Selected from more than 300 applicants representing 46 countries, this year’s International Woolmark Prize finalists demonstrate the growing diversity of the global fashion industry and show promise in their commitment to sustainable practices.
ALBUS LUMEN has emerged as one of the most successful Australian fashion brands on the international stage within only a few years, successfully stocked by retailers including MatchesFashion.com and Net-a-Porter.
Raised in St. Petersburg before moving to Australia in 1998, where she completed a commercial degree at Sydney University, Afonina began her career as an intern at Harper’s Bazaar Australia, later becoming the magazine’s fashion editor, before styling for titles including Elle, Russh and Vogue.
The catalyst for establishing ALBUS LUMEN was a lack of simple essentials for modern women, vacation-style basics that avoided trends and fads, an ethos that remains at the heart of the brand today.
ANGEL CHEN is the namesake unisex fashion label of designer Angel Chen.
Having trained at the prestigious Central Saint Martins College in London, Chen was named as one of the top five graduate designers of the year by i-D magazine and was awarded the Ones to Watch award by Fashion Scouts.
In 2017, Chen began showing her collections at Milan Fashion Week, and in the same year was inducted into the coveted BoF 500 list.
Now based in Shanghai, Chen’s label is stocked by Luisa Via Roma, H. Lorenzo, Galeries Lafayette, Selfridges, Lane Crawford and Dongliang.
Brandon Maxwell launched his luxury women’s ready-to-wear label in New York in 2015. The brand was born out of the desire to make women feel beautiful, sophisticated and powerful by creating timeless garments that are impeccably tailored.
With a focus on craftsmanship, the entire collection is designed and produced in New York City. Maxwell’s designs have been worn by many influential women, including Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Tiffany Haddish, Reese Witherspoon, Kate Hudson, Lady Gaga, Gwyneth Paltrow and Uma Thurman.
In 2016, the designer was awarded the CFDA Swarovski Award for Womenswear, the Fashion Group International Rising Star Award for Womenswear and was an LVMH Prize Finalist.
CMMN SWDN was launched in 2012 in Malmö, Sweden’s multicultural and creative hotspot. The label is designed by Saif Bakir and Emma Hedlund, who first met in 2004 in London while studying at prestigious schools Central Saint Martins College and the London College of Fashion.
Both designers have a significant amount of experience in the fashion industry, having worked at a series of renowned fashion houses such as Wooyoungmi, COS and most recently for Kanye West, where the duo worked alongside one another as Head of Design.
With an aesthetic inspired by their diverse backgrounds, the designers’ work is an ongoing exploration of binary elements: masculine and feminine, texture and drape, structure and fluidity, with each piece offering a balance of opposing elements that caters for the self-confident individual. The designers’ considered approach and progressive design aesthetic has won them success amongst leading retailers worldwide and earned them a spot on schedule during Paris Men’s Fashion Week.
Colovos is the authentic collective vision of longtime husband and wife collaborators Michael and Nicole Colovos. Colovos offers a curated selection of exquisitely constructed clothing for the modern woman made in Italy and the United States. The aesthetic is a seamless blend of clean, architectural lines, beautiful fabrics and thoughtfully considered details.
Colovos blends traditional tailoring with modern minimal shapes to create a new take on an everyday wardrobe. Born in Spain, Michael grew up in Seattle and soon was involved in the influential music and skateboard scene that was happening at the time. Interested in design, he moved to New York and later Italy to study fashion. He met Nicole, a New Zealand-born stylist and editor at Harper's Bazaar, in New York in 2002.
Together they launched Habitual, a high-end denim collection that was the recipient of an award in the first annual CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund for emerging designers. The couple were then tasked with the re-launch of Helmut Lang, where they served as co-creative directors for eight years. In 2016, they launched their namesake brand Colovos.
DANIEL w. FLETCHER is a London-based contemporary menswear brand, established in 2015 after designer Daniel Fletcher graduated from Central Saint Martins College. Originally from the North West of England, Fletcher moved to London to study and gained experience at Louis Vuitton, Victoria Beckham, Burberry and Lanvin before starting his brand.
Fletcher produces deeply personal collections that explore his thoughts on current affairs and social issues, with each collection combining timeless shapes and new fabrics and motifs. These collections have been presented on the London Fashion Week: Men’s schedule for the past four seasons in a number of different formats, both digitally and in presentation form.
Spring 2019 marked the brand’s first runway show. The designer was a recipient of the Future British Award supported by Boden for spring 2018 and fall 2018/19, as well as being nominated for the 2017 LVMH Prize. Fletcher was also a recipient of the River Island x BFC Fashion Film Award 2016 for his fashion film, Stay, which showcased his spring 2017 collection, and in 2018 was named as one of Drapers 30 Under 30.
