Prizes have the power to change a young designer's fate from bad to good. The winner of the International Woolmark Prize 2022, for example, will receive AU$200,000 – an injection of cash that will provide the foundation for developing into a fully-fledged brand. This year, the theme of the prize is 'play', meaning that the panel of industry members were looking for forward-thinking, innovative and experimental designers. The seven finalists, all in this vein, have now been announced: Ahluwalia, EGONLAB, Jordan Dalah, MMUSOMAXWELL, Peter Do, Rui, and Saul Nash.
The competition is only one element of the prize; all finalists will receive a grant of AU$60,000 for the development of a Merino wool collection, which will then be shown during the A/W 22 season. The objectives will include highlighting transparency throughout their supply chain and building a sustainability roadmap. 'As the award continues to evolve, our aim is to support designers to think beyond today, highlighting the innovation, versatility and sustainability of Merino wool and showcase its basis for new technologies to meet the discerning needs of tomorrow’s customer,' says Australian Wool Innovation CEO John Roberts.
Last year, Yorkshire-based womenswear designer Matty Bovan won both the International Woolmark Prize and the Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation. 'Being a part of the International Woolmark Prize has really helped elevate my brand and elevate my awareness and knowledge of how I operate as a business and as a label. It’s been amazing and I have loved every minute of it,' said Bovan at the time.