Last night, across the pond in London, The International Woolmark Prize announced its two winners; North East London designer Saul Nash and the design duo MMUSOMAXWELL. Saul Nash —known for his technical approach to sportswear—was awarded the top prize of the night, The International Woolmark Prize, taking home $140,000 (converted from AUS). Maxwell Boko and Mmuso Potsane, of high-end womenswear brand MMUSOMAXWELL, also had cause for celebration, taking home the Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation and $70,000 (roughly).
Saul won over the jury of the industry’s biggest names—Naomi Campbell, legendary French editor/stylist Carine Roitfeld, Edward Enninful—through his innovative capsule of innovative performance wear. Saul comes from a classicly trained dance background. His connection to dance, performance, and activewear inspires his design aesthetic. His capsule collection challenged the preconceived ideas surrounding sportswear through the development of new materiality.
“Everyone did a great job and could have been a winner,” said Burberry Creative Director, Riccardo Tisci via press release. “But what Saul did, coming from a ballet background to replace lycra with wool was really incredible.”
“Words cannot describe what this means to me,” said Saul Nash via press release. “In such a short space of time, I am so grateful for what I have gained in the past eight months. This really is the cherry on top for everything Woolmark has done for me.”
“Winning means everything to us,” said MMUSOMAXWELL designers Maxwell Boko and Mmuso Potsane in a press release shared with ESSENCE. South African womenswear brand MMUSOMAXWELL celebrated their big win as well. Known for their take on helping to further modernize the African design space, sharp tailoring, and commitment to traditional craftmanship, designers Maxwell Boko and Mmuso Potsane (their names make up MMUSOMAXWELL) wowed the Judges.
“When you meet certain people you immediately have love at first sight,” explains Carine Roitfeld, shared via press release. “I love what MMUSOMAXWELL is doing and how they explain their work. They have a dream and what they are doing is not just for South Africa, but for a modern, western woman. I think Karl would have loved to have spoken with them today and am sure he would be very happy to give this award to them.”
We can’t wait to see how this experience expands both brands’ businesses, technicality, and overall reach. The global fashion stage is most certainly watching!