Matty Bovan scores a double win in the 2021 International Woolmark Prize

The York-based designer has won the prize’s main gong and the Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation, making him the second designer ever to do so.

by Mahoro Seward
10 June 2021, 11:36am

Photography Ian Gavan. Image courtesy of the International Woolmark Prize

When we spoke with the six finalists of the International Woolmark Prize last week, we focused on the lessons they’d learned throughout the experience; on the award’s mentoring and educational facets, rather than on the pecuniary boost it offers its participants. Today, though, our focus turns to the money, honey, as the respective winners of the title prize and the Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation are announced. Or winner, we should say, as this year they’re both going to Matty Bovan

The York-based designer was selected by an illustrious panel of industry experts, including Carine Roitfeld, Thom Browne, Sinéad Burke and Tim Blanks, tpipping the talents behind Thebe Magugu, Lecavalier, Casablanca, Kenneth Ize and Bethany Williams to become the second-ever designer in the competition’s history to take home both main gongs.

What earned Matty the two awards’ cumulative total of $300K AUD was a combination of his commitment to local sourcing and production, his storytelling sensibilities, his trademark exuberant style, and his advanced understanding of knit and weave -- for his Woolmark capsule, for example, he developed merino intarsia knits that looked like they’d been blown in a severe gale.

Two models wearing looks from Matty Bovan's Woolmark Prize capsule
Photography Ibrahem Hasan. Image courtesy of the International Woolmark Prize

“[Matty] is pure fashion,” Carine Roitfeld says, “he makes me dream and he reminds me of a young Vivienne Westwood or a John Galliano and we desperately need that sort of designer in the fashion world of today.”

“Matty is truly and authentically creative, proving and representing that everything starts from pure creativity,” Thom Browne concurs. “He is also true to himself as a creative, a true individual and true individuals are the best leaders. For me, there is nothing more inspiring than young artists who are unique and true to themselves.”

In spite of his big win, Matty himself remains as humble as ever. “It’s a huge honour to win these prizes and I’m so excited for where it’s going to take me – I was already so thrilled with the Woolmark Prize platform and experience,” the designer says. “Being a part of the International Woolmark Prize has really helped elevate my brand and elevate my awareness and knowledge of how I operate as a business and as a label. It’s been amazing and I have loved every minute of it.” Congratulations Matty! We can’t wait to see the fresh heights this takes you to next!

Fashion designer Matty Bovan
​Photography Ian Gavan. Image courtesy of the International Woolmark Prize

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