and the winners of the international woolmark prize 2019 are... edward crutchley and colovos!
In a glitter-filled hall in west London, Edward Crutchley won the menswear and the innovation award, while New York duo Colovos won the womenswear award.
Alber Elbaz with Edward Crutchley (left) and Colovos (right)
Last night, some of the biggest names in the fashion industry congregated at Lindley Hall in London for the International Woolmark Prize 2019. The illustrious panel was made-up of… (breathe) Alber Elbaz, Tim Blanks, Laura Brown, Sinead Burke, Gwendoline Christie, Julie Davies, David Fischer, Colette Garnsey, Marc Goehring, Gert Jonkers, Floriane de Saint Pierre and Sara Sozzani Maino. These esteemed panel members chose from the 12 international designers who made the final, to award three lucky winners with funding, mentorship and the opportunity to be stocked in some of the world’s most prestigious stores. With a Queen tribute choir following the catwalk presentation, and undoubtedly the biggest confetti cannon of the season, it was a night to remember.
“There were 12 great designers today from around the world,” said Alber, ex-creative director of Lanvin, after the presentation. “It was quite wonderful to see designers from places like Korea, China and Sweden, because sometimes in fashion we think everything happens in Paris, so this was a reminder that the world is big and fashion comes from everywhere around the world.”
In an unexpected turn, they were only two winning labels this year. Announced by panel member presenters Alber and Gwendoline, joined by Colin Firth, Edward Crutchley and Colovos were announced as the menswear and womenswear awards respectively, with Edward winning the additional innovation prize, awarded for most innovative or sustainable approach to systems production, materials, textile design or product design.
Edward -- who launched his eponymous label at Fashion East’s menswear presentation back in 2015 -- was fittingly bemused by the announcement of not one but two awards. “I'm quite shocked, to be honest! It was a real surprise,” he explained backstage. “I'm not somebody that takes praise well, so this is even more difficult for me to process. But I'm absolutely over the moon. I'm very happy, very excited.” With a combined win of approximately £166,000 in funding, the possibilities of his label have vastly grown thanks to Woolmark.
Nicole and Michael Colovos, the duo behind Colovos, were similarly excited about the possibilities that lay ahead for their brand. "It's exciting, it's humbling, you know, we're super happy,” said Michael. “Everyone has been amazing along the way,” Nicole further explained backstage. “It's been a wonderful experience. The whole process, the mentorship -- there's help whenever you need it -- it’s a very supportive environment to work in." Debuting their first collection at New York Fashion Week only two years ago, Colovos have quickly picked up a reputation in the industry for their sharp but understated and wearable clothing. But then again, having previously launched a successful denim brand, Habitual, and co-led the relaunch of Helmut Lang, the pair have already proven themselves as smart, forward-thinking designers.
We can’t wait to see what these designers do next.
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