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Beyond the Bale : March 2013
4 2013 INTERNATIONAL WOOLMARK PRIZE The quality, versatility and modernity of Merino wool apparel was showcased to the world’s media last month at the final of the 2013 International Woolmark Prize – one of the most significant events in many years to promote wool in fashion. The International Woolmark Prize is a reincarnation of the award for excellence in design using wool that was created in 1953 by the International Wool Secretariat (IWS) to support emerging designers. That IWS award has an impressive alumni – the following year after it was established, a young Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent, now world famous and iconic designers, won IWS awards for their The winner of the 2013 International Woolmark Prize Christian Wijnants walking onto the stage, with two models wearing his winning designs, to collect his prize from AWI CEO Stuart McCullough. FAST FACTS l The modernity and quality of Merino wool apparel was showcased to the world’s media at the final of the 2013 International Woolmark Prize. l Christian Wijnants from Belgium was announced as the winner of the award at an event held last month during London Fashion Week. l The judging panel of the award included fashion icons Victoria Beckham, Donatella Versace, Diane von Furstenberg, Franca Sozzani and Tim Blanks. l An important element of the initiative is the commercialisation of Australian Merino wool products within leading retailers across the world. l AWI partnered with a large number of international fashion associations, retailers and media including Vogue, to generate integrity and publicity for the award. innovative designs. Over half a century on, Christian Wijnants was announced as the winner of the 2013 International Woolmark Prize. The fashion designer from Belgium was presented with the award at an event held on 16 February during London Fashion Week. THE COMPETITION The International Woolmark Prize has crossed 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. After a global search spanning 12 months, reaching across 16 countries and involving more than 70 designers nominated by fashion industry figures in their respective regions, the final six designers (who each won their regional competitions last year and therefore the right to compete at in the final) were: • Dion Lee – representing Australia • Ban Xiao Xue – representing China • Christian Wijnants – from Belgium representing Europe • Pankaj and Nidhi – representing India • DRESSEDUNDRESSED – representing Japan • Sophie Theallet – representing USA. At last month’s final, these six regional winners each showed a new six piece Merino wool collection to a panel of industry experts at the official event during London Fashion Week. The finalists also attended face-to- face interviews with the judging panel to present their designs, before showing their Merino wool collection on the catwalk to an audience of the most influential journalists and ‘names’ of the fashion world. The prize was AU$100,000 and the opportunity to be stocked in the most important boutiques around the globe 4 March 2013 BEYOND THE BALE