Saul Nash wins 2022 Woolmark Prize
by Modem – Posted April 29 2022
© Modem

Saul Nash was awarded 2022’s edition of the International Woolmark Prize during a ceremony in London.
British-Guyanese menswear designer Saul Nash, selected from seven finalists from around the world, received the 200,000 Australian dollars in prize money for his merino capsule collection, alongside mentoring from Woolmark to scale his business and the chance to have his collection stocked at leading stores via the International Woolmark Prize Retailer Network.

An expert jury including Ben Gorham, Carine Roitfeld, Edward Enninful OBE, Ibrahim Kamara, Marc Newson CBE, Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski, Naomi Campbell, Pieter Mulier, Riccardo Tisci, Shaway Yeh, Sinéad Burke and Tim Blanks selected the winners.

London-based designer Saul Nash was praised for his modern use of Merino wool, bridging a gap between active solutions and more formal requirements.

“Everyone did a great job and could have been a winner,” said Riccardo Tisci. “But what Saul did, coming from a ballet background to replace lycra with wool was really incredible.”

With a true sense of discovery, this collection exposed Nash to the benefits of Merino wool in activewear, allowing him to develop materials which have enhanced the quality of his designs without compromising their technical DNA. With a focus on minimising waste, and emphasising movement and performance, Saul Nash’s modern interpretation of knitwear challenges preconceived ideas surrounding sportswear. “Words cannot describe what this means to me,” said Saul Nash after the announcement. “In such a short space if time I am so grateful for what I have gained in the past eight months. This really is the cherry on top for everything Woolmark has done for me.”

The designer was joined by the two designers behind South Africa’s Mmusomaxwell, who received the Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation. From South Africa, Mmusomaxwell's winning collection was committed to reducing its environmental impact and upskilling traditional craftsmanship. “When you meet certain people you immediately have love at first sight,” explains Carine Roitfeld. “I love what Mmusomaxwell is doing and how they explain their work. They have a dream and what they are doing is not just for South Africa, but for a modern, western woman. I think Karl would have loved to have spoken with them today and am sure he would be very happy to give this award to them.”

Sourcing local raw materials and end-to-end production, Mmusomaxwell took an artisanal approach to its collection. Each item promotes slow and small batch production through use of local artisans to counteract the over-consumption pandemic and allows for greater product traceability. The jury praised the design duo for their passion, courage and committed to introducing a new skillset to South African manufacturers. "Winning means everything to us,” said Mmusomaxwell designers Maxwell Boko and Mmuso Potsane. "It allows us to continue working with artisans and to further explore with Merino wool, which is fantastic for us. It’s mind blowing.”

The International Woolmark Prize, funded by Australian woolgrowers, is one of fashion’s most prestigious awards for young emergent talent, inviting innovation with merino wool since the 1950s.

The other finalists included Ahluwalia (United Kingdom), Egonlab (France), Jordan Dalah, (Australia), Peter Do (USA) and Rui (China).

Photo: Lillie Eiger. Courtesy of Woolmark

© Modem