Matthew Miller and Le Kilt have been announced as the menswear and womenswear winners, respectively, of the 2017/18 International Woolmark Prize British Isles regional final, at an awards event held in London.
A panel comprising Emilia Wickstead - Designer; Daniel Kearns - Creative Director, Kent & Curwen; Anita Barr - Group Fashion Buying Director, Harvey Nichols; Candice Fragis - Buying & Merchandising Director, Farfetch; and Jason Basmajian - Chief Creative Officer, CERRUTI selected Matthew Miller and Le Kilt as the winners.
Matthew Miller presented a modern take on tailoring, constructing a double-breasted tuxedo from Super 100’s, 18.75 micron Merino wool from UK suppliers Holland and Sherry and William Halstead of Luxury Fabrics, paired with a rain overcoat with a 100% Merino wool removable lining and waterproof wool shell.
"Today, judging the International Woolmark Prize, there was so much innovation and creativity; it was a real celebration of talent. They were all winners for different reasons but Matthew showed true passion producing a look that is luxurious but still cool," explained Jason Basmajian.
"Winning the prize is amazing and receiving recognition from your peers on your designs, including the judging panel is fantastic," said Matthew Miller. "Wool is one of the most important and luxury materials and a high-performance fibre, but I wanted to give it a much more youthful feel."
Samantha McCoach of Le Kilt incorporated intricate detailing into her wool denim look, building on traditional craftsmanship to create something new and innovative, deconstructing elements of a modern uniform and allowing the garments to take on a completely new identity, with Anita Barr adding that: "Sam brought back the tradition of her Scottish heritage in a more modern way and inspired us with her story; we believe she'll go on to do great things."
"The prize has given me an opportunity to look at wool in a new way,” said Samantha McCoach of Le Kilt. “The challenge was that working with wool comes naturally to me, it's at the heart of my brand but I wanted to do something new which is why I looked at innovations in wool denim."
Chosen from amongst the most promising fashion design talents from the British Isles, both winners gain a financial contribution of AU$70,000, plus the opportunity to compete in the prestigious international final. In addition, each winner will receive mentoring support from a global panel of experts along with being granted a Woolmark licence.
For the next six-to-seven months, the winning designers will be required to develop a capsule collection in Merino wool, to be showcased at an extraordinary event that will highlight the six menswear finalists and six womenswear finalists selected from across the globe.
The winners of the menswear and womenswear global finals will receive a further AU$200,000 to assist with fabric sourcing and marketing of their collection, as well as mentoring from industry experts. A third winner will also be selected at the global final as part of the newly introduced Innovation Award. In addition, the international winners will have the opportunity to have their collection distributed through the prize's prestigious international retail partner network including Boon the Shop, S. Korea; Boutique 1, UAE; David Jones, Australia; De Bijenkorf, Amsterdam; Harvey Nichols, UK; Hudson's Bay Company, Toronto; LECLAIREUR, Paris; Mytheresa.com; ORDRE and SSENSE.COM.
The Woolmark Company is pleased to have the support of makeup by MAC, TONI&GUY, ORDRE.com and Johnstons of Elgin for this year's regional events, along with multidisciplinary artist Jonathan Zawada who created the stunning trophies and decorative wares for each regional event.
Traditional military designs inform the collection of London designers Agi & Sam for the 2015/16 International Woolmark Prize