British GQ Editor Dylan Jones, Paul Smith, PUBLIC SCHOOL designers Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow alongside The Woolmark Company Managing Director Stuart McCullough. PHOTO: Darren Gerrish
An esteemed judging panel including iconic menswear designer Paul Smith and Tim Blanks, Editor-at-Large for Style.com, sat alongside representatives from IWP retail partners to select Public School - representing the USA - as the winner.
"What was savvy about PUBLIC SCHOOL was their skill with manufacturing and commerciality," explained Paul Smith soon after the announcement. "Many items were fully fashioned, so for sportswear they could fit the shape of the body and could work for some of the major sportswear brands. They've already invested in production; the USA has a great focus on forward thinking beyond just designing it."
After a global search, reaching across 21 countries and involving more than 60 designers, five menswear design talents reached the final round: SISE from Japan, Asger Juel Larsen from Denmark, Australia's STRATEAS.CARLUCCI, The Emperor 1688 from the UAE and America's PUBLIC SCHOOL.
Alongside prestigious recognition, the winner receives a financial contribution of AU$100,000 and the opportunity to be stocked in the most important retailers around the globe including Harvey Nichols, Saks Fifth Avenue, 10 Corso Como, JOYCE, Isetan Mitsukoshi, David Jones and MATCHESFASHION.COM.
"The great thing about PUBLIC SCHOOL is the way in which they have mixed the traditional with the contemporary, creating an incredibly vibrant collection," said Dylan Jones, Editor of British GQ. "Their competition entry was seriously impressive."
PUBLIC SCHOOL's Merino wool collection, that won the prestigious award, was based on craftsmanship and showcased the natural characteristics of Merino wool. The designers aimed to shed light on how special the fibre was.
The designers explained: "It feels unbelievable to win the prize. We are the first US winners in the competition so we are really proud and it's incredibly meaningful to us."
The collection will be available in partner retailers globally from August 2015.