Thursday, 12 July 2012

International Woolmark Prize

How to reinvent a traditional fabric in order to compete with the allure of shimmering and hi-tech textiles? This is the challenge embraced by designers across the world, who are creating capsule collections featuring the most beautiful Merino wool.

Christian Winjants (Belgium) - European winner - and Jan Taminiau (Netherlands)

"Wool is unique, so modern but so rich in history. Luxurious but functional. After the war, there was nothing but wool, so everything, even wedding dresses, was made from it." Vivienne Westwood

The overall winner of the International Woolmark Prize, to be announced in February 2013 at London Fashion Week, will receive a $100,000 sponsorship of their own fashion week show and commercial opportunities with the world's most influential retailers.

CO|TE (Italy) and Ipek Arnas (Turkey)

This is undoubtedly a golden ticket to the fashion industry. The award-winners in 1954 included Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld so this may be the discovery of the next generation of great creative minds who will rule the fashion stratosphere.

The regional awards (Australia, China, India, Europe and US) are being held this month and today was the judging event for Europe at the Hospital Club, in Convent Garden. 

Maria Barros (Spain) and Hana Zárubová (Czech Republic)

The star studded judging panel included Alber Elbaz, the celebrated artistic director for Lanvin, British and German Vogue editors, Alexandra Shulman and Christiane ARp, fashion designer Giles Deacon, Dean and Dan Caten, the duo behind DSQUARED2 and Tim Blanks, editor-at-large for

"A talented designer cannot be taught, it's about trusting your intuition, hard work and having a good team of people to work with. You don't want to be stubborn, it's important to listen to others but above all, believe in yourself." Alber Elbaz 

Albert Elbaz, Artistic Director for Lanvin 

The event, moderated by Colin McDowell, fashion journalist and author, featured selected pieces from different European nominees. It was an impressive display of talent with distinctive interpretations of wool as a creative platform.

Christian Winjants based in Antwerp, Belgium, is the lucky European winner. After working as creative assistant for Dries Van Noten in Antwerp and Angelo Tarlazzi in Paris, he launched his own brand in 2003 and has been presenting his collections during Paris Fashion Week ever since.   

He will now receive a financial contribution towards his next collection as well as an invitation to participate in the international final. Best of luck!

Colin McDowell, Christian Winjants and Alber Elbaz 

Other related blog posts:
Yves Saint Laurent: Life, Love and Art
Jonathan Saunders: Fashion Fund Winner
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