The eight finalists of the 2023 International Woolmark Prize have been chosen.

    The up-and-coming designers who have hopes of winning the prestigious fashion award once won by Karl Lagerfeld are A Roege Hove from Denmark, Bluemarble from France, Lagos Space Program from Nigeria, Italian Marco Ramabldi, Maxxij from Aus South Korea, the designer Paolina Russo living in England, the US fashion label Rhude and Robyn Lynch from Ireland.

    “This group of finalists represent the next generation of creative innovators striving to design fashion for a better future,” said John Roberts, chief executive officer of The Woolmark Company in a statement Monday. This year’s competition theme is ” Dialogue.” According to the organizers, the theme “represents an important element of the creative process” and “reflects The Woolmark Company’s mission to establish dialogue and bring together leading design talent with industry players to create a more sustainable future shape”.

    Four of the eight Woolmark Prize 2023 finalists (from left to right): Rhude, Paolina Russo [x2], MAXXIJ, Marco Rambaldi. Photo: Woolmark Company

    The designers will receive AU$60,000 (EUR 38,742.90) to develop six different looks using merino wool, which they will create with the help of mentors from the program’s education and mentoring initiative, the Innovation Academy. It is possible to create a capsule collection for the award, or present the six designs as part of a larger Fall/Winter 2023 collection. No matter which of the two variants the designers choose, the designs must emphasize “the versatility, the innovative character and the ecological advantages of merino wool”. Mentors include well-known industry giants such as Holli Rogers, Gabriella Karefa-Johnson, Sinéad Burke, Sara Sozzani Maino and Tim Blanks.

    The main prize of the International Woolmark Prize is 200,000 Australian dollars (approx. 129,143 euros). The winner of the Karl Lagerfeld Innovation Award will receive AUD 100,000 (approximately EUR 64,571.50). Previous winners of the International Woolmark Prize include Matty Bovan, Bode and Christian Wijnants.