The Woolmark Prize flips the script with open applications

The Woolmark Prize has changed its selection process, opening the competition to applications from one and all. Until now, to enter the famous international competition, designers had to be presented by a selection committee made up of experts and representatives from different industry bodies. Now, it's as easy as applying online through the woolmarkprize.com site before the February 28 deadline. 


Looks from the 12 finalists of the 2017-18 Woolmark Prize - Pitti Immagine

"The idea is to open the competition up and allow young talents who might not necessarily have been identified before to have a greater chance of emerging. There are, of course, criteria which must be respected, as we're looking for designers who are able to guarantee production without being very well known," explained Woolmark's marketing and communication officer, Francesca Ginnasi, to FashionNetwork.com. 

Candidates should have a career of a maximum of eight years in the fashion industry and must have sold a minimum of four collections. The application procedure is based entirely online and, around April-May 2018, a first round of selection will be carried out, highlighting the most interesting profiles. At this point, countries may well be represented by more than one nominee.         

As before, however, the final will welcome two finalists from each region (Australia, Asia, Europe, the British Isles, the Middle East and the United States), one for womenswear, the other for menswear. The winners of the women's ready-to-wear and menswear prizes will receive 200,000 Australian dollars each, while whoever claims the new innovation prize will take home 100,000 Australian dollars. 

The prize's promoter, The Woolmark Company – the global Merino wool authority born of the Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) and owner of the quality-assurance Woolmark logo – has also announced a partnership with Adidas, launching the sportswear-based Woolmark Performance Challenge. 

This annual competition will focus on the development of innovative products using Australian Merino wool, and targets university students from Europe and North America. The winner will receive 10,000 euros and will be given the chance to undertake a three-month internship at Adidas. 

Translated by Robin Driver

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