The Woolmark Company is reinforcing its commitment to supporting emerging design talent by enhancing the prize money for the prestigious International Woolmark Prize. The restructure of the award also shines a spotlight on the textile mills assisting in developing innovative wool fabric and yarn, with the introduction of an Innovation Award.
The newly introduced Innovation Award has been created to celebrate outstanding creative and innovative fabric or yarn development in wool. The Innovation Award aims to inspire finalists to be more experimental and creative when developing fabric or yarn for final collections and can be awarded to any of the 12 global finalists. The winner of the Innovation Award will be granted AU$100,000 as well as being presented with commercial opportunities. The textile mill responsible for the exciting development will also be promoted via The Woolmark Company’s global trade promotional program with benefits including global trade advertising, featuring in The Wool Lab and highlighted within The Woolmark Company's stand at global trade shows.
Each of the recently announced 65 global nominees competing in this year's regional events will receive AU$2000 to assist in the development of their submission piece, ahead of the regional finals to be held in Dubai, London, Milan, New York, Seoul and Sydney throughout July. In addition, each regional menswear and womenswear winner will this year receive AU$70,000 to go towards their final collection. Prize money for the two eventual winners has also increased, with the global menswear and womenswear winner each receiving AU$200,000.
“Due to increasing pressures on young designers, we have restructured our program spend with a greater focus on the design talent and our partners,” explains The Woolmark Company’s Managing Director Stuart McCullough
“Each year, I am truly amazed with what our finalists present to the judges. Just when you may think you've seen it all, along comes an exciting new fabric or innovative new yarn, and that's why we have established the Innovation Award. It not only keeps competition fierce but it also allows for our prestigious trade partners to get global recognition and ultimately increases the market share of wool. The Innovation Award also provides The Woolmark Company with another opportunity for The Woolmark Company to engage and celebrate the work of our trade partners.”
The Woolmark Company has commissioned Australian-born, Los Angeles-based multidisciplinary artist Jonathan Zawada to create the trophies for this year’s regional and final events, each crafted from marine debris bakelite. Developed by Ocean Collection, marine debris bakelite is a product created entirely from recycled plastic collected from Australian shorelines, and is characterised by a marbled quality.
“I am very passionate about reducing and re-using wherever possible, so along with creating the trophy from recycled materials I hope that the recipient of the awards will find the trophy sculptural and beautiful enough to enjoy as a meaningful and gratifying physical object,” said Zawada.
The global final trophies are made up of three individual parts that twist and link together to make up a singular solid form. The design of the regional winners’ trophies is extricated from that of the finalist winners’ trophies, taking one of the singular parts and treating it in isolation.
“I have always admired the iconic Woolmark logo design and in my trophy design I wanted to create a modern homage to the classic Woolmark icon without being too literal or simply to reproduce the icon.”