Irish designer Richard Malone was today announced the winner of the 2020 International Woolmark Prize, with Bode winning the inaugural Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation.

Staged during London Fashion Week, this year’s final was judged by a highly esteemed panel comprised of Tim Blanks, Hamish Bowles, Sinead Burke, Edward Enninful OBE, Kim Jones, Takashi Murakami, Holli Rogers, Anja Rubik and Shaway Yeh.

For the first time in its history, this year’s competition focused on supply train traceability, with each of the 10 finalists producing six fully traceable merino wool garments. The designers worked with sustainable-sourcing platform Common Objective and supply chain technology company Provenance, which enabled them to gather and store information about their supply chain through blockchain technology. In an added twist of transparency, consumers will be able to track the product journey by scanning garment tags.

 

Off the back of his spectacular Fall Winter 2020 collection on Sunday, the Woolmark Prize was a timely feat for the talented Irish designer who has been vocal about changing our collective approach to design, sustainability, transparency and luxury. Inspired by his native Wexford, Ireland, Malone creates considered, functional and beautifully made garments that minimise harm to the environment and contribute to creating a circular, sustainable fashion system. Since his label’s inception, he has been celebrated for his inventiveness and innovation in fabric production, garment manufacturing, pattern cutting, recycling and education. His approach to the International Woolmark Prize was an extension of this: to preserve tradition and give equal respect to all involved in the collection’s creation.

While the first winner of The Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation, Emily Adams Bode, was praised for outstanding creativity and innovation, the same attributes which led to Lagerfeld’s award-winning and history-making success back in the 1954 awards. The award was presented to Bode by Carine Roitfeld, the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of CR Fashion Book.

With functionality and sustainability already the foundation of their brands, both winners plan to incorporate new learnings from the Woolmark competition into future collections. Bode was introduced to new merino wool suppliers that she will continue to work with, while Malone’s work with Woolmark has moved him further towards his goal of 100 per cent circularity.

thoughts?