The International Woolmark Prize winners are in! Gabriela Hearst and Cottweiler both took home first place in womenswear and menswear, respectively. The awards hosted menswear and womenswear together for the first time, and returned to its hometown of Paris. The labels will each receive AU$100,000 to help grow their businesses, as well as industry mentor support, Woolmark certification, and the chance to be stocked in department stores and boutiques including Boutique 1, Boon the Shop, David Jones, Harvey Nichols, Hudson’s Bay Company, Isetan, Lane Crawford, LECLAIREUR, mytheresa.com, The Papilion and ssense.com.
Menswear designer Cottweiler, helmed by Ben Cottrell and Matthew Dainty, used Merino wool for their utilitarian designs, including padded hoods, detachable cargo pockets, running caps, and elasticized hems and cuffs. Gabriela Hearst, having grown up on a sheep farm in Uruguay, tapped into her familiarity with the fabric for a collection including sleek silhouettes, updated trench coats, pleats, an evening dress with a baseball jacket, long-john one-pieces, a reversible puffer vest, and cycling trousers.
Cottweiler was selected by judges Imran Amed, founder and CEO at Business of Fashion; Rami Atallah, co-founder and CEO at ssense.com; Jefferson Hack, CEO and co-founder at Dazed Media; Michael Hadida, director of development and men’s buyer at LECLAIREUR; Olivier Lalanne, deputy editor at Vogue Paris and editor-in-chief at Vogue Hommes; Michèle Lamy, partner at Owenscorp; Benn McGregor, senior buyer menswear at Harvey Nichols; Nelson Mui, VP and men’s fashion director at Hudson’s Bay Company; Shayne Oliver, creative director at Hood By Air; Fabrizio Servente, global strategy advisor at The Woolmark Company; Takehiko Suzuki, general manager men’s & sports wear at Isetan Mitsukoshi; and Stefano Tonchi, editor-in-chief at W Magazine.
Meanwhile, Hearst’s jury panel included Christiane Arp, editor-in-chief at Vogue Germany; Anita Barr, group fashion buying director at Harvey Nichols; Victoria Beckham OBE, designer; Damian Burke, general manager womenswear at David Jones; Lou Doillon, singer-songwriter/actress; Miroslava Duma, CEO and founder at Fashion Tech Labs and Buro 24/7; Julie Gilhart, fashion consultant; Joanna Gunn, chief brand officer, Lane Crawford; Tiffany Hsu, buying manager ready-to-wear, mytheresa.com; Bouchra Jarrar, creative director at Lanvin; Suzanne Koller, contributing editor at Vogue Paris; Natalie Massenet, chair of British Fashion Council; Stuart McCullough, managing director at The Woolmark Company; Virginie Mouzat, fashion and lifestyle editor-in-chief at Vanity Fair; Suzanne Timmins, senior vice president and fashion director at Hudson’s Bay Company; Lena Jabbour Matta, co-founder and co-CEO at Boutique 1 Group; and Elizabeth Von Guttman, founder at System Magazine.
“I was very much in support of Gabriela,” said Beckham in a statement. “I love what she does and she’s clearly very talented. I like her eye, she has great product and she’s a strong woman.”
“COTTWEILER doesn’t want to show off and are very relaxed and confident in themselves and what they show,” said Hood by Air’s Oliver. “They know where to go with this funding and it will give them the push to get to the level they deserve to be at.”
Hearst, Cottrell, and Dainty were up against more than 75 designers from more than 60 countries, including finalists MÜNN and TOTON (Asia); Ex Infinitas and macgraw (Australia & New Zealand); Faustine Steinmetz (British Isles); TONSURE and Tim Labenda (Europe); Bounipun and Nachiket Barve (India, Pakistan and the Middle East); and Rochambeau (USA). All finalists’ collections will be available for wholesale via Ordre.com.