UK based designer Matty Bovan has just been announced the winner of both the 2021 International Woolmark Prize and the Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation, following a special virtual Zoom event with a panel of industry titans. This marks the second time in the award’s modern iteration that a singular designer has been awarded both prizes. Bovan joins a prestigious list of winners including Richard Malone, Cottweiler, Public School and fellow UK designer Edward Crutchley — who also won the double back in 2019. Selected by a distinguished panel of judges including fashion icon and CR Fashion Book’s editor-in-chief Carine Roitfeld, Dazed editor-in-chief Ib Kamara, Thom Browne and pioneer of the sustainable fashion movement in Asia, Shaway Yeh, Bovan’s capsule collection, titled “Ode to the Sea,’ with its design sensibility and conceptual approach to fashion really impressed the judges.
Praised for his technically sophisticated jacquard weave designs, intricate storytelling through design, advanced knitting and weaving techniques and sustainable approach to sourcing locally, Bovan received rave reviews from a few of the influential judges. “Matty is truly and authentically creative, proving and representing that everything starts from pure creativity,” said Thom Browne. Browne went on to say: “He is also true to himself as a creative, a true individual and true individuals are the best leaders. For me, there is nothing more inspiring than young artists who are unique and true to themselves.”
“It’s a huge honour to win these prizes and I’m so excited for where it’s going to take me – I was already so thrilled with the Woolmark Prize platform and experience,” said Bovan. “Being a part of the International Woolmark Prize has really helped elevate my brand and elevate my awareness and knowledge of how I operate as a business and as a label. It’s been amazing and I have loved every minute of it.” Matty Bovan’s Woolmark capsule collection draws inspiration from traveling and escapism — or as he puts it himself — “going through a traumatic event and coming out the other side.” Bovan worked with local suppliers and manufacturers, supporting local businesses, craftspeople and artisans to produce his Woolmark capsule collection. We first got a glimpse of Bovan’s voluminous designs in the beautiful fashion film, Passage, a collaboration between Solange Knowles, Saint Heron and International Woolmark Prize, showcasing the designs of the six prize finalist.
“I’m honestly so shocked and so happy.”
“What impressed me about Matty is his capacity to win both awards – for his innovation and creativity and I really think he deserves it,” said judge Carine Roitfeld. “He is pure fashion, he makes me dream and he reminds me of a young Vivienne Westwood or a John Galliano and we desperately need that sort of designer in the fashion world of today.” Roitfeld was the one to notify Bovan of his win via a special virtual event. The designer was shocked as Roitfeld told him that not only was he the winner, but he was a double winner of both awards. “Oh my God! I don’t know what to say” said Bovan. “I’m honestly so shocked and so happy.”
We’re excited to hear more from Bovan and see what he does next. Check out Bovan’s winning capsule collection and a look into his creative process below: