Today, British designer, Matty Bovan has been announced as the winner of both the 2021 International Woolmark Prize and the Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation, receiving an overall prize fund of $300K AUD.
“It’s a huge honour to win both of these prizes and I’m so excited for where it’s going to take me. I’ve relished being a part of the whole process – it’s already opened my eyes to how I can create a best practice future footprint and will enable me to elevate my brand with an even greater awareness and knowledge of how I operate a sustainable business and label.” Matty Bovan
Working to Woolmark’s 2021 theme of ‘Less is More’ it was all about sustainability this year, from practices to supply chain connections while spotlighting Australian Merino wool as the green thread in responsible fashions. The judging panel of industry insiders, which consisted of the likes of Carine Roitfeld, Thom Browne, and Tim Blanks, all praised Bovan for his deep understanding of both knit and weave techniques, color palette, and his sustainable approach to local sourcing and production.
“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 today.” Carine Roitfeld
“Matty is truly and authentically creative, proving and representing how everything starts from pure creativity. True individuals are the best leaders. For me, there is nothing more inspiring than young artists who are unique and true to themselves.” Thom Browne
Based in York, North Yorkshire in the U.K., Matty worked with local suppliers and manufacturers, supporting local businesses and artisans through his tight network of suppliers. Using roll end cloth from AW Hainsworth, screen printing and hand painting, he breathed new life into discarded fabric.
His winning design submission was made up of five looks from his Fall ‘21 ‘Odyssey’ collection, with an additional look created exclusively for the International Woolmark Prize. The inspiration behind the line? Well, it was Matty’s very own ode to the sea, playing into the notion of pure, unadulterated escapism.
Matty graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2015 with an MA in Fashion Knitwear and he was revered from the get-go. His graduate collection, which opened the final show highlighted sculptural knits, textures, and detailing which earned him the L’Oréal Professionnel Creative Award, and then the prestigious LVMH Graduate Prize. From there, he honed in on his skills working with Marc Jacobs and Miu Miu before setting up his own brand.
“Matty Bovan has always been an exceptional talent, his work since leaving Central Saint Martins in 2015 has continued to be thoughtful, provocative and has steadily been conscious and political. I couldn’t be happier for him to win these very important awards – and chosen by such brilliant people. He deserves them.” Katie Grand, Founder, Perfect Magazine
As part of the Woolmark process, each finalist created a sustainability roadmap and demonstrated traceable collections using their technology from platform partner, Blue Bite. Here, transparency is the aim of the game and by sharing this information, each designer can share the supply chain with their customer.
The others finalists this year include Bethany Williams (U.K.), Casablanca (France), Kenneth Ize (Nigeria), LECAVALIER (Canada), and THEBE MAGUGU (South Africa).
See more from Matty on www.mattybovan.com.