public school scoop this year’s international woolmark prize
The New York Designers win the coveted global fashion prize.
New York's Public School became the first American brand to win the international Woolmark Prize today. Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow were praised for "their skill with manufacturing and commerciality" by Paul Smith, who sat on the panel of judges alongside style.com's Tim Blanks and street style star turned designer, Nick Wooster.
American woops boomed across the room when their name was read out, because the prize brings with it great kudos, but also $100,000 (Australian) and merchandising opportunities with "an impressive network of retail partners" according to GQ's Dylan Jones, namely Matches, Harvey Nichols, Saks Fifth Avenue, 10 Corso Como, JOYCE, Isetan and David Jones.
Dylan Jones praised the "extraordinary quality" of all the collections. SISE from Japan, Asger Juel Larsen from Denmark, Australia's STRATEAS.CARLUCCI and The Emperor 1688 from the UAE were the other finalists who were chosen from 21 countries and more than 60 designers.
But Public School's collection of six looks won for its story (centred around an imagined lost tribe of people - either past or future - relying on wool for its natural characteristics, including breathability, water repellency and insulation) and for their strong production. Paul Smith, explained, "The USA has a great focus on forward thinking beyond just designing it."
Maxwell told us afterwards, "It's still a surprise every time. We're quite shocked. We didn't expect to be called today." So how are they going to use their money? "We can build a knitwear team!"
The collection will be available in partner retailers globally from August 2015.