The 2022 International Woolmark Prize has a stacked lineup, with emerging designers Ahluwalia (United Kingdom), EGONLAB (France), Jordan Dalah (Australia), MMUSOMAXWELL (South Africa), Peter Do (USA), Rui (China) and Saul Nash (United Kingdom) beating out hundreds of nominees to be named finalists in the globally esteemed fashion prize.
Each designer was chosen for displaying a commitment to the prize’s pillars of product excellence, innovation, supply-chain transparency, sustainability, and inclusivity.
The aim of the talent development program is to give these finalists the tools they require to support sustainable, international growth through industry mentorship across key areas of business. Throughout the program, finalists are supported by members of the program’s education and mentoring initiative, the Innovation Academy.
As part of the journey, the seven finalists will present collections of Merino wool for Autumn/Winter 2022, with each finalist receiving a grant of $70,000 AUD to fund the development of their Merino collection. For the 2022 prize, the theme of Play invites the finalists to push the boundaries of Merino wool.
The winners of the International Woolmark Prize 2022 will be selected by a prestigious panel of industry experts and are expected to be announced in April 2022 – where one finalist will be awarded the International Woolmark Prize, receiving $200,000 AUD to invest in the development of their business, and the Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation will be awarded to another finalist, with the winner receiving $100,000 AUD, joining a rich list of International Woolmark Prize alumni, including Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld, Bode, Richard Malone and 2021 winner, Matty Bovan.
Read on to learn more about each finalist.
Launched in 2018, Ahluwalia combines elements from founder Priya Ahluwalia’s dual Indian-Nigerian heritage and London home base. Working with responsible sourcing and manufacturing techniques front of mind, the label explores the potential of vintage clothing by giving existing materials new life through innovative craftsmanship that results in many of Ahluwalia’s pieces being one of a kind.
EGONLAB is a young French brand whose aesthetic is deeply inspired by the artistic movements that have greatly influenced our modern society. From fashion and music to motion design and mixed media art - EGONLAB’s varied references combine to create a one-of-a-kind brand whose designs juxtapose the masculine and the feminine; modernity and tradition; and romance and rebellion.
After graduating from the Womenswear course at Central Saint Martins in 2017, Sydney-based, Australian designer Jordan Dalah returned home to focus on his namesake label. Inspired by the dramatic silhouettes found in theatre costume, Dalah aims to bring historic codes of dressing into a contemporary space – treading the line between theatricality and wearability to create the new and more contemporary silhouettes that define his signature style.
Founded by South African designers Maxwell Boko and Mmuso Potsane in 2016, MMUSOMAXWELL is a ready-to-wear luxury womenswear brand that prides itself on ethically creating garments inspired by African heritage and contemporary culture. Having met while completing an internship, the design duo noted similar interests and design philosophies leading them to join forces to strengthen their aesthetic sensibilities and amplify the voice of their brand.
Established in 2018 by a collective of long-term friends based in New York City, Peter Do is dedicated to creating a new future in the fashion world by means of thoughtful design. Its approach is simple, and centered around razor-sharp tailoring, architectural construction, and honest textiles.
Founded by designer Rui Zhou, Rui is a brand that explores the duality of all things – with her designs having been worn by the likes of Olivia Rodrigo, Dua Lipa, Rina Sawayama and Chloe Bailey. Constantly striving to find beauty in imperfection, the softness and careful fragility of Rui’s compositions are met with powerful severity to reveal strength in their delicacy.
Saul Nash is a luxury menswear brand existing to create contemporary sportswear and technical garments inspired by the eponymous designer’s background as a dancer and choreographer. Often referencing Saul’s personal experience as a person of colour growing up in London, the brand looks to performance and storytelling as a way to challenge universal preconceived ideas surrounding sportswear.