Irish designer Richard Malone succeeds the International Woolmark Prize
On Monday night, Irish designer Richard Malone was reported as the winner of the International Woolmark Prize, bringing home AU$200,000. The new Karl Lagerfeld Prize for Innovation, initiated for the current year out of appreciation for the late designer who won the competition in 1954, was awarded to Emily Bode, who will get AU$100,000.
The winners were chosen among 10 finalists by a panel of industry leaders, including artist Takashi Murakami, British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful and Dior Men’s designer Kim Jones. Different finalists included Samuel Ross of A-Cold-Wall, Matthew Adams Dolan and Feng Chen Wang.
For the first time, the current year’s competition centered around supply chain traceability, with every one of the 10 finalists creating six completely recognizable merino wool garments. The designers worked with sustainable sourcing stage Common Objective and supply chain technology organization Provenance, which empowered them to accumulate and store data about their supply chain through blockchain technology. Purchasers will have the option to check the product journey by scanning garment tags.
Central Saint Martins graduate Richard Malone, who has been concentrating on responsible design since the establishing of his brand in 2015, produced a collection of totally biodegradable, 100 percent merino wool garments, colored with plant-based dyes. The water utilized in the dying procedure will be reused to fertilize the soil and continue new crops. The brand had its first crop rotation utilizing the dye fertilizer in December, recovering a barren field that presently develops cotton.
Malone, who self-funds most of his R&D, believes that decreasing the environmental effect of garments should be imperative for fashion designers. “We are part of the problem, but we also have to provide the solution,” he says. He plans to spend his prize money on further research and sustainable innovation for his brand, without increasing in scale and choosing made-to-order over wholesale. “I refuse to actively wholesale and make loads of products,” he says.
“It’s not just about scalability, it’s about scaling in the right way,” says Holli Rogers, CEO of Browns and chief brand officer of Farfetch, who was on the jury.
LVMH Prize finalist Emily Bode, who is known for her artisanal knitwear and her revamping of antique materials into one-of-a-kind garments, introduced a collection of suits and jackets made with recovered equine show blankets and merino wool. Bode was picked for the Karl Lagerfeld prize due to her creative repurpose of antique fabrics and embellishments. The designer will invest the money in building up her direct-to-customer model and keep on utilizing the production techniques and providers she worked with during the competition.
The two champs previously had sustainable sourcing at the foundation of their brands, yet plan to join new learnings from the Woolmark competition into future collections. Bode was acquainted with new merino wool providers that she will keep on working with, while Malone’s work with Woolmark has moved him further towards his goal of 100 percent circularity.
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