The Woolmark company has announced its European nomineesfor its International Woolmark Prize 2014-2015, which includes British designers Agi & Sam and 1205. The nominated designers have been selected for the European qualifying round, set to take place on July 8 in Paris during its Haute Couture week, for the chance to win 50,000 Australian dollars (28,000 pounds) and design a collection for the international finale.
Design duo Agi & Sam consists of the combined efforts of Agi Mdumulla, from Yorkshire and Sam Cotton, from Stratford-Upon-Avon. Agi previously studied fashion design at the Manchester School of Art, whilst Sam studied Illustration at the University of Lincoln before the two met while working at Alexander McQueen. In January 2010, the two decided to set up a menswear brand together that focuses on bespoke print and British tailoring.
1205 was created by designer Paula Gerbase, who studied womenswear at Central Saint Martins and trained in couture tailoring at the atelier of Hardy Amies, before becoming head designer of Kilgour, Savile Row tailor. During her five years at Kilgour, she learned the knowledge she needed to launch her own contemporary menswear and womenswear label.
The Woolmark Company has altered the rules for this year's competition for the first time and have decided to awarded two designers, one for womenswear and one for menswear, crowning two winners. The ten designers who are selected for the international final will be chosen from five regional competitions held in Asia, Australia, Europe, India, the Middle East and the US.
Then, the final five menswear designers will be present their collections in January 2015, during London Collections: Men and the five womenswear finalists will show their collections in March 2015, in Beijing. The two crowned winners will be awarded 100,000 Australian dollars (56,000 pounds) and their winning collections will be sold in premium department stores around the world such as Harvey Nichols, Saks 5th Avenue, Colette and David Jones.
Previous winners of the prize include Indian designer Rahul Mishra and Belgium designer Christian Wijnants, awarded in Milan in 2014 and London in 2013 respectively.