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Sustainability in focus at annual International Woolmark Prize

Sustainability and innovation were the buzz words at this year's International Woolmark Prize (IWP) held in Florence, Italy, recently, in conjunction with Pitti Uomo, the world's biggest trade show for men's fashion. With the finals beamed live around the world it provided the perfect platform to reinforce wool's superior attributes in satisfying expectations and requirements for both.

IWP, which seeks to identify emerging design talent through a capsule collection of garments utilising Australian Merino wool is judged in six regions, Asia; Australia and New Zealand; British Isles; Indian subcontinent and Middle East; Europe and USA. One finalist from each region is selected in the categories: menswear and womenswear and for the first time this year the 12 successful designers also had the opportunity to vie for an inaugural innovation award.

All 12 finalists focused on sustainability in their presentations, not just in throw away terms as something the judges might want to hear but as something central to the core of how they live their lives based on a genuine belief in its importance. Australian judge, fashion buyer and founder of retail and online fashion outlet Parlour X, Eva Galambos, says it was interesting to see each finalist mention sustainability without any prompting.

More than 65 designers from more than 60 countries took part in this year's awards.