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International Woolmark Prize Inaugural Event

Press Release

New Delhi, May 10, 2012:  The Woolmark Company hosted an inaugural lunch to announce The International Woolmark Prize; a contest that crosses 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. The afternoon began with a welcome note by Mr. Amir Sheikh, Country Manager  - The Woolmark Company (India). He  introduced the prestigious jury for the contest while briefing the audience on the concept of the contest. It was followed by an introductory note by Simon Locks who announced the list of contesting 10 designers from India. He said “International Woolmark Prize” is an award for the next generation, shifting the focus from glamour to true talent as a way to highlight wool’s eco credentials. It is Woolmark’s social commitment, a sharing of resources to support local artisans”
Keeping with a long tradition of supporting individual excellence in design, the International Woolmark Prize aims to highlight the beauty of the Merino wool fibre at the hands of the world’s finest designers. Five regional awards will be held in Australia, China, India, Europe and the US. The winner from each region will receive A$50,000 as a contribution towards their next collection as well as an invitation to participate in the international final.
The winner of the international final will receive a further A$100,000 to assist in underwriting their next fashion show. In addition, the international winner will have their collection commercialized through key international retail partners including Harvey Nichols in the UK and Lane Crawford in China.
The Australian Wool Industry has supported many designer support programs dating back to the illustrious International Wool Secretariat (IWS) design award of the 1950’s which founded 2 relatively unknown designers of the time in Paris, Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld, through to the most recent incarnations by AWI such as the Protégé program in 2007 which aligned some of the worlds most established designers such as Karl Lagerfeld and Donatella Versace with young protégés of their choice. Most recently, the Woolmark Prize, which revived the original IWS awards, was held in Paris in 2008.
With the benefit of over 60 years of design award experience, The Woolmark Prize has been reinvented for a new generation through strategically tapping into the social media networks and establishing itself as the most innovative and cutting edge design award of our time.

The following designers have been nominated from India;

  1. Aneeth Arora
  2. Arjun Saluja
  3. Gaurav Gupta
  4. Pankaj and Nidhi
  5. Rahul Mishra
  6. Rimzim Dadu
  7. Ritesh Kumar
  8. Samant Chauhan
  9. Smita and Himanshu
  10. Zubair Kirmani
(L-R) Garuav Gupta, Himanshu Verma, Pradeep Hirani, Simon Locks, Amior Sheikh, Rahul Mishra, Aneeth Arora, Samat Chauhan, Zubair Kirmani, Arjun Saluja, Pankaj & Nidhi, and Ritesh Kumar
(L-R) Rimzim Dadu, Arjun Saluja
The regional awards will be held in July where the designers are required to present sketches of a Merino wool capsule collection comprising of 6 outfits with one full outfit to be produced. These collections will be judged by a panel of local and international experts. The India judging panel comprises some of the countries most respected industry representatives including:

  • Priya Tanna – Editor Vogue India
  • Simon P Lock – Founder of Australian Fashion Week
  • Sunil Sethi – President of Fashion Design Council of India
  • Pradeep Hirani – CMD of Kimaya Fashion Pvt Ltd.
Jury Panel IWP-(L-R) Simon Locks, Sunil Sethi, Pradeep Hirani, Amir Sheikh
Robert Langtry, The Woolmark Company’s global Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer explained, ‘The Australian wool industry has a rich history of supporting emerging talent in fashion. Australian Wool Innovation and The Woolmark Company, globally, have continued this tradition by creating innovative design support programs. This hindsight, paired with Woolmark’s global network and reach, has allowed us to undertake a project of this scale with the aim to educate and connect with fashion’s future leaders and to highlight outstanding design in Merino wool.’ 

The Woolmark logo was recently positioned first in Creative Reviews top logos of all time; it is one of the world's ten most well-known and a respected apparel-related brand with established relationships with the world’s leading designers and manufacturers. Partners and designers who are involved with the Woolmark Prize project receive the additional credibility and benefits of the ‘natural fibre’ message that has become such a valued incentive within the apparel industry and consumer psyche.

About The Woolmark Company:

Pradeep Hirani, Amir Sheikh - The Woolmark Company
The Woolmark is the world’s best known textile fibre brand, established in 1964.

The Woolmark brand is owned by Australian Wool Innovation (AWI), a not-for-profit company owned by over 29,000 woolgrowers. AWI’s vision is to be a significant contributor to a vibrant, stable and profitable wool industry providing the world with the best natural fibre. The company works throughout the global supply chain – from woolgrowers through to retailers.

The company mission is to enhance the profitability, international competitiveness and sustainability of the Australian wool industry; and increase demand and market access for Australian wool.

Merino wool provides stability, durability, softness and luxury to the tailoring industry. The fibre has long been a favourite of designers, but younger consumers, born in an era of ‘disposable’ fashion know too little about the natural benefits.

Wool is a 100% natural and renewable fibre. Sheep live on grass, water, fresh air and sunshine. Wool is a fibre that is grown – not manmade. Every year sheep produce a new fleece; making wool a renewable fibre source..

There is no finer feeling than Merino wool.

PS- I do not own any of the photos above

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