Meet The 10 Finalists For The 2020 International Woolmark Fashion Prize

Selected from 300 entries, across nearly 50 countries, the best of the world’s emerging fashion talent has been shortlisted – and sustainability is at the forefront of both the nominees’ and judges’ minds. Vogue meets the 10 finalists for the historic prize.

Here, Vogue meets the International Woolmark Prize 2020 finalists:

A-Cold-Wall*

Samuel Ross

© Woolmark

Since launching menswear brand A-Cold-Wall* in 2015, British designer Samuel Ross has gone from strength to strength, collaborating with NikeDiesel Red Tag and Converse. Now, he is keen to up his green credentials. “Sustainability is an ethos we’ve been filtering into our practice over the past year,” says Ross. “[I want to] expand my knowledge and use of wool as a whole. My approach will be based on reinvention and performance, reconstituting the expectancies of the fibre.”

Blindness

KyuYongShin and JiSun Park

© Woolmark

Founded by Seoul-based duo KyuYong Shin and JiSun Park in 2016, Blindess has made its mark with its genderless designs. The pair now hope to push their design talents further by taking part in the International Woolmark Prize. “We wanted to challenge and develop ourselves with new experiences,” they explain. “Brands have a responsibility of using natural resources for the right purpose.”

Bode

Emily Adams Bode

© Woolmark

Known for her unique, handcrafted designs made from upcycled vintage fabrics, American designer Emily Adams Bode has been a trailblazer in sustainable fashion since launching her eponymous brand in 2016. “Our collections are 40 per cent made from antique materials; a large percentage [are] made from wool circa 1890 to 1940s,” she says, explaining how the brand is incorporating new but natural materials as it scales up. “I’m excited to include newer and more innovative ways of using wool in my capsule collection.”

Botter

Rushemy Botter and Lisi Herrebrugh

© Woolmark

Since launching menswear brand Botter in 2017, Dutch designers Rushemy Botter and Lisi Herrebrugh have had a meteoric rise, with the pair appointed creative directors at Nina Ricci in 2018. For them, wool is a core part of their blueprint. “Our storytelling about our Caribbean roots is paired with us exploring the way men interpret formalwear and how we can push the boundaries in shape and fluidity,” they say. “We’ve been working with wool since we first started; we love its different aspects [and] that it can be used to create shape.”

Feng Chen Wang

Fen Chen Wang

© Woolmark

Chinese-born, London-based menswear designer Feng Chen Wang – who started her brand in 2015 – is an emerging name known for her structured unisex designs. “The [International] Woolmark Prize is a great opportunity to communicate and educate audiences on the beauty and value of my Chinese cultural heritage,” she explains. “[It’s] a global platform that is dedicated to innovation and sustainability.”

GmbH

Isik Serhat and Benjamin Alexander Huseby

© Woolmark

Berlin-based label GmbH, launched by Isik Serhat and Benjamin Alexander Huseby in 2016, emerged from the city’s underground club scene. The brand, which encompasses both menswear and womenswear, is currently in the process of switching from synthetic to natural materials. “We have been using wool as part of [that] programme,” they explain. “One of the biggest hurdles is cost, and convincing customers that the extra price is worth it.”

Ludovic de Saint Sernin

Ludovic de Saint Sernin

© Woolmark

Balmain-alumni Ludovic de Saint Sernin’s SS20 collection – called ‘Wet’n’Wild’ – certainly made waves at Paris Fashion Week in June. But you might not have noticed some of the knitwear on show, namely its towel look, which went viral on social media. “[The] towel is an expertly crafted virgin Merino wool piece,” says the Belgium-born designer who launched his brand in 2017. “It’s a fun and sexy way to work with wool that people wouldn’t expect.” Again, responsible sourcing is key for de Saint Sernin: “The yarns are sourced in Italy from the best mills and that way we can trace where they come from.”

Matthew Adams Dolan

Matthew Adams Dolan

© Woolmark

New York-based designer Matthew Adams Dolan has a laid-back aesthetic that has won over fans such as Rihanna, who snapped up one of his denim jackets shortly after he graduated from Parsons in 2014. But despite his A-list fanbase, the designer has been keen to build his brand in a conscious manner. “As a young company, I feel there are certain expectations on our practice,” says Dolan. “That is in sync with how we approach consumption on a broader scale; making responsible decisions, and working ethically and with high quality materials.”

Namacheko

Dilan and Lezan Lurr

© Woolmark

Established by brother-and-sister team Dilan and Lezan Lurr in 2017, Swedish-Kurdish menswear brand Namacheko has fast gained acclaim for its reinterpretation of classic pieces, with wool being core to their work. “We have used wool in our collections from the [start],” they explain. “Our approach has been centered around quality and making things that last; [pieces] that can have a second life with many owners.”

Richard Malone

Richard Malone

© Woolmark

The Irish designer, who has championed sustainable practices ever since launching his eponymous brand in 2015, carefully sources yarns from the Himalayas, working with local female artisans to weave them into fabrics. “Opening up our supply chain and sharing the journey with customers is extremely important; the reason I have a business today is because of this traceability,” he explains. “[The International Woolmark Prize] was a natural draw for me; it’s mainly the network and the hunger for collaboration that excites me.”

Source: VOgue