The Woolmark Prize unveils jury, semi-finalists include eight Americans
This year, the Woolmark Prize has brought together a jury of fashion experts with the task of setting up a new online selection process. Previously, to access the famous international competition dedicated to young designers, it was necessary to be presented by a selection committee, but this year, the competition was open to all by applying online at woolmarkprize.com.
More than 300 emerging designers from 46 countries applied, of which 42 semi-finalists were selected.
The new online procedure, accepting applications from the most remote corners of the world, would have hoped to bring the competition to new horizons.
But after a closer look, the jury -- composed of Sara Sozzani Maino of Vogue Italy, Jefferson Hack, founder of Dazed Media, as well as Christine Centenera, Australian Vogue, stylist Catherine Baba, Tony Liu and Lindsey Schuyler, founding influencers from the "Diet Prada" account, and the journalists Gert Jonkers, Christiane Arp and Colin McDowell -- seemed to have favoured a certain realism.
Many names selected for the International 2018-19 Woolmark Prize have already been spotted by other prestigious competitions, such as the LVMH Award or ANDAM, or are already known to the public through an active brand on the market. Though, it was a requirement that candidates boast at least four collections that have already been sold in their label's history.
This is the case for two French semi-finalists including the ready-to-wear brand Gauchère, founded in 2012 by German designer Marie-Christine Statz, which passed by the Chambre syndicale de la couture, and is already distributed in many multi-brand stores.
Also, just like Victoria Feldman and Tomas Berzins, finalists at the Hyères Festival in 2013, who have shown in Paris since September 2017 with their Victoria/Tomas women's label. Another notable selection, Swedish label CMMN SWDN, which will hit the Paris catwalk on June 19.
Others who were selected out of the 10 semi-finalists from the British Isles also have had some success on the London catwalk, such as A Cold Wall, Alex Mullins, Daniel W. Fletcher, Edward Crutchley, Liam Hodges, Marta Jakubowski, Nicholas Daley and Richard Malone.
Eight of the brands listed were American and include Brandon Maxwell; Nicole Heim and Chelsea Healy of Cienne; Andrea Tsao of Deveaux New York; Kirk Millar and Sam Linder of Linder; Willy Chavarria; Michael and Nicole Colovos of Colovos; Piotrek Panszczyk and Beckett Fogg of Area, and Robert Childs of Childs New York.
In preparation for the semifinals, which will be held in Hong Kong on July 5, in London on July 10 and in New York on July 12, candidates must produce a Merino wool capsule collection, which will be presented to the selected jury in charge of choosing 12 finalists.
The outcome of the competition, a winner in the Women's category and another in the Men's category, will be known in early 2019. Like last year, an Innovation Prize will also be awarded.
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