Woolmark Prize
Group shot of looks from 2021 International Woolmark Prize finalist, LECAVALIER and Matty Bovan. Courtesy of Ibrahem Hasan

Since its inception, the International Woolmark Prize has awarded and incubated some of the most era-defining fashion designers, like Karl Lagerfeld, Yves Saint Laurent, Giorgio Armani, and Ralph Lauren. This year, the International Woolmark Prize has collaborated with multi-disciplinary design studio Saint Heron to highlight this years’ finalist. The International Woolmark Prize and Saint Heron Agency present Passage, a motion portraiture. Conceptualized by multi-hyphenate artist Solange Knowles and directed by esteemed director, Wu Tsang, the film presents the final Woolmark Prize collection looks from designers Bethany Williams, Casablanca, Kenneth Ize, LECAVALIER, Matty Bovan and Thebe Magugu. The film also includes cameos from five-time Grammy award winning artist — and newly-minted Twitter icon —Dionne Warwick, actress and ballroom icon Dominique Jackson, recording artist SahBabii, soul legend Joi, and new emerging multi-instrumentalist and producer KeiyaA.

Passage is a poetic, conceptual work that both highlights the designers’ Woolmark capsule collections while also telling a story. It explores the stages of creation: contemplation, courage, optimism, vulnerability, discipline and strength. Featuring the masterful work of stylist and DAZED Editor-in-chief, Ib Kamara, and a moody, free-form jazz original score by Standing on The Corner, the film is a stunning holistic feat — both visually and sonically.

GRAZIA previewed the film — as well as corresponding designer images — ahead of its launch and chatted  a bit with a few of the 2021 International Woolmark Prize finalists. Keep reading to learn more about their design inspirations, get into the breathtaking portraits of their work and check out Solange’s fashion film, Passage.

Solange—Woolmark
Solange Knowles. Courtesy of Rafael Rios.

“In continuing Saint Heron’s world making practice, “Passage” further explores my interest in theatrical production through the translation of identity, spirit, philosophy and creation. Whether it be through album artwork, stage design, or filmmaking, I’ve always sought to create new visual languages that encompass the expressions my other works cannot communicate. I’m inspired to expand these processes through the Saint Heron Agency with a wider scope of collaborations and projects”

—Solange

 

Kenneth Ize

Kenneth Ize—Woolmark Prize-Solange
Kenneth Ize. Courtesy of Ibrahem Hasan

What does the future of your brand look like?

The future of the Kenneth Ize brand is to become a heritage where we also share our values from our culture and beliefs.

How have you stayed creatively-inspired over the past year? What have you looked to for inspiration?

Looking at people and hearing their story and being able to look at what happened in the past year inspires you to create a solution. That’s what drives me.

Woolmark Prize-Solange
Actress Dominque Jackson in Kenneth Ize. Courtesy of Ibrahem Hasan

“I’m proud to have been part of this year’s International Woolmark Prize celebration. Saint Heron’s ‘Passage’ sets an artful, visual stage to empower a meditative reflection on fashion’s unique connection to the body, while uplifting the designers’ stories and intentions for their collections. It was exciting to play a role in that conveyance.”

—Dominque Jackson

Thebe Magugu

Woolmark-Solange
Thebe Magugu. Courtesy of Ibrahem Hasan

What does the future of your brand look like?

I think the roots of the brand’s culture and heritage will continue to deepen, exploring parts of our history and bringing it up into readable ready-to-wear collections. The branches of the brand, I think, will continue to grow into various markets and touch various people. As a goal, I want my brand to be seen as a go-to for beautiful, quality clothes that act as a sort of encyclopaedia for various parts of South African and African culture.

How have you stayed creatively inspired over the past year? What have you looked to for inspiration?

I have made it a point, especially during lock-down, to read or watch pieces that are thought to be classics. In literature, I have been so inspired by the writings of James Baldwin, whose writing puts our experience as Black people into perspective and focus. Also, all my collections reference south African History so I read a lot of non-fiction works, and have been very into the journalism of Mandy Wiener. With art, I have been looking at the confrontational work of Zizipho Zizipho, Athi-Patra Ruga and Banele Khoza. In music, I have the privilege of watching the growth and success of Shekhina, Una Rams, Bongeziwe Mabandla, Lucille Slade and Muzi. In fashion, my peers like Nao Serati, Mmuso Maxwell, Wanda Lephoto and Rich Mnisi have been doing stellar work. I have inspiration coming out of my ears!

Woolmark-Solange
Dionne Warwick in Thebe Magugu. Courtesy of Ibrahem Hasan

LECAVALIER

Woolmark Prize-Solange
LECAVALIER. Courtesy of Ibrahem Hasan

What does the future of your brand look like?

Marie-Ève Lecavalier: It looks bright and full of projects. We really want to become a House that will be specialized in textile development and high hand goods, as well as offering other categories of products that are part of the LECAVALIER world. But for now, I’m really concentrating on building a brand that will be inclusive and able to give back to the community we have here in Montreal and in Europe. 

How have you stayed creatively inspired over the past year? What have you looked to for inspiration?

I’m a really creative person so it’s not too much of a stretch for me. I have a lot of interest in contemporary art and music. I try to stay as open minded as possible to everything, or the daily details that happens around me. My brain is always half in reality and half in fiction so as long as I take care of me and my mind, it can be really productive.

Woolmark Prize-Solange
LECAVALIER. Courtesy of Cary Fagen

Watch ‘Passage’ below:

The winner of the IWP 2021 prize will be announced on June 10th, 2021. For more information on The International Woolmark Prize visit their website.

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