Richard Malone Is Following in Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent's Footsteps
In recent years, "sustainability" has become one of the buzziest words in fashion. It’s no longer cool to buy clothes just to have them; we have to consider the materials used, the process of making a garment, and the impact our fashion consumption will have on the environment.
That’s where the International Woolmark Prize — and this year's winner, Richard Malone, who took home the award in London on Monday night – comes in.
The competition has been around since 1953, challenging designers from around the world to create capsule collections using natural, low-impact, biodegradable Merino wool from Australia. This year's finalists were also tasked with focusing on traceability, working alongside Provenance — a blockchain-enabled platform — to outline the origin, journey, and impact of pieces, as well as Common Objective, a business network that connects designers with resources to make their business more sustainable.
Out of the hundreds of applicants, Malone ended up coming out top, with a group of expert judges (InStyle's editor-in-chief, Laura Brown, has previously served as a judge) working to narrow down the list over the past few months. His collection was inspired by his upbringing in Wexford, Ireland, and he worked closely with weavers in Tamil Nadu, India, using organic and plant-based dyes to create gorgeous yet functional pieces.
“Winning the Woolmark Prize is completely unexpected,” Malone said via press release. “It means we can continue working with this supply chain and share our learning with other brands and designers. It also opens up the dialogue of fashion so more people can be part of it. Thank you to Australia’s woolgrowers for growing this incredible fiber.”
It's worth noting that Pyer Moss, Gabriela Hearst, Monse, and Brandon Maxwell were all past nominees for the International Woolmark Prize, while Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent are on the list of winners. Even making it to the finals is a good indication that a designer's name is about to be everywhere, so be prepared to see more of Richard Malone in the coming months.
Also, on the same night, designer Emily Adams Bode took home Woolmark's first Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation. She was praised for her creativity using deadstock fabric from abandoned factories to make clothing such as overcoats and suits.