The Woolmark Prize names its European finalists
Two Dutch compatriots will be representing Europe at the 2015-2016 Woolmark Prize finals. Young designers Jonathan Cristopher and Nanna Van Blaaderen were announced as the menswear and womenswear winners, respectively, at an awards event held in Antwerp, Belgium.
Their win at the European regional stage held in the Belgian city on 13 July was accompanied by a $50,000 Australian financial contribution. They will use the money to, over the next six to seven months, develop a capsule collection in Merino wool, to be showcased at one of two finals that will highlight the six menswear finalists and six womenswear finalists selected from across the globe.
Ils l'emportent entre autres sur les compétiteurs français CristaSeya pour la femme et Harmony pour l’homme. Les deux designers hollandais ont été sélectionnés « parmi 17 des talents européens les plus prometteurs de la mode », souligne Woolmark Company dans son communiqué.
Jonathan Christopher won in the menswear category, the final of which will be held in Florence in January 2016 during the Pitti Uomo trade show. “The judges’ choice for the menswear winner was unanimous,” explained Walter Van Beirendonck, director of the fashion department at The Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp and member of the jury. “Jonathan came into the room with a true fashion focus; we all appreciated his innovation with Merino wool and use of materials. He fully embodied our criteria to showcase the best in wool and showed us his vision.”
Having graduated from the Willem de Kooning Academy in 2009, Jonathan Christopher (Hofwegen) launched his own brand, Jonathan Christopher Homme, in 2010, all while working with other brands in parallel. He has notably been collaborating on Karl Lagerfeld's women's ready-to-wear collection since March 2014 and is currently working on wool denim.
Like Jonathan Christopher, Nanna Van Blaaderen also graduated from the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam. Specialised in knitwear, she launched her own brand in 2011 and collaborates with different international brands.
The young designer's passion for wool and talent in its use, which allowed her to create a quasi three dimensional structure, captured the jury's attention. Nanna Van Blaaderen will develop a mini collection that she will present during the womenswear final in February at New York Fashion Week.
The finalists will compete for the coveted International Woolmark Prize, the winners being awarded an additional AU$100,000 (approximately €67,8001) and the opportunity to be stocked in the most important retailers of the world, including Harvey Nichols (London), 10 Corso Como (Milan, Beijing and Shanghai), Matchesfashion.com (online), Mytheresa.com (online), Saks Fifth Avenue (NYC), Joyce (China), Isetan Mitsukoshi (Japan), Boutique 1 (UAE) and David Jones (Australia).
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