UK-based fashion designer Matty Bovan has won the 2021 International Woolmark Prize as well as the Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation. Bovan joined fellow UK designer Edward Crutchley - who won the double back in 2019 - after a panel of industry heavyweights selected him the winner during a special virtual event held earlier this month.
The International Woolmark Prize celebrates fashion talents from around the globe who showcase the beauty and versatility of Australian Merino wool, the organisers of the event said in a press release.
Praised for his technically advanced jacquard weave designs, unique style, intricate designs, advanced understanding of both knit and weave techniques, strong colour combinations and sustainable approach to local sourcing and production, Bovan’s sensibility and conceptual approach to fashion impressed the judges.
“When I see your collection, I see moving things forward and a real hunger for showing people what they haven't seen before and that is something that is really necessary right now and so inspiring,” said American fashion designer Thom Browne, who sat on the judging panel alongside Carine Roitfeld, Ib Kamara, Shaway Yeh, Sinéad Burke, Tasha Liu, Tim Blanks and Julie Davies.
Bovan’s Ode to the Sea draws inspiration from travelling and escapism – going through a traumatic event and coming out the other side. Based in York, Bovan worked with local suppliers and manufacturers, supporting local businesses, craftspeople and artisans through his tight supply chain network.
Using roll end cloth from AW Hainsworth, screen printing and hand painting, Bovan gave new life to discarded pieces of fabric. Limited runs in-house turned deadstock fabric into commercial limited pieces, the release said.
“It’s a huge honour to win these prizes and I’m so excited for where it’s going to take me,” said Bovan. “I was already so thrilled with the Woolmark Prize platform and experience. Being a part of the International Woolmark Prize has really helped elevate my brand and elevate my awareness and knowledge of how I operate as a business and as a label. It’s been amazing and I have loved every minute of it.”