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January 31 2018

Matthew Miller and Bodice were announced respectively menswear and womenswear winner of the 2017/2018 International Woolmark Prize presented at the Stazione Leopolda in Florence during Pitti Uomo. The event also presented the 2017/2018 International Woolmark Prize Innovation Award winner to DYNE designer Christopher Bevans. The world’s best emerging designers presented fashion design and innovative collections while focusing on using Australian Merino wool to create the garments. More than 65 designers from more than 60 countries were nominated for this year’s award, with finalists representing six different regions around the world. The global finalists were SixLee and KYE (Asia), Blair Archibald and Harman Grubiša (Australia & New Zealand), Matthew Miller and Le Kilt (British Isles), L'Homme Rouge and David Laport (Europe), Antar-Agni and Bodice (Indian Subcontinent and Middle East) and DYNE and Zaid Affas (USA).

British designer Matthew Miller used the idea of adding multifunctional elements for different environments, as applying innovative treatments to wool, as well as creating water resistant fabrics by removing the need for plastic and replacing it with recycled materials.

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

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

Bodice designer Ruchika Sachdeva represented India, Pakistan and the Middle East through her winning womenswear collection. Bodice addressed the issue of consumer waste in fashion with traditional techniques of recycling. Bodice also worked with Bio-Dye in Sawantwadi, central India, which makes all colours from natural sources. The designer sourced buttons from renewable sources of coconut shell, seashell, and wood.

Womenswear designer Phillip Lim said that 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."

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

DYNE’s technical snowboarding collection breaks the existing barriers of fabric, fit and function by placing a chip in the water-resistant wool jacket to track users in avalanches.

“For me he was definitely the leader in innovation,” said Miroslava Duma founder of the digital company Buro 24/7. “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.”

“We pushed so hard and to be recognised for this is incredible. It doesn’t get more special.” DYNE designer Christopher Bevans explained after the win.

Matthew Miller and Bodice will now receive AU$200,000 to help 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, including Boutique 1, Boon The Shop, David Jones, Harvey Nichols, Hudson's Bay, Lane Crawford, LECLAIREUR,, ORDRE, Parlour X,, Sugar, Takashimaya and Tata CLiQ Luxury. The collection with the most innovative and creative wool fabrication, process or development and showed new ways to help reduce its social and environmental impact was awarded to DYNE who will receive $100,000 along with commercial opportunities.

Micayla Pereira © Modemonline