Woolmark renews its Advisory Council in search of traction

The Woolmark Prize, historically fashion’s most famous award, has significantly overhauled its advisory board for the 2020 prize, in what will be seen as an attempt to generate more traction.


Woolmark Prize 2019 winners, Nicole and Michael Colovos

 
In recent years, Woolmark has suffered in comparison to a whole plethora of industry awards which have generated far more media attention – whether in classical print or online.
 
As a result, Woolmark Prize’s new advisory council of 16 has seen the departure of several noted fashion industry figures and the arrival of a half dozen new members.
 
Joining the council are Indian-born designer Manish Arora; Livia Firth, co-founder and creative director of Eco-Age; Floriane de Saint Pierre, France’s most famous fashion headhunter; Fabien Montique, photographer;  Sarah Mower, Voguerunway.com’s noted critic; Nelson Mui, once of Fashion Wire Daily, now of Lane Crawford; Chizuru Muko, editor in chief of WWD Japan; Lu Yan of Comme Moi; and Kate Young, the happening Hollywood stylist.
 
Those exiting the council include magazine editor Jefferson Hack and stylist Catherine Baba.
 
“Each year we see designers from around the world bring their unique vision and innovative methods to reimagine the possibilities of Australian Merino wool in a more sustainable way. I am proud to support this incredible awards program and look forward to meeting the finalists, seeing their wool creations in 2020, learn from them and get inspired even more,” said Firth in a release.
 
The most recent edition of the Woolmark Prize attracted some 300 applicants and was won by Edward Crutchley and Colovos. The original prize dates back to 1953; and its two winners – Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld - went on to achieve unparalleled global fame.  The prize was revived in 2012 by the Woolmark Company, an industry lobbying organization that supports the use of Australian wool on behalf of some 60,000 wool growers.
 
The advisory council’s immediate job will be to winnow down this year’s entries from some 50 countries to 10 finalists to be announced in October 2019.
 
Though still a prestigious accolade, with a cash award of some $200,000, the Woolmark Prize’s luster has dimmed this decade in comparison to other honors – whether the deep-pocketed LVMH Prize or ANDAM in France, to the hip Hyères prize for students to the various Vogue awards in London and New York.
 
That said, given its unique pedigree dating back over six decades, the Woolmark Prize can still expect to attract plenty of talented young designers.
 

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