Applications are now open for the 2021 International Woolmark Prize

A game-changer.

It’s been a pretty sucky time for emerging designers, so we do hope this is a little ray of sunshine in an otherwise largely crappy time. The entry process for the 2021 International Woolmark Prize is now open, with applications being accepted via the online portal here.

The Woolmark Prize is designed to discover and nurture outstanding design talent and so it quite literally has the potential to launch careers. The proof is in the pudding, with alumni including Karl Lagerfeld, Ralph Lauren, Yves Saint Laurent, Gabriela Hearst and Dion Lee.

Despite its illustrious history, the award is open to any and all emerging talent worldwide. The only proviso is you must have shown promise and dedication in growing a sustainable business, and you must meet the following qualifiers:

  • At the time of submitting your application, you’ve been producing commercially available apparel for a minimum of two years and a maximum of eight years,
  • You are yet to be established in a global sense,
  • You have experience in working with and promoting best practice across apparel supply chains,
  • You can show a yearly growth in sales, and
  • You can demonstrate an innovative use of fabric and textiles

If you’re looking for more incentive than guaranteed prestige, global recognition, and support in establishing a longterm successful career in local and international markets, then please take note.

A total of 10 finalists will be selected, with receiving $70,000 to develop a new capsule collection to highlight the versatility of Merino wool. Each will also earn a spot in The Woolmark Company’s Innovation Academy, a holistic 18-month education and mentoring program that offers access to partners and advisors supporting product development, research and development, business strategies, and sustainability strategies to assist in the development of both their collections and brand.

Finalists will also have the opportunity to have their capsule collections produced and sold throughout a network of the world’s top boutiques and department stores, under the International Woolmark Prize’s Retail Partner Network.

If you win, it gets even better. Next year’s winner will take home an extra $200,000 to launch their career.

And if you’re thinking it all sounds a little out of reach, note that this year’s prize had 300 applicants. With 10 finalists selected, we’d posit those are good odds.

Anyone interested can review the extended application criteria and apply here. Good luck.


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