Boldly patterned and graphic knits by Matthew Briggs won him The Woolmark Company TexSelect Award in Paris, which set him on the road to Shanghai. Young designer Matthew Briggs, who studied knitwear design at the Royal College of Art, was a big winner at the TexSelect award ceremony on 20 September during Première Vision Paris, snapping up the TexSelect Fashion Prize, the WGSN TexSelect Textiles of the Future Award, and the prestigious The Woolmark Company TexSelect Award.
The Woolmark Company has supported TexSelect since the charity was founded more than 40 years ago, with the Award established in 2011. It recognises design excellence in fabrics created with 60% or more Merino wool, whether presented as printed, woven, knitted and/or mixed media fabric.
“I am excited to be judging The Woolmark Company TexSelect Award. It’s such a good way to discover new talent and to support them,” said Judge Eda Karadogan from historic Turkish company Ipekis.
Briggs’ fellow TexSelect designers Bo Mi Hwang and Hettie Johns were both highly recommended for the prize. Of the winner Matthew Briggs, judge Natasha Lenart, from Victoria Beckham, said: “He has the technical background, he can apply his technical knowledge into designs that have forethought in them, that have production potential. He has such a strong aesthetic.” Lenart was impressed by the dynamism of the 2018 TexSelect participants. “These young designers really put us to shame. Matthew will take advantage of every little opportunity he is given; he will absorb it and he is hungry.”
Birgit Gahlen, Textile Engineer (Product & Fashion) at The Woolmark Company, who presented the award to Briggs, said: “It was really exciting to see all the work today. The knowledge of Merino wool was really extraordinary and there was so much experimentation combining different types of materials. It was very stimulating for us to see.”
As winner, Briggs receives £1,000 plus ongoing support from The Woolmark Company and opportunities to learn about developments, innovations and the supply chain for wool. The Woolmark Company also sponsored a dedicated presence for him at Intertextile Shanghai, last month, so Briggs was on his way to China only seven days after Paris. “The Shanghai experience was really positive,” he said. “In fact, I sold more than in Paris. I think they liked the really British theme I have been developing, and my take on luxury street style.”
Apart from exhibiting at Intertextile Shanghai, Briggs took some time out to see a bit of one of China’s most dynamic cities. “The view from The Bund is very special,” he said. “I think I took a hundred pictures.”