Ex Infinitas and macgraw win the 2016/17 International Woolmark Prize Australia & New Zealand final

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Ex Infinitas and macgraw were last night announced as the menswear and womenswear winners, respectively, of the 2016/17 International Woolmark Prize Australia & New Zealand regional final.

2016/17 International Woolmark Prize Australia & New Zealand regional final winners Lukas Vincent of Ex Infinitas (second from left) with model (far left) with Beth and Tessa MacGraw of macgraw and model (far right).

Jason Wu - Founder and Creative Director, Jason Wu and Artistic Director, Hugo Boss; Richard Nicoll - Fashion designer; Nick Smith - Group Publisher - Health and Lifestyle NewsLifeMedia; Emily Taylor - Editor of InStyle Australia; Kellie Hush - Editor in-chief Harper’s BAZAAR; Glenn Elliott - Senior National Buyer Men's Tailored and Luxury Clothing, David Jones; Damian Burke - General Manager Womenswear, David Jones; Colette Garnsey - Core Brands Director, Premier Investments; and Mitchell Oakley Smith - Fashion Editor and Author selected the winners at an awards event held in Sydney, Australia.

"The level of talent was really high,” explains Jason Wu. “All of the designers showed a great balance of creativity and commercialisation, which is integral today."

Ex Infinitas designer Lukas Vincent fused surf culture with tailoring in an innovative way, using wool in different weights and textures to offer a modern take on menswear.  

“Lukas came with a sharp point of view, a plan, a unique use of wool - he really transformed the material and definitely stood out as the clear winner,” said Wu.

macgraw duo - Beth and Tessa MacGraw - showed a two-piece look made up of a wool overcoat with hand embroidered Merino wool flowers, and a wool dress.

“Their (macgraw's) ability to present, to share their point of view, and the amount of stores they are already stocked in speaks lengths of their talent,” Wu continued. “To the judging panel, they seemed the most ready to advance to the next stage.”

"I'm super excited to win the International Woolmark Prize," said Lukas Vincent. "It means so much for my business to continue pushing Australian fashion not only in Australia but internationally as well.”

“It’s been an absolute dream; it’s a dream come true and we are absolutely elated,” Beth and Tessa MacGraw said after their win. “We are blown away and it means a lot to us. We’re ready to show the world what we’ve got.

Chosen from amongst the most promising fashion design talents from Australia and New Zealand, both winners gain a financial contribution of AU$50,000, plus the opportunity to represent Australian and New Zealand and compete in the prestigious international final. In addition, each winner will receive mentoring support from a global panel of experts along with being granted a Woolmark licence.

For the next six months, the winning designers will be required to develop a capsule collection in Merino wool, to be showcased at one of two extraordinary events that will highlight the six menswear finalists and six womenswear finalists selected from across the globe. The final for menswear will be held on schedule during London Collections Men and the womenswear final will be held in Paris, both in January 2017.

The winners of the menswear and womenswear global finals will receive a further AU$100,000 to assist with fabric sourcing and marketing of their collection, as well as mentoring from industry experts. In addition, both international winners will have the opportunity to have their collection distributed through the prize&rs's prestigious international retail partner network including Harvey Nichols in the UK, David Jones in Australia, Boutique 1 in the UAE, Verso in Belgium, LECLAIREUR in Paris, Boon the Shop in South Korea, The Papilion in Indonesia and online through mytheresa.com (womenswear) and MATCHESFASHION.COM (menswear).

The Woolmark Company is pleased to have the support of Wine Australia as the official drinks partner, along with TONI&GUY and makeup by MAC for the 2016/17 Australia & New Zealand International Woolmark Prize.

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