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The judges have been selected for the International Woolmark Prize competition, which takes place Feb. 16 as part of London Fashion Week.
Diane von Furstenberg; Victoria Beckham; Donatella Versace; Franca Sozzani, editor in chief of Italian Vogue; Tim Banks, editor at large of Style.com; Andrew Keith, president of Joyce and Lane Crawford; Carla Sozzani, owner of 10 Corso Como; Linda Fargo, senior vice president, fashion office and store presentation at Bergdorf Goodman, and Paula Reed, creative director of Harvey Nichols, have been chosen as the final judging panel. They were revealed Thursday morning at a press conference in London.
“Since the regional awards in July 2012, the International Woolmark Prize has gained extraordinary momentum and support, highlighted by the announcement of the most important names in the industry on the final judging panel,” said Stuart McCullough, chief executive officer of Australian Wool Innovation. He said the prize reaffirms “the deep connection that Woomark holds within the global fashion industry.”
The global fashion competition awards outstanding and emerging designers for their creativity in merino wool. The contest aims to develop the next generation of fashion designers and to highlight wool’s eco credentials.
The finalists, who emerged from 70 applicants, were selected by fashion industry professionals in their respective regions. They are Sophie Theallet from the U.S., Christian Wijnants from Europe, Ban Xiao Xiu from China, Dion Lee from Australia, DressedUndressed from Japan and Pankaj and Nidhi from India.
Each finalist will present their winning design (from the regional contest), as well as five additional pieces on the catwalk. Eighty percent of each garment must be made of merino wool. The runway show will feature 36 models and will take place at the ME London Hotel.
The winner will receive 100,000 Australian dollars, or $105,000, and their winning collection will be carried next fall in top retailers around the world, including Bergdorf Goodman in the U.S., Harvey Nichols in the U.K., 10 Corso Como in Italy, Joyce in China, Eickoff in Germany and David Jones in Australia.
The award is supported internationally by the key fashion councils, including the Council of Fashion Designers of America, British Fashion Council, Chambre Syndicale de la Couture, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Madrid and Premsela Foundation.
There is presently a three-year commitment to award the prize. Applications are being accepted for the next regional awards that take place in July.