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The Woolmark Company on Thursday announced Albus Lumen, Brandon Maxwell, Colovos and Willy Chavarria as the winners of the 2018/19 International Woolmark Prize New York semi-final. A panel of judges that included Stefano Tonchi, Jim Moore, Gabriela Hearst, Malcolm Carfrae, Kirsten Lock, Michelle Lee, Steven Kolb, Tyler Franch, Tony Liu and Lindsey Schuyler of Diet Prada and others chose the winners at a luncheon at Neuehouse in New York City.

Each design house, Marina Afonina of Albus Lumen from Australia, and Brandon Maxwell, Nicole & Michael Colovos of Colovos and Willy Chavarria from the United States, will receive an AU$70,000 prize for the development of their businesses and capsule collection, and will compete with 8 additional finalists at the global final to be held in London in February 2019.

Brandon Maxwell, Nicole & Michael Colovos, Marina Afonina of Albus Lumen & Willy Chavarria

In the ensuing seven months, the finalists will develop a capsule collection of six looks in Merino wool to be presented at an event in London, where one menswear and one womenswear winner will be named and will receive AU$200,000 each. In addition, the winning collections will be distributed at Hudson’s Bay Company, Lane Crawford, Harvey Nichols, Boon the Shop, SSENSE.com, Mytheresa.com, and Leclaireur among others.

“Now in its seventh year the International Woolmark Prize has evolved into one of the biggest fashion awards of its caliber and so we have restructured the program to ensure our nominees and finalists receive the highest level of industry support and guidance,” explains The Woolmark Company Managing Director Stuart McCullough.

“The exceptional quality demonstrated by this year’s designers not only reinforces the strength of the award but also proves Australian wool’s relevance on the global stage. Wool’s inherent benefits combined with its eco-credentials provide designers with countless possibilities and I am excited to see what innovative designs are showcased at the global final next year.”

The seventh year of the International Woolmark Prize competition has been structured differently than past editions. Instead of selecting applicants in six regions, the company nominated designers from 46 countries to compete in three regions, which are Hong Kong, the UK and New York City. The three New York semi-final winners competed with designers from Russia, Italy and Nigeria in addition to Australia and the US.

Woolmark will also select a finalist for the Innovation Award, which celebrates innovative and creative wool fabrics, processes or developments, and reward them with AU$100,000. New York City-based label DYNE was the named the inaugural winner of the Innovation Award in 2017.