International Woolmark Prize: Prestigious judging panel announced

30 November 2012

An award for excellence in design using wool was created in 1953 by the International Wool Secretariat to support emerging designers. The following year, two young designers won for their innovative designs highlighting the versatility of wool. These two designers were Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent.

Over half a century on, the final of the most recent incarnation of the award - the International Woolmark Prize - will be presented during London Fashion Week in February. The finalists, who have emerged from a total of seventy applicants nominated by fashion industry figures in their respective regions are; Sophie Theallet from the US, Christian Wijnants from Europe (Belgium), Ban Xiao Xiu from China, Dion Lee from Australia, DRESSEDUNDRESSED from Japan and Pankaj and Nidhi from India.

The prize, $100,000 AUD ($105,000 USD) and placement of the winning collection in top boutiques around the globe including Bergdorf Goodman in the USA, Harvey Nichols in the UK, 10 Corso Como in Italy, Joyce in China, Eickoff in Germany and David Jones in Australia, has generated significant interest worldwide and has evolved into a highly coveted, internationally recognised award, presented by peers and mentors to the future leaders of the industry.

The international final of the award will be held on February 16 and presented as part of London Fashion Week, thanks to the British Fashion Council, the UK nominating body for the prize. The final judging panel is made up of eight of the most important and influential people in fashion, each one a pillar of the global fashion industry.

Victoria Beckham image credit: Anna Bauer

International judging panel (pictured clockwise from top left):

  • Diane von Furstenberg, Co-Chairman and Founder, Diane von Furstenberg Studio LP
  • Donatella Versace, Creative Director and Vice President of Gianni Versace S.p.A.
  • Tim Blanks, Editor-at-Large
  • Franca Sozzani, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Italia, L’Uomo Vogue Italia and Editorial Director of Condé Nast Italia. “Goodwill Ambassador for Fashion 4 Development” for the UN
  • Victoria Beckham

Retail partners judging panel:

  • Andrew Keith, President of JOYCE and Lane Crawford
  • Carla Sozzani, Owner 10 Corso Como
  • Paula Reed, Creative Director Harvey Nichols

“Since the regional awards in July 2012, the International Woolmark Prize has gained extraordinary momentum and support, highlighted by the announcement of the most important names in the industry on the final judging panel,” explained Stuart McCullough, CEO of Australian Wool Innovation.

“This prize speaks the international language of fashion and reaffirms the deep connection the Woolmark holds within the global fashion industry.”

For more information on the prize go to:

About the International Woolmark Prize:

The International Woolmark Prize crosses borders and cultures by seeking outstanding and emerging talent from around the world, aligning the support of emerging designers with the evolution of emerging countries.

In keeping with a long tradition of supporting individual excellence in design, the International Woolmark Prize aims to highlight the beauty of the Merino wool fibre at the hands of the world’s finest designers.

The award is supported internationally by key fashion councils including the Council of Fashion Designers America, British Fashion Council, Chambre Syndicale De La Couture, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Madrid and Premsela Foundation.

The regional judging panels have included esteemed industry representatives such as Alexandra Shulman - Editor-in-Chief Vogue UK, Tim Blanks - Editor at Large, Alber Elbaz - Artistic Director Lanvin, Angelica Cheung - Vogue China editor-in-chief and designers included Narciso Rodriguez, Richard Nicholl and Giles Deacon.

For further information, please contact:

Melissa Grace
Ph: +61 2 8295 3127
M: +61 416 196 379