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Beyond the Bale : June 2014
AWI has expanded its successful International Woolmark Prize to include a menswear section as well as a womenswear section, to help further increase awareness of Australian Merino amongst the fashion industry, media and consumers across the world. The International Woolmark Prize is the pinnacle of AWI's activities to promote the use of Australian Merino wool in fashion. The competition has gained extraordinary momentum and evolved into a highly coveted, internationally recognised award. Over the past two years, the initiative has generated more than $91 million in editorial value. "The addition of a menswear award for this year signifies the strength and following of the International Woolmark Prize and its impact over the past two years across the globe," explained AWI CEO Stuart McCullough. "The initiative is designed to generate long-term incremental demand for Australian wool by connecting emerging designers, emerging markets and consumers with Australia's premium natural fibre. "Previous winners of the competition, Christian Wijnants from Belgium and Rahul Mishra from India, have both experienced exponential increase in the turnover of their businesses, becoming international names overnight after their respective wins in London in 2013 and Milan in 2014." AWI has announced the nominees of the 2014/15 International Woolmark Prize. Five regional awards will be held in Asia, Australia, Europe, India & Middle East and the USA to select the ten finalists, each receiving a financial contribution of $50,000 towards their next collection as well as an invitation to participate in the international final. The five menswear finalists will compete in their final at London Collections: Men in January 2015 and the five womenswear finalists will A design by the 2013/14 International Woolmark Prize winner Rahul Mishra. FAST FACTS l To help further increase awareness of Australian Merino wool in the global fashion industry, the International Woolmark Prize has expanded this year to include a menswear award as well as a womenswear award. l The International Woolmark Prize aims to increase the demand for Australian Merino wool by connecting emerging designers with the fibre and showcasing its modernity and quality. l Over the past two years, the initiative has generated more than $91 million in editorial value. International Woolmark Prize expands compete in Beijing in March 2015. The winners of both the menswear and womenswear finals will receive a further $100,000 to assist with fabric sourcing and marketing of their collections. In addition, both international winners will have their collection commercialised through key international retail partners including David Jones in Australia, Harvey Nichols in the UK, Joyce in China, Saks Fifth Avenue in the USA, Colette in France, 10 Corso Como in Italy and My Theresa online. The Australian regional award will be held on 16 July 2014 at which the designers are required to present sketches of a Merino wool capsule collection comprising six outfits, with one full outfit to be produced. The collections will be judged by a panel of local and international experts. AWI recognises the support of IMG Australia as the official nominating body in Australia. Globally, the award has been supported by key fashion councils including the Council of Fashion Designers America, British Fashion Council, Chambre Syndicale de la Couture, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Madrid and Fashion Council NL. The IWP now boasts impressive alumni of the most important designers from around the globe, as well as partnerships established with some of the most successful leading designers including Victoria Beckham, Diane von Furstenberg, Alexander Wang, Narciso Rodriguez, and Richard Nicoll. A feature-length documentary titled Dream Weavers has been released following the journey of the five finalists who competed in the global final of the 2013/14 International Woolmark Prize. In Dream Weavers, film-maker Anthony Lau travels to the designers' homes, taking the audience to Hong Kong, Australia, England, India and the USA, to reveal the designers' thoughts, anxieties, hopes and dreams on the road to the final in Milan. The 25 minute documentary is available for viewing at www.merino.com/dream- weavers and partner websites including Vogue.com More information: www.woolmarkprize.com 10 OFF-FARM June 2014 BEYOND THE BALE