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31st January 2017, Paris

COTTWEILER and Gabriela Hearst win 2016/17 International Woolmark Prize

COTTWEILER and Gabriela Hearst were announced the winners of the menswear and womenswear 2016/2017 International Woolmark Prize, presented at a special event at the iconic Palais de Tokyo, Paris.

The return of the International Woolmark Prize to Paris salutes the original awards, initiated by the International Wool Secretariat in 1953. This year, the menswear and womenswear awards have been held together for the first time at one prestigious event.

2016/17 International Woolmark Prize menswear winners Ben Cottrell and Matthew Dainty of Cottweiler, with womenswear winner Gabriela Hearst (centre). © Woolmark

“COTTWEILER is working with wool in a highly original way that mixes sports, tailoring, streetwear and fashion, and I think that represents a new dimension in menswear,” said Dazed Media CEO and Co-Founder Jefferson Hack, who was on the menswear jury panel.

COTTWEILER’s collection

Representing the British Isles, COTTWEILER’s winning International Woolmark Prize collection comprises sheer Merino wool base-layers, windproof mid-layers and quilted waterproof outerwear, with wool-blend fabrics ranging from 18.5 microns through to 19.5 microns, and recycled wool scraps used for insulation.

The collection brings COTTWEILER’s brand of fetish-infused cult and tribe codes into the world of wool, with utilitarian detailing – padded hoods, detachable cargo pockets, running caps, and elasticised hems and cuffs, for example – at its core.

Ben Cottrell (left) and Matthew Dainty (right) of Cottweiler, with models. © Woolmark

“Winning the International Woolmark Prize gives us the opportunity to share what we do with a much bigger, global audience,” said COTTWEILER after the win. “But for us, the great part of this was the opportunity to work with a different material – Merino wool – because we’re always interested in experimenting with technology and development.”

Gabriela Hearst

Representing the USA, Gabriela Hearst was praised for her technical innovation and quality craftsmanship. "The International Woolmark Prize gives a huge opportunity to young designers globally," explained Victoria Beckham, who was on the womenswear jury panel. "It shows how much you can do with wool as a designer.”

"I was very much in support of Gabriela. For me, she is the worthy winner. I love what she does and she's clearly very talented. I like her eye, she has great product and she's a strong woman. I have a huge amount of respect for her. I'm proud and honoured to get involved in this and help make this possible for her."

Gabriela Hearst (second from left), with models. © Woolmark

Born in Uruguay, the New York-based designer grew up on a sheep farm and believes in the traditional values of quality. Hearst’s winning International Woolmark Prize collection presents sleek silhouettes with updates on trench coats, pleats and an evening dress teamed with the more utilitarian baseball jacket with adjoining scarf, one-piece long johns, reversible puffer vest and cycling trousers. Using ultrafine 14.5 micron Merino wool for luxurious knitwear, though to 21.5 micron wool to create a wool-velvet fabrication, Hearst’s clean cuts and precision offers a collection set to stand the test of time.

International Woolmark Prize

More than 75 designers from more than 60 countries were nominated for this year's award, with finalists representing six different regions across the world. The respective menswear and womenswear finalists were MÜNN and TOTON (Asia); Ex Infinitas and macgraw (Australia & New Zealand); COTTWEILER and Faustine Steinmetz (British Isles); TONSURE and Tim Labenda (Europe); Bounipun and Nachiket Barve (India, Pakistan and the Middle East); and Rochambeau and Gabriela Hearst (USA).

Both COTTWEILER and Gabriela Hearst will each receive AU$ 100,000 to support the development of their business. They will also receive ongoing industry mentor support, Woolmark certification for their winning collection and the opportunity to be stocked in some of the world's most prestigious department stores and boutiques.

These include Boutique 1, Boon the Shop, David Jones, Harvey Nichols, Hudson's Bay Company, Isetan, Lane Crawford, LECLAIREUR, mytheresa.com, The Papilion and ssense.com. All finalists' collections will also become available for wholesale purchase via Ordre.com.

www.woolmark.com

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