Jun 10, 2021
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Matty Bovan wins both 2021 International Woolmark Prizes; as support group opens new space in La Caserne

Jun 10, 2021

Matty Bovan has won both the 2021 International Woolmark Prizes, in a special virtual event this year, the merino wool industry support group announced Thursday.

Matty Bovan by Ian Gavan for Getty - Foto: Ibrahem Hasan

A rare double winner in the closely watched annual competition, Bovan was chosen by a jury that included Carine Roitfeld, Ib Kamara, Shaway Yeh, Sinéad Burke, Tasha Liu, Thom Browne and Julie Davies.
New York-raised, but London-trained at Central Saint Martins, Bovan is known for this kicky, lustrous, high-color concoctions.

“What impressed me about Matty is his capacity to win both awards – for his innovation and creativity – and I really think he deserves it. He is pure fashion, he makes me dream and he reminds me of a young Vivienne Westwood or a John Galliano and we desperately need that sort of designer in the fashion world of today,” said Roitfeld.
Added designer Browne: “Matty is truly and authentically creative, proving and representing that everything starts from pure creativity.”
The Woolmark Prize has long been a coveted award, especially since 1954 when a youthful Yves Saint Laurent won the award for a dress, and Karl Lagerfeld that for a coat. This year, Bovan won both the International Woolmark Prize and the Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation.

A collection by Matty Bovan - Photo: Ibrahem Hasan - Photo: Ibrahem Hasan

Bovan’s latest Ode to the Sea collection drew inspiration from travelling and escapism – going through a traumatic event and coming out the other side. 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 pieces.
“It’s a huge honor to win these prizes and I’m so excited for where it’s going to take me – I was already so thrilled with the Woolmark Prize platform and experience,” said Bovan.
“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,” added Bovan.
The other five finalists were Casablanca, Thebe Magugu, Kenneth Ize, Lecavalier and Bethany Williams.
In a busy week for Woolmark, the wool industry support group and global trademark, also opened a new space in La Caserne, an exciting new fashion incubator in north Paris, which is also supported by Kering and LVMH.
In the Caserne, a Woolmark sourcing showroom will support young designers, students and committed brands with a selection of innovative and sustainable wool fabrics - helping brands discover the versatility of this natural, renewable and circular material.  This sort of commitment has been at the heart of Woolmark’s strategy for many years. The group has worked with LVMH's IME vocational program for the past three years and launched case studies with business school ESCP on the challenges of sustainable fashion. 
The incubator’s opening was celebrated with a courtyard installation featuring designs by two of this year’s finalists – Casablanca and Thebe Magugu.
So, we also caught up with Damien Pommeret, regional managing director of Western Europe Woolmark, for the latest on all his organization's moves.

A look by Matty Bovan - Photo: Ibrahem Hasan - Photo: Ibrahem Hasan

FashionNetwork.com: Why has Woolmark joined La Caserne?
Damien Pommeret: I’m in charge of all Western Europe, and am based in Paris, though a big part of the team is based in London. But when I heard about this new concept, and this location, I thought 'yes.' When people are travelling to see fashion they want to go somewhere easy to get in, where you can have restaurants, terrasses, showrooms, like La Caserne. So, we took a permanent showroom here, right above the entrance. On top of us we have LVMH and on the last floor is Kering. There are a lot of different new designers and brands. The concept is really about bringing people together, people that don’t know each other, there is a great mix.
FNW: How do you see this project evolving?
DP: In fashion, there has rarely been a culture to share or exchange. So, we discussed how we will change the way we work. For us, as a non-profit company that has existed for a long time, we do a lot of things, but maybe are not good at communicating that. And here we improve that. We are doing a lot of “on farm” projects - working with animal welfare; on circularities; with all the supplies chain and with brands. We say, ‘Hey do you want to change a little bit your offer?’ because maybe right now 15% of what you sell in upper luxury is still plastic. Many brands don’t know how to do that. So, for example we did a beautiful collaboration with Prada on The America’s Cup, 100% wool collection and no chemicals – that innovation is available for brands and designers.
FNW:  How will your space here operate?
DP: We will have two permanent persons. Five days a week you will be able to come here, to see what’s available, to be inspired, to discuss uncertain technical issues. We are also doing partnerships with IFM (Paris' leading fashion school), Parsons and even engineering colleges. In September, we are finalizing a big collaboration with ESCP,  which is one of the best business schools in France. That shows our mission to educate all students, for them to know what a natural fiber is.

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