Awards season keeps on going. Today, the Woolmark Company has announced the U.S. nominees for it's prestigious International Woolmark Prize, which celebrates outstanding fashion talents from around the globe who showcase the beauty and versatility of Merino wool.
While the prize may not be immediately recognizable, its alums are, and they include Yves Saint Laurent, who took the honor when he was 18, and Karl Lagerfeld, who when he was 21. Long before the LVMH and Loewe prizes were around, Woolmark was an early champion of emerging talent.
Ten American-based brands have been nominated for the 2017/18 award: five for menswear, and five for womenswear. The menswear nominees are Death To Tennis, DYNE, Kenneth Ning, N-p-Elliott and Palmiers du Mal, with Andrea Jiapei Li, Claudia Li, PH5, Protagonist and ZAID AFFAS representing womenswear. W, it should be underlined, has been an early champion of several of the nominees, including PH5, Claudia Li, Palmiers du Mal, and Death to Tennis.
Internationally, 65 brands total have been nominated for the award, which has been restructured this year to enhance the prize money. Each of the 65 nominees will receive AU$2,000 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 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.
Additionally, a brand new "Innovation Award" has been introduced, to celebrate the most unique and creative fabric or yarn development from a finalist. The winner of the Innovation Award will be granted AU$100,000.
Last year, Gabriela Hearst took home the grand prize, after presenting a final collection inspired by World War II Italian journalist, author, and political interviewer Oriana Fallaci. The competition was first held in 1953 as an initiative of the International Wool Secretariat, it was the following year when it was won by Lagerfeld and Saint Laurent, an episode that is recounted in detail in Alicia Drake's beloved The Beautiful Fall.
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