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Beyond the Bale : September 2017
14 OFF FARM INTERNATIONAL WOOLMARK PRIZE REGIONAL FINAL The 12 emerging design talents to compete in the global finals of the International Woolmark Prize have been selected at regional competitions across the world, with events in: Asia; Australia & New Zealand; British Isles; Europe; Indian Subcontinent & the Middle East; and the USA. The International Woolmark Prize aims to increase the global demand for Australian Merino wool, by promoting the versatility of the fibre and aligning young talent with commercial opportunities and ongoing mentorship from industry heavyweights. It remains AWI’s most successful marketing strategy and provides design talent across the globe with the opportunity to be stocked in the world’s most influential retailers. New demand is generated not only from the loyalty to wool from the designers, but also from consumers who are experiencing the immediate presence of Woolmark-branded apparel in the world’s best boutiques and online retailers. “I think the International Woolmark Prize is a fantastic initiative to be able to support emerging designers and provide financial support, mentorship and expansion in retail stores,” explained Australia & New Zealand regional judge Nicole Warne, whose blog Gary Pepper Girl has more than 2.3 million followers. “It’s going to help the winners with global expansion in every way. I think it is the most prestigious award you could win and being Australian I feel very connected and very proud of what Woolmark stands for.” The judging of the Australia & New Zealand regional final was held at AWI’s office, followed by an industry gathering where Melbourne-based menswear label BLAIRARCHIBALD and womenswear label Harman Grubiša were announced as the winners. Incorporating an old Army blanket and recycled wool fabric into his winning coat, Blair Archibald was able to uphold the sustainable practices which lie at the heart of his label to produce trousers made from 17.5 micron and a turtleneck which uses 21 micron. “It’s completely gratifying to be part of something that’s so innovating in itself,” said Blair Archibald. “It’s my job as a designer to be really informative and educational with my clients and the public. To be able to win something like this means I can continue with sustainable practices and be really proud to be an Australian-made brand.” Praised for its versatility – the 16 micron wool dress transforms into a clutch – Harman Grubiša was inspired by the urban nomad, with the winning look satisfying the needs of the Harman Grubiša woman. “It’s a real honour to even be nominated and included, and we just feel extremely privileged that Woolmark exists,” said Madeleine Harman and Jessica Grubiša. “It encourages designers to think about the material they use and to be part of that journey is so wonderful.” MORE INFORMATION www.woolmarkprize.com As the 2017/18 International Woolmark Prize regional finals wrap up, we take a look at which emerging design talents will compete at the global finals in January. Designs from International Woolmark Prize Australia & New Zealand regional finalists: AMXANDER, Chris Ran Lin, menswear winner BLAIRARCHIBALD, Elissa McGowan, Thomas Puttick and womenswear winner Harman Grubiša. The Australia & New Zealand regional finalists relax after the judging. Left to right: Thomas Puttick, Elissa McGowan, Madeleine Harman, Chris Ran Lin, Jessica Grubiša, Rong Chen, Blair Archibald, Jason Alexander Pang.
In the Shops - September 2017