Vying for top honours against 9 other emerging brands from across Australia and New Zealand, Lukas Vincent's Ex Infinitas and the MacGraw sisters' label macgraw showcased innovative and forward-thinking ways of working with Australian wool. In front of fashion designers Jason Wu and Richard Nicoll, plus editors Nick Smith, Kellie Hush and Emily Taylor, Ex Infinitas and macgraw showed the esteemed panel of judges they have what it takes to compete on the world stage, progressing to the global finals for menswear and womenswear to be held in London and Paris, respectively, January 2017.
"The level of talent was really high," explains Jason Wu. "All of the designers showed a great balance of creativity and commercialisation, which is integral today."
Ex Infinitas designer Lukas Vincent fused surf culture with tailoring in an innovative way for his Kings of Nowhere collection and used wool in different weights and textures to offer a modern take on menswear.
macgraw duo – Beth and Tessa MacGraw – showed a two-piece look made up of a wool overcoat with hand embroidered Merino wool flowers, and a wool dress. Finding inspiration in nature, the collection was heavily influenced by the Flannel Flower. This Sydney native blooms in hues of pink and white and has a soft, woolly feel.
"I'm super excited to win the International Woolmark Prize," said Lukas Vincent. "It means so much for my business to continue pushing Australian fashion not only in Australia but internationally as well."
"It's been an absolute dream; it's a dream come true and we are absolutely elated," Beth and Tessa MacGraw said after their win. "We are blown away and it means a lot to us. We're ready to show the world what we've got."
The two winners will each receive a financial contribution of AU$50,000 to help support their business, and will each represent Australia at next year's global finals.
COTTWEILER and Faustine Steinmetz take out the British Isles regional final of the International Woolmark Prize.
The 2016/17 International Woolmark Prize regional finals have begun with the announcement of the European winners