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AWI’s Business and Talent Development program brings together the company's Education and Extension, Processing Innovation and Marketing functions to drive increased business development opportunities and build an alumnus of life-long Australian wool advocates.
What is the International Woolmark Prize?
The International Woolmark Prize is the oldest and most prestigious fashion award in the world. The award celebrates the modernity of Merino wool in the hands of the world’s most promising designers.
The award runs across an 18-month cycle and includes a program of education, mentorship, networking opportunities, early-stage funding and access to the global wool supply chain. It also builds the reputation for Australian wool as the ultimate ingredient of luxury fashion through an event and content strategy targeting fashion media, retailers and luxury consumers.
Every year, 10 designers develop ground-breaking wool collections made from at least 80% Australian Merino wool. The designs are judged by the most famous and respected authorities in fashion, with many collections commercialised by the world’s most prestigious department stores and boutiques.
Why do we invest in the International Woolmark Prize?
It allows the wool industry to educate the future of fashion on the benefits and skills for working with wool. By instilling this knowledge at an early stage we are securing future demand for the fibre within the luxury industry. International Woolmark Prize alumni become lifetime ambassadors for wool and continue to use the fibre throughout their careers.
The program also provides the industry a platform to highlight wool’s environmental and technological attributes to global fashion media and builds strategic relationships with the fashion’s most prestigious retailers to bolster the Woolmark brand’s reputation as a symbol of sustainable luxury.
- More than 400 designers have benefitted from the International Woolmark Prize program
- 30 retail partners globally
- 1680 hours of mentorship
- 12 winners have sold collections certified by The Woolmark Company, travelling to stores, training retail staff and promoting to VIP spenders
- The activities have generated $196 million in editorial value
- More than 3600 media coverage across print, digital and broadcast for 2018/19, including Vogue, WWD, Forbes US, SMH, The New York Times, South China Morning Post, The Australian, Harper’s Bazaar, La Repubblica, Hypebeast, Net-A-Porter, T Magazine, Refinery 29, ABC News and Channel 9.
- The 2018/19 edition saw 10 out 12 finalists have their Merino wool collection commercialised.
What is the Woolmark Performance Challenge?
The Woolmark Performance Challenge is an annual product innovation competition open to tertiary students. It provides an opportunity to apply the unique benefits of Australian Merino wool to innovative new product applications in the sports and performance market.
Launched in 2018, the Woolmark Performance Challenge inspires science, technology, and design academics to develop innovative product solutions for performance-led apparel, by harnessing the unique natural properties of Australian Merino wool.
Why do we invest in Woolmark Performance Challenge?
The Woolmark Performance Challenge builds strategic and collaborative relationships with global performance-focused brands – who have the potential to understand and adopt new innovations – and reinforces recognition of Australian Merino wool as the world’s greatest natural performance fibre.
The program presents an unrivalled opportunity for tertiary students to apply the science and performance benefits of Australian Merino wool to innovative new product applications. It is not only a unique learning experience for students, but also provides the winner with a financial reward and potential for further collaboration.
By providing this platform for students about to enter the workforce, we are able to offer an understanding and knowledge of the innovative nature of Australian wool.
- Launched across 11 countries in Europe and North America in 2018
- The inaugural year attracted registrations from 58 institutions and 510 students
- Expanded to global entry in 2019, reaching 118 universities and 1067 students across 21 countries
- Across the 2018 and 2019 editions, 284 unique innovation ideas were submitted
- Sportswear titan adidas has been the global partner for 2018 and 2019, offering a three-month internship to the winners
- Through educational activities and events, the program has aligned with other prestigious partners such as: ISPO Munich, Outdoor Retailer, Stoll, Südwolle Group, Finisterre, Future Tech Lab, Sports Illustrated, Eco-Age, and SNEWS.