Seven of the world's most promising emerging design talents have been selected for the 2022 International Woolmark Prize, including one Australian.
The finalists are Australian designer Jordan Dalah, Ahluwalia and Saul Nash, both from the United Kingdom, EGONLAB from France, MMUSOMAXWELL from South Africa, Peter Do from the USA and Rui from China.
In July 2021, hundreds of applications were reviewed by an esteemed panel of industry members and The Woolmark Company to select the seven finalists.
AWI CEO John Roberts said the company was "thrilled to introduce the next generation of creative game-changers to take part in the 2022 International Woolmark Prize".
"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," he said.
Each finalist will receive a $60,000 grant for the development of a Merino wool collection and will be supported by the program's education and mentoring initiative, the Innovation Academy.
The seven finalists will present a Merino wool collection for Autumn/Winter 2022 highlighting transparency throughout their supply chain and, alongside partner Common Objective, will build a sustainability roadmap with the winners to to be announced in April 2022.
One finalist will be awarded the International Woolmark Prize, worth $200,000, while another will receive the $100,000 Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation will be awarded to another finalist, with the winner receiving $100,000.
The Woolmark Supply Chain Award will also be presented, celebrating outstanding contribution from a trade partner driving wool supply chain innovation.
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Sydney-based womenswear designer Jordan Dalah is the first Australian to be selected as a finalist for the Woolmark Prize in three years.
Dalah said from his early fashion career days as a student at Central Saint Martins, he has always followed the Woolmark Prize.
"This year felt right to apply for the Woolmark prize because I feel that for the past couple of years I have really been focusing on making sure that my brand and my vision for it has a really strong identity and point of view," he said.
"Now that I have successfully built its strong and uncompromisingly bold aesthetic and managed to find a perfect balance between its commerciality and its nuance I feel like an opportunity like the International Woolmark Prize is something I am ready to pursue."
Dalah said he finds working with Merino wool jersey "an absolute joy".
"Because it is a natural fibre it feels and looks different to other jerseys," he said
"It has fine specks of natural slubbing in it that gives it character and also takes colour and dye really beautifully.
"Using Merino wool jersey feels like cheating sometimes because the fabric does a lot of the work for you.
"It is a pleasure to work with fabrics like Merino wool that elevate my garments.
Dalah uses Merino wool to make all of his leggings, stockings and more intricate undergarment, a move he says elevates the whole collection.
"One of the key reasons why I use Merino wool in both spring summer and autumn winter collections is because of its ability to regulate the temperature of the body," he said.
"It adapts to the cool weather by keeping you warm and insulated whilst also remains breathable for air circulation when it's hotter.
"The amount of Merino wool and the thickness of it is what influences whether it is used for spring summer or autumn winter collections, but the breathability makes it really popular within my collections."
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