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Beyond the Bale : December 2018
product engineering, to textile futures, innovation and new applications – are all invited to take part in the competition. “We need to develop an alternative to the massive use of man-made fibres used in sports apparel. With the newest innovations within Merino wool we can now create high-performance products with low environmental impact.” 2018 finalist Christel Thue Høgsted, University of Oregon, USA “The students are encouraged to look beyond existing product offerings and think long- term. They are asked to consider how the impact of technological advances and shifts in consumer attitudes, environmental and/or cultural issues, would affect their concept and its value,” Stuart said. “The Woolmark Performance Challenge not only provides a unique learning experience for the students to push the limits of product innovation, but also provides the winner with a financial reward and potential for further collaboration with The Woolmark Company and adidas.” A LEARNING EXPERIENCE The students are provided with an extensive range of educational resources about wool – to not only arm them with information to assist in their competition entry, but to also encourage and inspire them to think about wool in their future careers. To kick-start their journey in the competition and stimulate their imagination, The Woolmark Company encouraged all the 510 students who entered the 2018 competition to take the company’s online Wool Appreciation Course. In addition, a series of monthly webinars were delivered to students by industry experts – discussing topics such as the benefits and future of wool, through to the importance of innovation and sustainability. Once submissions for this year’s competition closed in May, judges deliberated hard as to who should be the 10 finalists. The chosen finalists were from universities in the UK, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland and the USA. The Woolmark Company hosted a two-day workshop in London in September to ensure each of the finalists was ready to present their ideas to the judging panel at the finals event in Denver in November. The two-day workshop brought together experts from the sports, textiles and fashion industries, including former Topman Creative Director, Gordon Richardson; Eco-Age founder and creative director, Livia Firth; outdoor apparel company Finisterre’s founder, Tom Kay; and head of fashion and technology at Stoll, Joerg Hartmann. “I don’t feel like this is a competition at all. We’ve formed a community to share knowledge for shaping the future of sports.” 2018 finalist Youngmi Kim Institut Français de la Mode, France AND THE WINNER IS... Alicia Ferreira de Sousa from L’École de la Maille de Paris was announced the winner of the inaugural Woolmark Performance Challenge at a special event during last month’s Outdoor Retailer trade show in Denver, Colorado. The award was judged by a highly respected panel of judges including Senior Design Director at adidas, Tillmann Studrucker; Talent Acquisition Manager at adidas, Louis de Vos; Special Projects Editor at Sports Illustrated, Jamie Lisanti; Editor in Chief of outdoor industry news publisher SNEWS, Kristin Hostetter; Chief Innovation Officer at Future Tech Lab, Amanda Parkes; Creative Director & Owner of Dyne (winner of this year’s International Woolmark Prize Innovation Award), Christopher Bevans; and AWI’s General Manager of Processing Innovation & Education Extension, Julie Davies. “My main goal was to make a textile that connects and communicates with the body; and Merino wool supports the wearer’s needs in any situation or environment to enhance performance.” 2018 winner Alicia Ferreira de Sousa L’École de la Maille de Paris, France Given the possibility of the winning entry being taken up for further commercial collaboration, we can’t reveal the details of the entry just yet. But the judges’ comments might give you a hint of what the entry offered. “As an aerobic gymnast, Alicia brought her knowledge of the body’s movement and combined it with science to highlight the functionality and benefits of Australian Merino wool’s properties. She found a way to bring this together with a unique and technical innovation, that is applicable to many sports,” said judge Jamie Lisanti of Sports Illustrated. Fellow judge Tillmann Studrucker of adidas commented: “It is incredible how many great innovations we saw from students in this open collaboration between adidas and The Woolmark Company. It was not easy to nominate the final winner. In the end, we went for the person who shared the number one principle of our founder Adi Dassler – ‘only the best for the athlete’ – helping them to perform better in their sport using the benefits of wool. I want to thank everyone involved in making this competition a success and for giving these students a platform to show their talent.” As well as the opportunity to sell her winning idea, Alicia will receive a cash prize of €10,000, a three- month internship with adidas, along with ongoing industry and training support from The Woolmark Company. MORE INFORMATION Registrations for the next edition of the competition are now open and tertiary students from across the world, including Australia, are invited to apply at www.woolmarkchallenge.com. Former Topman Creative Director and British Fashion Council member Gordon Richardson mentors the 10 finalists as part of a two-day workshop hosted by The Woolmark Company in London. The inaugural Woolmark Performance Challenge winner Alicia Ferreira de Sousa. Photo credit: Scott Martin/Hed Hi Media OFF FARM 13
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