Last night at Milk Studios, a panel that included the CFDA's Steven Kolb and W's Stefano Tonchi awarded the Woolmark Prize to Tanya Taylor for womenswear, and Siki Im for menswear. Each was chosen for having the most innovation and dexterity with wool, and selected from a pool of ten emerging U.S. designers, among them Novis, CG, Cadet, and Thaddeus O'Neil.
"Siki is an out-of-the-box thinker. He doesn’t walk the same path as everyone else," said panel judge John Varvatos of Im's year-round knit designs, which were made to conduct body heat. That much was clear just last Thursday, too, at his teenage-themed New York Fashion Week: Men's presentation, where he adorned models with bubble-lettered mix CDs, lanyards, and motherboards. As for Taylor, Calvin Klein's Francisco Costa praised her choice in prints and fabrics, calling her collection "free-spirited, happy, and playful." She was one of ten CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalists last year, but this was her first major win since starting her line in 2012.
Both designers are now tasked with creating a capsule collection of merino wool in the next six months to compete for the International Woolmark Prize. Given the success of the last couple of years' winners — Public School and Altuzarra — there's no doubt we'll be seeing more of these two soon.