Cheers for Matty Bovan for winning both the International Woolmark Prize & the Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation – a total of 300,000 Australian dollars in prize money, and a series of mentorship to scale his business.

Dear Shaded Viewers,

This is only the second time that one designer has been awarded the two major prizes. Matty Bovan won both the International Woolmark Prize and the Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation. The illustrious panel of judges included Tim Blanks, Shaway Yeh, Tasha Liu, Sinead Burke, Carine Roitfeld, Thom Browne, Ib Kamara and more.

“He is pure fashion. He makes me dream and he reminds me of a young Vivienne Westwood or a John Galliano and we desperately need that sort of designer in the fashion world of today,” noted Carine Roitfeld.

Thom Browne echoed these sentiments to Bovan: “When I see your collection, I see moving things forward and a real hunger for showing people what they haven’t seen before. And that is something that is really necessary right now and so inspiring… So, thank you for the huge inspiration and the life that you put in your collection.”

This year’s theme was Less is More placing an emphasis on sustainable practices, supply chain, connections and future-proofing designs and of course putting the spotlight on spotlight on Australian Merino wool as the green thread in responsible fashion.

Praised for his technically advanced jacquard weave designs, unique style, intricate designs which tell a story, advanced understanding of both knit and weave techniques, strong colour combinations and
sustainable approach to local sourcing and production, Bovan’s sensibility and conceptual approach to fashion impressed the judges, with Browne reiterating this is something the world needs more of,
especially right now.

“It’s a huge honour to win these prizes and I’m so excited for where it’s going to take me – I was already so thrilled with the Woolmark Prize platform and experience,” said Bovan. “Being a part of the
International Woolmark Prize has really helped elevate my brand and elevate my awareness and knowledge of how I operate as a business and as a label. It’s been amazing and I have loved every minute
of it.”

Matty Bovan will receive 300,000 Australian dollars in prize money, and a series of mentorship to scale his business.

Matty Bovan’s Ode to the Sea draws inspiration from travelling and escapism – going through a traumatic event and coming out the other side. Based in York, Bovan worked with local suppliers and
manufacturers, supporting local businesses, craftspeople and artisans through his tight supply chain network. Using roll end cloth from AW Hainsworth, screen printing and hand painting, Matt Bovan gave new life
to discarded pieces of fabric. Limited runs in-house turned deadstock fabric into commercial pieces.

A standout was Bovan’s Intarsia knitted garments that look as if they have been blown in severe gales, portraying ghostly figures in black and white, like characters in a TV screen. Created in close collaboration with AW Hainsworth and using images from Bovan’s archives, the resultant fabrics both surprise and delight at being created from 100% Merino wool.

Each finalist created a sustainability roadmap and presented traceable collections using technology from platform partner Blue Bite to integrate the garment’s story into their collection via NFC Chips. By
focusing on transparency and sharing key product information, each designer brings the supply chain to their customer in a way that is trustworthy and accessible.

This year also saw the introduction of the Woolmark Supply Chain Award, celebrating an outstanding contribution by a trade partner and presented to a member of the supply chain. The inaugural award
was presented to The Nanshan Group. Innovation makes Nanshan a leader in the industry and offers infinite possibilities to wool. The China-based manufacturer has a long-standing relationship with the
International Woolmark Prize, supporting finalists over the years, working in close collaboration to bring the finalists’ vision to life.

The six finalists for this year’s award were: Bethany Williams – UK; Casablanca – France; Kenneth Ize – Nigeria; LECAVALIER – Canada; Matty Bovan – UK; and THEBE MAGUGU – South Africa.

The Woolmark Company is pleased to have the support of Innovation Academy partners Common Objective, Queen of Raw, BYBORRE, Blue Bite, TIPA, Hologarment, Close to Clothes and Ratti
Nominations are now open for the 2022 International Woolmark Prize, with emerging designers invited to register from now until July 31.

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Diane Pernet

A LEGENDARY FIGURE IN FASHION and a pioneer of blogging, Diane is a respected journalist, critic, curator and talent-hunter based in Paris. During her prolific career, she designed her own successful brand in New York, costume designer, photographer, and filmmaker.