.

March 2015Team America triumphs again

A travelling female architect provides the inspiration for 2015 International Woolmark Prize winner Marcia Patmos. The American designer creates a capsule wardrobe for the modern global nomad that impresses a panel including Victoria Beckham and Angelica Cheung for the final held in Beijing during the Chinese Year of the Sheep.

January 2016Menswear strong in India

Indian menswear label SUKETDHIR was announced as the winner of the 2015/2016 International Woolmark Prize menswear award, presented at a special event at Pitti Uomo, Florence. The winning collection marries traditional techniques, such as Ikat, with modern silhouettes and was judges by an esteemed panel including Haider Ackermann, Suzy Menkes and Imran Amed.

February 2016London Calling

London-based duo Teatum Jones was awarded the 2015/16 International Woolmark Prize for womenswear at a star-studded event held on schedule at New York Fashion Week. Using a mix of 17.5 micron and 19.5 micron Australian Merino wool for the clothes, and 23 micron wool for the accessories, Teatum Jones showed artisanal qualities through Merino wool lace, colour blocking and double-faced wool to create a three-dimensional quality.

January 2017Return to Paris

For the first time, the menswear and womenswear finals of the International Woolmark Prize was were held together at a star-studded event at the iconic Palais de Tokyo, Paris. Representing the British Isles, COTTWEILER was announced as the menswear winners, praised for a collection that mixes sports, tailoring, streetwear and fashion. The USA’s Gabriela Hearst took out the womenswear award with sleek silhouettes and crisp, tailored lines.

January 2018Triple win in florence

The womenswear and menswear global finals of the International Woolmark Prize were held in tandem during Pitti Uomo in Florence, where Indian designer Ruchika Sachdeva of Bodice won the womenswear award, and was praised for her technique and thoughtful approach to manufacturing. Matthew Miller, who represented the British Isles, received the menswear award for his highly functional collection. Powered by Future Tech Lab, the inaugural Innovation Award went to Christopher Bevans of DYNE, who created a technical snowboarding wardrobe.

FEBRUARY 2019INNOVATION COMES TO LONDON

American design duo Michael and Nicole Colovos, of namesake label Colovos, were presented the womenswear award for their lightweight use of wool and sustainable proposition. British-born designer Edward Crutchley took home two awards: that for innovation and for menswear, praised for his understanding of artisanal textiles. The event brought together 12 talented young designers and an esteemed jury including Tim Blanks, Laura Brown, Gwendoline Christie, Alber Elbaz and Sinead Burke.