On Friday, July 13, the semi-finals of the International Woolmark Prize were held in New York. With two local designers in the running for the prize, Australia, and Sydney in particular, were well represented by Jacinta Demetriou for Jacinta James, and Marina Afonina for ALBUS LUMEN. The judges announced that Afonina and ALBUS LUMEN were one of the winners of the semi-final, alongside USA-born Brandon Maxwell, Colovos and WILLY CHAVARIA.
The International Woolmark Prize is an annual competition celebrating impressive designers from around the world who use Australian Merino wool in the most versatile, unique and exciting way. Originally held in 1953, the inaugural Prize was won by designers Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent. Over 300 applicants from 46 countries across the world participated this year, in what is one of the most prestigious awards for up-and-coming design talent around the globe.
At the New York semi-final, judge Gabriela Hearst, a designer and former International Woolmark Prize winner, expressed her admiration for the talent on display: “I thought the level of talent was very impressive, which made it very hard to choose the winners … What really impressed me, beyond design and innovation, was how many designers have sustainability at the core of their brand.”
Fellow judge and one of the founders of Diet Prada, Lindsey Schuyler, was similarly awed: “I was impressed by the level of technical development that we saw, because you often don’t get to see that in typical fashion presentations – it’s not until you touch it and you feel it that you can really understand what people are doing with the fibre”.
Afonina, for ALBUS LUMEN, has proposed to use wool in a unique way, while maintaining the easy, free spirit of the brand. The all-white capsule collection, titled Para Interna - Latin for pure discovery - highlights the ethereal lightness of Merino wool and focuses on the textural possibilities of the fabrics. As Afonina said, “it is extremely exciting to be taking ALBUS LUMEN to the next level using Merino wool and using new technologies”.
Alongside the other New York semi-final winners, Afonina will go on to compete among a further eight designers selected at the other semi-finals held in Hong Kong and London. These final 12 now eagerly await the grand final to be held in London in February of 2019.