British designers Matthew Miller and Le Kilt were announced today as winners of the 2017/18 International Woolmark Prize British Isles regional finals, in menswear and womenswear respectively.
Judged by a panel including Emilia Wickstead, Daniel Kearns, Anita Bar, Candis Fragis and Jason Basmajian, the winners fought off tough competition. Jason Basmajian explained: "Today, judging the Woolmark Prize, there was so much innovation and creativity, it was a real celebration of talent. They were all winners for different reasons but Matthew showed true passion producing a look that is luxurious but still cool."
Sam McCoah of Le Kilt
Matthew Miller presented a modern take on tailoring with a double breasted tuxedo paired with a raincoat, while Samantha McCoach presented a wool-denim look which incorporated intricate detailing and a contemporary take on Scottish identity. "Sam brought back the tradition of her Scottish heritage in a more modern way," Anita Barr said. "She inspired us with her story, we believe she'll go on to do great things."
The winners were both awarded AU$70,000 and the opportunity to compete in the prestigious international final. For the next six months they'll design a capsule collection using Merino wool to be showcased at the international event, where the eventual global winner will be awarded a further AU$200,000.
"The Prize has given me an opportunity to look at wool in a new way. The challenge was that working with wool comes naturally to me, it's at the heart of my brand but I wanted to do something new which is why I looked at innovations in Wool denim," Samantha McCoach of Le Kilt stated.
Established in 1953 -- when the winners were Yves Saint Lauren and Karl Lagerfeld -- the Woolmark prize is renowned for supporting emerging and up and coming young designers, giving them a start in a fiercely competitive industry.
Text Roisin Lanigan