Once again, the world’s most prestigious fashion award makes a history-defining moment as the UK’s Matty Bovan scoops the pool at the 2021 International Woolmark Prize global final, being awarded the main prize as well as the Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation.
Bovan joins fellow UK designer Edward Crutchley - who won the double back in 2019 - after a panel of industry heavyweights selected him the winner during a special virtual event.
“What impressed me about Matty is his capacity to win both awards – for his innovation and creativity and I really think he deserves it,” said Carine Roitfeld. “He is pure fashion, he makes me dream and he reminds me of a young Vivienne Westwood or a John Galliano and we desperately need that sort of designer in the fashion world of today.”
Praised for his technically advanced stunning jacquard weave designs, unique style, intricate designs which tell a story, advanced understanding of both knit and weave techniques, strong colour combinations and sustainable approach to local sourcing and production, Bovan’s sensibility and conceptual approach to fashion impressed the judges, with Thom Browne reiterating this is something the world needs more of, especially right now.
“When I see your collection, I see moving things forward and a real hunger for showing people what they haven't seen before and that is something that is really necessary right now and so inspiring,” said Browne, who sat on the judging panel alongside Carine Roitfeld, Ib Kamara, Shaway Yeh, Sinéad Burke, Tasha Liu, Tim Blanks and Julie Davies. “The way you used wool didn't seem like much of a challenge - you were able to do so much with the medium. So, thank you for the huge inspiration and the life that you put in your collection.”
Matty Bovan’s Ode to the Sea draws inspiration from travelling and escapism – going through a traumatic event and coming out the other side. Based in York, Bovan worked with local suppliers and manufacturers, supporting local businesses, craftspeople and artisans through his tight supply chain network.
Using roll end cloth from AW Hainsworth, screen printing and hand painting, Matt Bovan gave new life to discarded pieces of fabric. Limited runs in-house turned deadstock fabric into commercial limited pieces.
Manufacturing of the 100% Merino custom jacquard at a local mill in Yorkshire.
Initial construction of the wool fur coat.
Sketch of design for International Woolmark Prize collection.
Early fittings at the Matty Bovan Studio.
An early panel swatch made from Merino yarns.
“It’s a huge honour to win these prizes and I’m so excited for where it’s going to take me,
said Bovan. “I was already so thrilled with the Woolmark Prize platform and experience. Being a part of the International Woolmark Prize has really helped elevate my brand and elevate my awareness and knowledge of how I operate as a business and as a label. It’s been amazing and I have loved every minute of it.”