At a special event in Florence on the opening night of Pitti Uomo, Matthew Miller and Bodice were announced as the winners of the 2017/18 International Woolmark Prize, joining an illustrious hall of fame. DYNE was awarded in the inaugural Innovation Award for the way they pushed the boundaries of nature’s miracle fibre.

Held at the iconic Stazione Leopolda, judges including Livia Firth, Amber Valletta, Miroslava Duma and Phillip Lim came together to discover the work of fashion’s new stars. Go behind the scenes of this year’s International Woolmark Prize to see the ways in which designers from across the globe reached new heights.

Matthew Miller – 2017/18 INTERNATIONAL WOOLMARK PRIZE FOR MENSWEAR

For Vogue Italia Editor-in-Chief Emanuele Farneti, Matthew Miller presented a well-balanced collection, with attractive price points. “He showed a good combination between innovation, commercial viability and pieces which will be worn by men on the street.”

Inspired by designer and philosopher Dieter Rams, British designer Matthew Miller took the idea ‘form follows function’ to add multifunctional elements for different environments, such as the addition of the garment belt system which acts as a way to turn the garment into an accessory in warmer climates. Miller treated wool in a variety of ways, including innovative treatments to create water resistant fabrics and has erased the need for plastic fastenings by using recycled material, such as waste marble.

Using Australian Merino wool ranging from 17.5 to 20.5 microns, the Matthew Miller multi-layered collection reflects the label’s design philosophy, developing the inherent character of each piece.

“Winning this award is amazing, it’s a dream come true,” said Matthew Miller of his win. “To be listed alongside the previous winners of this prize is next level.”

Bodice – 2017/18 INTERNATIONAL WOOLMARK PRIZE FOR WOMENSWEAR

Representing India, Pakistan and the Middle East, Bodice was selected as the womenswear winner, praised for technique and the manufacturing process. Inspired by her grandmother who used to upcycle saris into quilts, Bodice addressed the issue of consumer waste in fashion with traditional techniques of recycling and cultural beliefs in the spiritual power of cloth to affect our wellbeing. Collaborating with hand weavers and encouraging them to take an unorthodox approach to traditional techniques, Ruchika Sachdeva produced an elegant collection honouring Australian Merino wool and the artisans of her country.

Bodice also worked with Bio-Dye in Sawantwadi, central India, which makes all colours from natural sources. The colour palette of navy and forest green mixed with pink and green pastels contains natural dyes and are safe for the skin – a nod to the ancient practices of Ayurveda. Completing the label’s holistic approach, Bodice sourced buttons from renewable sources of coconut shell, seashell, and wood.

Womenswear designer Phillip Lim thought Bodice’s collection was “completely thoughtful”. “From the ingredients and dyes used all the way to the application and everything in between, her collection really represents a modern woman.”

For Bodice, the win means everything. “This is a huge opportunity to expand on what I do and keep doing it,” said Bodice designer Ruchika Sachdeva. “To get the chance to work with these retailers is incredible.”

DYNE – INAUGURAL INTERNATIONAL WOOLMARK PRIZE INNOVATION AWARD

The Innovation Award powered by Future Tech Lab celebrates the collection with the most innovative and creative wool fabrication, process or development and was awarded to the finalist who demonstrated the most exciting approach to help reduce its social and environmental footprint. DYNE will receive $100,000 along with commercial opportunities.

“For me he was definitely the leader in innovation,” said Miroslava Duma. “The NFC chips he embedded in his collection, and the fabrication of the snowboard gear really stood out. He really thinks about technology every step of the way.”

Inspired by learning to snowboard in the 1980s – in a wool bomber jacket – the collection of DYNE’s Christopher Bevans comprised a technical snowboarding wardrobe, complete with an NFC chip in the water-resistant wool jacket to track users in avalanches and ultimately bridge the gap between the brand and the consumer. DYNE describes itself as liminal, its garments designed to operate on both sides of every threshold, and to break the existing barriers of fabric, fit and function.

“It’s an honour,” said DYNE designer Christopher Bevans. “We pushed so hard and to be recognised for this is incredible. It doesn’t get more special.”

Source: The Woolmark Company