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Wool Stocktake : AWI Annual Report 2016-17
2016/17 menswear competition winners Ben Cottrell (far left) and Matthew Dainty (far right) of British label COTTWEILER with models. 2016/17 womenswear competition winner Gabriela Hearst (second left) of the USA with models. • For the first time, the womenswear and menswear finals were held together at the one event, staged in January against the backdrop of the Eiffel Tower at Paris’ Palais de Tokyo. The return of the International Woolmark Prize to Paris saluted the original awards, initiated by the International Wool Secretariat in 1953. • COTTWEILER from Britain was the winner of the menswear competition for 2016/17. The winning collection comprises sheer Merino wool base-layers, windproof mid-layers and quilted waterproof outerwear, with wool-blend fabrics ranging from 18.5 microns through to 19.5 microns, and recycled wool scraps used for insulation. • Gabriela Hearst from the USA won the womenswear award for 2016/17 and was praised for her technical innovation and quality craftsmanship. Born in Uruguay, the New York- based designer grew up on a sheep farm and believes in the traditional values of quality. Using ultrafine 14.5 micron Merino wool for luxurious knitwear, through to 21.5 micron wool to create a wool-velvet fabrication, Hearst’s clean cuts and precision offers a collection set to stand the test of time. It incorporated sleek silhouettes with updates on trench coats, pleats and an evening dress teamed with the more utilitarian baseball jacket with adjoining scarf, one-piece long johns, reversible puffer vest and cycling trousers. • Editorial value for 2016/17 was $28 million. Although less than last year, it is still strong and many traditional articles/channels have been replaced with increased social media engagement on social media platforms. The International Woolmark Prize social media campaign reached more than 129 million people across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. On Facebook alone, 114,000 people were driven to Woolmarkprize.com and Merino.com, and the content reached a peak of 3.3 million unique people. The impact of industry influencers such as Victoria Beckham, Vogue and department store Bergdorf Goodman were notably felt on Twitter, with the most influential #woolmarkprize post reaching 12.5 million people, whilst on Instagram overall reach of #woolmarkprize content across Instagram grew by a massive 165% compared to last year. • As well as winning prize money to help support the development of their businesses, both COTTWEILER and Gabriela Hearst also received ongoing industry mentor support, Woolmark certification for their winning collections and the opportunity to be stocked in some of the world’s most prestigious department stores and boutiques. These include Boutique 1, Boon the Shop, David Jones, Harvey Nichols, Hudson’s Bay Company, Isetan, Lane Crawford, LECLAIREUR, mytheresa.com, The Papilion and ssense.com. All finalists’ collections will also become available for wholesale purchase via Ordre.com. • At the trade level, the competition in 2016/17 attracted a high calibre of supporters from nominating bodies including the British Fashion Council and the Council of Fashion Designers of America, as well as retailers. The Trade Partnership Program continued in 2016/17 to connect promising designers with the best spinners and weavers specialising in wool. • At the jury level, there was engagement with an alumnus of the world’s leading influencers of fashion, such as designer Victoria Beckham and maverick founder of Dazed Media, Jefferson Hack – who were judges in 2016/17 – and who donate their time at no cost and all of whom not only have a shared and stated interest in the development of new talent and new markets, but also help attract enormous media attention worldwide to expose the innovative nature and versatility of Australian wool. • For next year’s International Woolmark Prize competition, AWI is enhancing the structure of the competition, reinforcing its commitment to supporting emerging design talent. A newly introduced Innovation Award has been created, commencing in 2017/18, to celebrate outstanding creative and innovative fabric or yarn development in wool. The new award aims to inspire the designer finalists to be more experimental when developing fabric or yarn for their final collections, and shines a spotlight on the textile mills assisting in developing the innovative wool fabric and yarn. • In another change to the International Woolmark Prize for 2017/18, each of the 65 global nominees that competed in the six regional events received $2,000 to assist in the development of their submission pieces, ahead of the regional finals that were held in Sydney, London, Milan, New York, Seoul and Dubai in July 2017 and August 2017. Each regional menswear and womenswear winner received $70,000 to go towards their final collection to be presented at the global finals event early next year. REPORT OF 2016/17 OPERATIONS – MARKETING 19
AWI Annual Report 2015-16