3 winners for the International Woolmark Prize

Yesterday was a great day for three emerging designers! At Stazione Leopolda in Florence, during the first day of Pitti Uomo, they were rewarded with the prestigious  International Woolmark Prize 2017-18.

Selected from 65 initial candidates from more than 60 countries and then 12 finalists among the most interesting new fashion brands and young designers, the winners of the global final of this famous prize were judged by a highly esteemed jury, including Emanuele Farneti (editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia), Miroslava Duma (founder and CEO of Future Tech Lab), Amber Valletta (top model), Phillipp Lim (fashion designer) and many representatives of the Woolmark retail partner network (like Harvey Nichols or mytheresa.com).
“Today we saw the world’s best emerging designers present a true celebration of fashion design and innovation, as they shone the spotlight on Australian Merino wool” (Stuart McCullough, The Woolmark Company Managing Director)
The jury members of International Woolmark Prize 2017-18

We met the 12 finalists in these previous articles, here for womenswear and here for menswear. They were: SixLee and KYE (Asia), Blairarchibald and Harman Grubisa (Australia and New Zealand), Matthew Miller and Le Kilt (British Isles), L’Homme Rouge and David Laport (Europe), Antar-Agni and Bodice (India-Pakistan-Middle East).

Three prizes were given during the event at Stazione Leopolda: for womenswear the winner is Bodice, for menswear is Matthew Miller and the Innovation Award went to Dyne.

Both Bodice and Matthew Miller will receive a price of AUD 200000 as financial support for their business, plus the Woolmark certification for the winning collections, industry mentor support and the amazing opportunity to sell their collections in the most prestigious fashion stores of the Woolmark network. Dyne will receive a prize of AUD 100000 and interesting commercial opportunities.

The designer Ruchika Sachdeva is the founder and creative director of the brand BODICE, which represented the Indian sub-continent and Middle East in the competition. Able to mix the Australian Merino wool with the traditions of her land and textile experimentations, Ruchika was inspired by her grandmother’s technique of using upcycled saris to produce quilts. 
Ruchika Sachdeva, designer of BODICE, with her models

Collaborating with local hand weavers and encouraging them to a more unconventional use to weaving techniques, she approaches to fashion with great consciousness and a holistic belief. BODICE’s collection represents the quintessence of modern woman, who  wants to respect environment and natural life believing in the spiritual power of clothing to contribute to our wellness.
BODICE's collection
Natural and bio dyed fabrics with a delicate and elegant color palette (navy blue, forest green, pastel colors) are completed by details like buttons in wood, coconut shell and seashell from renewable sources.
“This is a huge opportunity to expand on what I do and keep doing it. To get the chance to work with these retailers is incredible” (Ruchika Sachdeva, creative director of BODICE)
Detail of a BODICE's wool jacket

MATTHEWMILLER is the winner of the award for menswear, with a collection, inspired by the designer and philosopher Dieter Rams, that is a perfect combination of functionality, innovation and commercial viability. For Miller the shape of clothes must follow the function and be adaptable to each conditions of natural environment.

Matthew Miller winning the Woolmark Prize
Practicality is the keyword of to understand the designer’s vision, through multi-layers and multifunctional elements that can turn the garments into accessories for warmer climates, while the interesting entry-prizes and the street-style appeal of the outfits made this collection really appreciable.
Matthew Miller's collection
The designer gives great attention to sustainability and high quality of materials, using Australian Merino wool in different ways, weights and innovative treatments, like the water-resistant fabrics, and mixing it with recycled materials from Marble waste that substitutes plastic elements.
“Winning this award is Amazing, it’s a dream come true. To be listed alongside the previous winners of this prize is next level” (Matthew Miller)
A detail of the Matthew Miller's creation

Christopher Bevans with his brand DYNE wins the Innovation Award, a special prize powered by Future Tech Lab of the famous entrepreneur Miroslava Duma to celebrate the most innovative use of wool fabrics and a respectful and sustainable approach to design.

Christopher Bevans, designer of DYNE, between his two models

Inspired by snowboard style of the 80s, the collection includes NFC chips in the water-resistant wool fabrics and clothes with technological details, like reflective overlays and inserts, laser-cuts and two-ways stretch fabrics. This collection with its zip-up hoodies, the track pants, the trench coats and the water-repellant wool bomber jacket, represents a new way to treat wool yarns and textiles, a practical and sporty style incredible modern but also with a really cool vintage taste.

DYNE's collection
The brand demonstrates how is important today to be more close to customers needs, through garments that fuses comfort and digital connection to improve their safety in case of avalanches.
“It’s a honour. We pushed so hard and to be recognised for this is incredible. It doesn’t get more special” (Christopher Bevans, creative director of DYNE)
A detail of DYNE's creation