The fates are against Christian Wijnants and I being in the same room at the same time. Owing to a series of unfortunate events I missed both the Woolmark Prize (which he won) and his Paris fashion week show. Thank you flu, and a badly sprained ankle respectively (the latter quite literally happened while on my way to his show.)
But thankfully you don’t even need to see Wijnants’ designs in person to understand why he was handed the much coveted prize. Though up against some seriously tough competition (including Australia’s Dion Lee, a worthy opponent indeed), the Belgian designer made it over the line for having “invented a new shape” and making it possible “with an industrial production process”, according to Franca Sozzani of Vogue Italia.
The Woolmark Prize (http://www.woolmarkprize.com) is a massive coup for any designer, winning them $100,000 AUD and prestigious stockists around the world. Perhaps the most important thing about the award is that it honours more than aesthetics, taking into consideration knitting and dying techniques and innovative use of fabrics. Rewarding true craftsmanship is something the fashion industry always needs more of.
Woolmark Company Managing Director, Stuart McCullough, summed up the purpose of the award thus: “The International Woolmark Prize seeks outstanding and emerging talent from around the world… The prize is our commitment to supporting the future of the fashion industry and we are honoured to have received support from the global industry by way of our premier retail partners and judges both at the international and regional level.”
Congratulations to Christian Wijnants, who showed a beautiful fall 2013 collection in Paris last night. Perhaps, fates allowing, I’ll get to see it in person next season.