Representing the creative future

Discover the finalists of the 2022 International Woolmark Prize

Outpacing hundreds of applicants, seven brands are set to create collections uniting fun and transparency to claim the prestigious industry prize

The Woolmark Company has announced the seven finalists who are up for the award in 2022. Ahluwalia, EGONlab., Jordan Dalah, MMUSOMAXWELL, PETER DO, RUI, and Saul Nash are all given AU$60,000 to develop a Merino wool collection for Autumn/Winter 2022 centred around this year’s theme “Play”. The emerging talents are expected to experiment with design and use forward-thinking business practices that include transparent supply chains and sustainability roadmaps created in partnership with Common Objective.


Celebrating the innovative use of textiles and fabrics, the prize and the development program connected to it have been a household name when it comes to the support of designers from all around the world. The winner will take home AU$200,000 to invest into their brand, while two other finalists are chosen for The Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation worth AU$100,000 and The Woolmark Supply Chain Award.

“As the award continues to evolve, our aim is to support designers to think beyond today, highlighting the innovation, versatility, and sustainability of Merino wool and showcase its basis for new technologies to meet the discerning needs of tomorrow’s customer,” says John Roberts, CEO of Australian Wool Innovation, Woolmark’s parent company.

Before the winner, selected by a panel of industry experts, is announced in April 2022, the contestants are supported by the program’s Innovation Academy. As with every year, big industry names – including Farfetch’s Chief Brand Officer Holli Rogers and Business of Fashion’s Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks, amongst others – are ready to be mentors to the finalists, aiding them in all things research, development, and commerce.

Meet the seven finalists of the Internation Woolmark Prize 2022 and their reactions to being nominated for an award whose past recipients include Karl Lagerfeld, Yves Saint Laurent, Gabriela Hearst, and, most recently, last year’s winner Matty Bovan.

Ahluwalia, United Kingdom

The London-based brand was founded by Priya Ahluwalia in 2018 and has since been known for its pioneering approach to fashion. Working with vintage, the designer aims to give new life to pieces making use of textile techniques such as patchwork. She is inspired by the arts, always embedding her garments into visual or verbal narratives in the form of books and films. The past and present as well as near and far mixed with Priya’s Nigerian-Indian heritage meet in a sartorial form in her collections. “It is such an honour to be a part of such a prestigious prize, which I have long admired for the innovative and forward-thinking work that comes out of it,” she says. “I have been following Woolmark since I was a student, and it is incredible that I get to be a part of it, following in some amazing footsteps.”

Jordan Dalah, Australia

Jordan Dalah’s designs take up space. Inspired by historical figures such as the Tudor family or Jackie O as well as costume archives, his creations are regally voluminous while remaining both clear and modern. Puffy sleeves, big bows, and crinolines with the occasional tight fit in-between. With previous experience at JW Anderson, he has been dividing his time between London and his native Sydney, having sourced deadstock from local suppliers in the latter for his Spring 2021 collection. “As a designer, you never really have time to measure the milestones in your career, you just keep moving forward with the aim of overcoming each hurdle or achieving new goals. Taking a moment to reflect on this opportunity is incredibly exciting, and I am incredibly grateful,” he says.

EGONlab., France

A good two years after starting their unisex brand, life and business partners Florentine Glémarec and Kévin Nompeix can already celebrate an International Woolmark Prize nomination. “It’s a real honour and responsibility to represent France. Being nominated as a finalist is already a victory for a young and emerging brand like EGONlab. – especially knowing the history of this Prize,” they shared. Self-proclaimed visual artists, the pair designs collections that re-interpret artistic movements which have shaped modern society. Fashion, music, media design, and art come together to create fully immersive and unique experiences for the customers. Besides the genius yet heart-warming idea of Nompeix’s grandparents being the label’s ambassadors, they also came up with a collection of streamlined business and streetwear pieces made of a photosynthetically coated material which absorbs as much CO2 in eight weeks as a six-year-old oak tree in six months.


The creative union of Maxwell Boko and Mmuso Potsane at an internship program led to the founding of their womenswear brand in 2016. Based in Johannesburg, the design duo makes practical and wearable ready-to-wear that is ethically and sustainably produced. What all their previous collections share is the bold use of rich colours, clean-cut asymmetry and skilful pleats which elevate the pieces and show the designers’ knowledge of tailoring. Above all, there is a clear appreciation of their African heritage, and how it can be translated into modern times. “As an emerging brand that is in a remote part of the fashion world, it is essential to have that kind of support while navigating and growing our business,” Boko and Potsane say about the relevance of their Woolmark Prize nomination.


A group of long-time friends, the designer collective from NYC stands for true family values – kindness and mutual respect. “It’s such an honour to be a finalist and to be included amongst such a talented group of designers. We’ve always wanted to be a part of the prize and after such a tumultuous year, it feels especially special,” the brand shared. Leaving nothing to chance, PETER DO checks every sartorial detail to make sure their pieces purely add value to the wearer’s life. The label around Do, who immigrated to the States from Vietnam at age 14, aims to challenge prevalent structures of the industry with their fierce tailoring and sophisticated coolness that contrasts knits and pastels with leather and sturdy hardware.

RUI, China

RUI is all about the spaces in-between. With studios in Shanghai and NYC, Rui Zhou’s brand, launched in 2019, offers pieces that are almost philosophical in the way that they cling to the body like a second skin, imprinting it with a pattern that follows one’s every move effortlessly. Her knitted bodysuits, tights, tops, and dresses are dominated by circular cut-outs and made primarily from sheer and delicate nylon. RUI is already enjoying popularity on social media, and has been invited to show at NYFW three times. Yet, this nomination means a lot in terms of the brand’s creative development. “Not only do we feel grateful that the Woolmark Prize provided us with such an excellent platform to showcase our concepts and designs to a wider audience, but it’s also a chance for us to show self-exploration and a deeper understanding of RUI,” Zhou says.

Saul Nash, United Kingdom

Merging luxury menswear with activewear, British designer Saul Nash makes sure that all his pieces allow absolute freedom of movement. With a background in dancing as a choreographer, he creates technical garments in lightweight and functional materials. Colour-coordinated sets for every season consist of shorts, sweaters, hoodies, and puffer jackets that are presented in a dynamic way, emphasising the community spirit by involving friends and collaborators. On top of that, Nash produces in limited quantities with the help of North London manufacturers, keeping the business local and sustainable. “The Prize not only has such an inspiring list of alumni – so many creative people I look up to – but it also provides a uniquely exciting space for material development and innovation,” he shares. “The process already feels like a career game-changer; the connections and insight offered by the team at Woolmark are meaningful and real.”