The International Woolmark Prize celebrates outstanding fashion talents from around the globe who showcase the beauty and versatility of Merino wool. It is the world’s most prestigious award for rising fashion stars.
First held in 1953 as an initiative of the International Wool Secretariat, the award was won the following year by iconic fashion designers Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent.
Today, the International Woolmark Prize continues to recognise design excellence using Australian Merino wool. The prize crosses borders and cultures to spotlight emerging fashion talent from hotspots in more than 60 countries before a who’s who of the international fashion industry.
By putting wool in the hands of the world’s leading innovators, the International Woolmark Prize challenges them to achieve greatness in keeping with The Woolmark Company’s tradition of supporting design excellence.
Three semi-final events are held globally each year throughout July. The 2018/19 semi-final events were held in Hong Kong, London and New York, with nominees invited to pitch to an esteemed judging panel for investment in a capsule collection crafted from Merino wool. Four designers are selected at each of the semi-final events each receiving a financial contribution of AU$70,000 for the development of their business and capsule collection. Finalists are invited to compete in the prestigious global final, traditionally held during key fashion weeks across the world. One menswear and one womenswear winner will receive a further AU$200,000 financial contribution at the global final, as well as mentoring from industry experts to help propel their business to the next stage. One finalist will also be selected for the Innovation Award which celebrates the most innovative and creative wool fabrications, process or development and rewards the finalist with a financial contribution of AU$100,000. In addition, winners also have the opportunity to have their Merino wool capsule collection distributed through the prize’s prestigious International retail partner network.
Through The Woolmark Company’s global network, partnerships are secured with key spinners and weavers to assist designers during the formative stages of their business and ensure a dynamic future for the fashion industry.