Edward Crutchleyʼs work is grounded by an innate understanding and appreciation of artisanal textiles. Exploring global cultural references and aspects of material culture he creates garments that explore the boundaries of form, silhouette and surface.
With a professional background as a leading industry expert in fabric and textile development, Crutchley has consulted for many of the leading names in the fashion industry, including Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Supreme, Kanye West, Pringle of Scotland and Richard Nicoll. This wealth of knowledge has been at the centre of the development of his brand over the past eight seasons, with the last two being shown on the runway of London Fashion Week.
Crutchley has developed a reputation as one of London’s rising stars, pushing a vision of fashion that moves beyond boundaries or gender while keeping a unique stylistic approach that has been picked by some of the world leading stores such as MatchesFashion.com, Galeries Lafayette, Browns, Boon the Shop and Isetan.
i-am-chen is a knitwear label that strives to bring a fun and light-hearted spirit to its audience. In a fashion world obsessed with imposing solemn concepts on clothing, designer Zhi Chen turns to the playful nature embodied by the works of artists Alexander Calder and David Hockney. On the technical side, Chen continually investigates the capabilities of various knitting machines.
Working with world-class technicians, the designer aims to challenge the definition of knitting by exploiting the potentials of advanced machines, applying state-of-art techniques and using unconventional yarns. While handcraft has its charm, i-am-chen endeavors to minimise human touch because it simply cannot compete with the precision and efficiency machines offer.
Nicholas Daley graduated from Central Saint Martins College in 2013 and launched his namesake label in 2015. Since the brand’s genesis, Daley has continually explored his dual-ethnic heritage, being of Jamaican and Scottish descent; he widely questions and reflects the notion of multiculturalism within the British identity.
Placing great significance on craftsmanship, all production is retained within the United Kingdom with internationally recognised manufacturers such as George Cox, Glenisla and Christys’ London, each creating bespoke textiles that redefine a vision of what we might associate with British heritage. Daley was sponsored by The British Fashion Council’s NEWGEN program as part of London Collections: Men for spring and fall 2018.
For his most recent presentation, the designer worked with the United Kingdom’s finest contemporary jazz musicians Yussef Dayes, Mansur Brown, Alfa Mist and Shabaka Hutchings, who played a rare live jazz session together. In such a way, the label has been able to cross the boundaries between music and fashion and this is reflected through the breadth of press received. The label is stocked within notable stores such as International Gallery Beams, Dover Street Market and The Bureau in Belfast.
Willy Chavarria is the conceptual, namesake fashion label of the New York-based designer. The brand’s goal is to connect emotionally with consumers’ social awareness while offering a product that is luxurious, personal and empowering. Chavarria is from the San Joaquin Valley of California where he grew up in a small community of immigrant farm labourers.
At an early age he realised his love for art and commerce. He studied graphic design at The Academy of Art University where he worked with Nicholas Graham on the creation of the Joe Boxer Brand. He was later offered a designer position at Ralph Lauren where he worked for five years under Jerry Lauren and Buffy Birrittella learning the detail of luxury design.
He then worked as design director at American Eagle Outfitters during the company’s strongest growth period, between 2002 and 2012. After opening a multi-brand menswear shop in New York in 2010 he developed relationships with Japanese retailers including the Bay Crews Corporation, and since then, Chavarria has grown his label to distribute in more than 30 top-tier retailers globally.
Yohei Ohno is a Tokyo-based fashion designer. He started his education at Bunka Fashion College, where he gained the fundamental skills of pattern-cutting and sewing. After winning a scholarship to study at Nottingham Trent University, he moved to the United Kingdom and presented his graduate collection in London in 2014. Returning to Japan, he launched his namesake label, YOHEI OHNO, in the same year.
In 2016, Ohno won the Tokyo Fashion Award and presented his first runway show as part of Amazon Tokyo Fashion Week for fall 2017. Ohno’s aesthetic draws on art, architecture, and other industrial products around him. He translates them into contemporary and yet organic women’s style with a playful attitude.
Designer Mooyeol Lee was born and raised in Seoul, the South Korean capital.
He graduated from SADI (Samsung Art and Design Institute) in 2010 as a scholarship student, and later worked in the design team of local menswear brand m-vio, soon channelling a desire to create under his own name.
In 2011, Mooyeol left the company and set up his brand YOUSER, showing his collections on the runway during Seoul Fashion Week from 2015.
YOUSER is based out of a showroom in Korea, although has achieved steady growth within Asian and European markets over the past six years.
Discover more about the 2018/19 International Woolmark Prize finalists: