May 16, 2023
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Adeju Thompson of Lagos Space Programme wins Woolmark Prize 2023

May 16, 2023

Adeju Thompson, founder of Nigeria-based Lagos Space Programme, has won the International Woolmark Prize for 2023, nabbing first place in the oldest and most esteemed fashion award.

Adeju Thompson, founder of Nigeria-based Lagos Space Programme - Courtesy

In something of a surprise choice, the relatively unknown Nigerian talent won a tight final, staged this year in Paris.
“Yoruba culture, fresh, not replicating the past, and very gay,” laughed the delighted Thompson, when asked to define his DNA, embracing with huge hugs a group of his team. Thompson received his award from actress and rock star Lou Doillon inside the historic Petit Palais.

While A Roege Hove won the Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation, presented by two long-time senior staffers from the house of Lagerfeld, Caroline Lebar and Sebastien Jondeau.
This year’s prize marked its 70th anniversary. Its first edition, back in 1954, was jointly won by Yves Saint Laurent for a dress, and Karl Lagerfeld for a coat.
“We have just come back from New York, and it was beautiful to see that the same first coat of Karl’s was the opening look inside the exhibition in the Met,” explained Lebar, referring to the retrospective Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty which opened ten days ago.
This year’s other finalists were Bluemarble, Marco Rambaldi, MaxxiJ, Paolina Russo, Rhude and Robyn Lynch. 
The winners will receive AU$200,000 and AU$100,000 respectively, as well as continued support from industry and retail partners of The Woolmark Prize. Byborre received the Supply chain award, presented by fashion activist, Sinéad Burke.
“Ultimately, The International Woolmark Prize celebrates Australian merino wool, with today's winners and finalists imbued with a lifelong love for the fiber," said John Roberts, managing director of The Woolmark Company, an association that represents 65,000 Australian sheep farmers.
Over the years, other notable previous winners have included Valentino Garavani, Rahul Mishra, Gabriela Hearst, Richard Malone and Edward Crutchley.
This year’s jury of experts included Alessandro Sartori, Carine Roitfeld, Caroline de Maigret, Elizabeth von der Goltz, Francesco Risso, John Roberts, Pieter Mulier and Sinéad Burke.
“We were all pretty amazed by Adeju’s fabric techniques. His use of block printing and the manner in which he imbued elements of Yoruba was truly impressive and tipped the balance in his favor. But it was a long debate,” revealed jury member Alessandro Sartori, the creative director of Zegna, and a brilliant inventor of textiles himself.

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