Fashion designers innovate with wool

9 December 2015

Innovative designs, experimental thinking and cutting-edge wool fashion come together annually for the prestigious International Woolmark Prize. Leading the pack for the world's best emerging menswear designers are 6 labels upping the ante for Australian Merino wool.

As part of its annual International Woolmark Prize fashion competition, The Woolmark Company brings together design talent from around the world to reimagine the possibilities of Merino wool while encouraging remarkable results.

While a directional and modern design that has the potential to generate media and retail support are key criteria for the awards, so is a demonstrable expertise with fabric and textile innovation.

All the finalists that won the six 2015/16 regional finals (Asia; Australia; the British Isles; Europe; India, Pakistan and Middle East; and the USA) excelled in this regard and their final collections are eagerly awaited.

The six menswear regional winners will compete in Florence, Italy, on 13 January 2016 at the Pitti Uomo trade show – arguably the world’s most important platform for men’s design. The six womenswear regional winners will compete in the finals being held during fashion week in New York in February.

Showcased below are examples of innovations that the six menswear finalists have already incorporated in their International Woolmark Prize collections.

The finalists have certainly set the bar high for creativity and innovation, each incorporating into their unique designs an evolution of Merino wool.

Colour felting, Agi & Sam, British Isles: A process of applying colour yarn directly to cloth using needles to blend two material into one.

Water & dirt repellency, Jonathan Christopher, The Netherlands: 100% Merino wool and wool denim are specially treated to repel water and dirt.

Hand dyeing, Suketdhir, India: Different techniques of dyeing Merino wool fibres to create subtle gradations of unique shades of blue.

Teflon coating, P. Johnson, Australia: Merino wool was specially treated with Teflon coating for additional water repellency.

Needle punching, Munsoo Kwon, South Korea: Two wool fabrics are combined and blended smoothly together using a needle punching technique.

Pattern weaving, Siki Im, USA: Specially woven Merino wool made to alter the directional lines of pinstripe fabric.