This year Woolmark re-launched its international design competition, starting with regional competitions in the US, China, Australia, India, Italy, the U.K. and France. The company–part of a not-for-profit owned by 30,000 Australian wool growers–has a long history of supporting fashion designers. The winner of each regional contest, which is for emerging designers or those with small businesses, gets $100,000 in the US and $50,000 in the other regions, according to WWD.
In the US, the judging happened today and Sophie Theallet was named the winner. Steven Kolb, Linda Fargo, Sally Singer, Narciso Rodriguez, and Malcolm Carfrae, the executive vice president of global communications at Calvin Klein Inc. were all sat on the judging panel. Theallet went up against Naeem Khan, Prabal Gurung, Ruffian, VPL, Kaufman Franco, and M.Patmos, among others.
So what does this mean for Theallet besides the $100,000 regional prize? The winner of each regional competition will go on to the international contest, where the winner gets another $100,000 Australian dollars towards a runway show and will have their collection sold at retailers like Harvey Nicols and Bergdorf Goodman. Franca Sozzani and Diane von Furstenberg will both be on the international judging committee.
While the thought of putting wool on right now makes us a little sweaty, many congratulations to Sophie Theallet!