Saul Nash was today announced the winner of the 2022 International Woolmark Prize at a special event held in London. MMUSOMAXWELL is also celebrating after being awarded the Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation. The winners each receive AU$200,000 and AU$100,000 respectively as well ongoing support from the industry and Woolmark Prize retail partners.
An expert jury including Ben Gorham, Carine Roitfeld, Edward Enninful OBE, Ibrahim Kamara, Marc Newson CBE, Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski, Naomi Campbell, Pieter Mulier, Riccardo Tisci, Shaway Yeh, Sinéad Burke and Tim Blanks selected the winners. The announcement was hosted by Nick Grimshaw and was also attended by Jourdan Dunn, Pixie Geldof, Susie Lau and Erin O’Connor.
“It’s great to see the continuing shifts in fashion as young dynamic creatives are supported and nurtured across the globe, from Africa to China to the UK. Anyone who knows me will know that I’ve been supporting young talent at every opportunity, so I am very happy to be part of this initiative,” said Naomi Campbell. “Everything about the wool industry is self-supportive. It’s all about partnering the natural resources of the farms with the well-being of their sheep. I am very happy to be involved with Woolmark.”
The International Woolmark Prize this year celebrated the art of play, partnering with the Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum. The immersive final showroom in London was inspired by the sculptural playscapes of Isamu Noguchi that offered a radical potential for physical and social interaction, showcasing the seven finalists’ collections with colourful, architectural displays. The showroom also featured two iconic original play sculptures by the artist. Each six-look Merino wool collection was a true celebration of forward-thinking design, with finalists experimenting with textiles, design and responsible business practices to drive change and innovation for a cleaner, brighter future.
“The International Woolmark Prize is the jewel in our crown,” explains The Woolmark Company Managing Director John Roberts. “It connects our Australian woolgrowers with the global fashion and textiles industry and in turn highlights the beauty, versatility, and modernity of Australian wool. We're proud of the relationships fostered between our seven finalists, prestigious judging panel and supply chain network who have mentored these designers on their Woolmark Prize journey and hope these connections continue in the future.”
Saul Nash awarded the 2022 International Woolmark Prize
London-based designer Saul Nash was praised for his modern use of Merino wool, bridging a gap between active solutions and more formal requirements.
“Everyone did a great job and could have been a winner,” said Riccardo Tisci. “But what Saul did, coming from a ballet background to replace lycra with wool was really incredible.”
With a true sense of discovery, this collection exposed Nash to the benefits of Merino wool in activewear, allowing him to develop materials which have enhanced the quality of his designs without compromising their technical DNA. With a focus on minimising waste, and emphasising movement and performance, Saul Nash’s modern interpretation of knitwear challenges preconceived ideas surrounding sportswear.
“Words cannot describe what this means to me,” said Saul Nash after the announcement. “In such a short space if time I am so grateful for what I have gained in the past eight months. This really is the cherry on top for everything Woolmark has done for me.”
MMUSOMAXWELL awarded the 2022 Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation
From South Africa, MMUSOMAXWELL’s winning collection was committed to reducing its environmental impact and upskilling traditional craftsmanship.
“When you meet certain people you immediately have love at first sight,” explains Carine Roitfeld. “I love what MMUSOMAXWELL is doing and how they explain their work. They have a dream and what they are doing is not just for South Africa, but for a modern, western woman. I think Karl would have loved to have spoken with them today and am sure he would be very happy to give this award to them.”
Sourcing local raw materials and end-to-end production, MMUSOMAXWELL took an artisanal approach to its collection. Each item promotes slow and small batch production through use of local artisans to counteract the over-consumption pandemic and allows for greater product traceability. The jury praised the design duo for their passion, courage and committed to introducing a new skillset to South African manufacturers.
“Winning means everything to us,” said MMUSOMAXWELL designers Maxwell Boko and Mmuso Potsane. “It allows us to continue working with artisans and to further explore with Merino wool, which is fantastic for us. It’s mind blowing.”
Supply Chain Award
Celebrating an outstanding contribution by a trade partner, this year’s Supply Chain Award was presented to Netherlands-based Knitwear Lab. A research and knowledge hub for innovative, designdriven and sustainable knitwear solutions, Knitwear Lab was recognised for its contribution to the International Woolmark Prize and for giving access to technology and R&D in flat-bed knitting to emerging brands in a way that is specific to their needs. Standout developments include innovative 100% Merino wool fabrics developed with winner Saul Nash - such as a compression wool hybrid jersey/airtex mesh knit or a double-faced jersey with integrated mesh holes - offering high stretch, strength and breathability. These breakthrough fabrics allowed Saul Nash to bring his vision to life. Knitwear Lab also further developed its relationship with finalist Ahluwalia, exploring her concept of Nollywood through innovative knitwear true to the Ahluwalia brand.
2022 International Woolmark Prize
The seven finalists for this year’s award were: Ahluwalia, United Kingdom; EGONLAB, France; Jordan Dalah, Australia; MMUSOMAXWELL, South Africa; Peter Do, USA; RUI, China; and Saul Nash, United Kingdom. Each showcased a commitment to upholding the prize’s pillars of product excellence, innovation, supply chain transparency, sustainability and inclusivity.
The Woolmark Company’s Innovation Academy has provided finalists with a robust education and mentoring program, offering unparalleled access to International Woolmark Prize partners, manufacturers and mentors across the supply chain who have supported the designers’ product development, research, business and sustainability strategies. The program fosters more meaningful and sustainable product outcomes for both the designer and the manufacturer. In addition, each finalist has completed a Common Objective Sustainability Policies and Roadmap as part of a commitment to better industry practices.
Finalists will now continue their International Woolmark Prize journey, joining a prestigious alumni of more than 400, and will be presented with commercial opportunities via our Retail Partner Network.
The Woolmark Company is pleased to have the support of Innovation Academy partners Tilting the Lens, Common Objective, Queen of Raw, Aquapak and Close to Clothes, it’s international supply chain partners including BYBORRE, D-House, Knitwear Lab and studioe®, as well as official hotel partner The London EDITION, hair partner Mr.Smith and Sunday Riley as the make-up partner directed by Michelle Dacillo.
The 2022 International Woolmark Prize jury:
- Tim Blanks - Editor-at-Large, Business of Fashion
- Sinéad Burke - Educator, Advocate and Founder, Tilting the Lens
- Naomi Campbell - Model, Activist & Businesswoman
- Edward Enninful OBE - Editor-in-Chief, British Vogue and European Editorial Director, Vogue
- Ben Gorham - Founder & Creative Director, Byredo
- Ibrahim Kamara - Editor-in-Chief, Dazed
- Pieter Mulier - Creative Director, Alaïa
- Marc Newson CBE - Industrial Designer
- Carine Roitfeld - Founder & Editor-in-Chief, CR Fashion Book
- Riccardo Tisci – Chief Creative Officer, Burberry
- Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski - Artistic Director, Hermès Women’s Ready-to-wear
- Shaway Yeh - Founder, yehyehyeh & Group Style Editorial Director, Modern Media Group
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