Young designer in tilt at global fame

SuppliedThe West Australian

Australian fashion designer Christopher Esber has been named the winner of the Australian regional 2013-14 International Woolmark Prize, at an awards night held at the Sydney Theatre Company in Walsh Bay on July 18.

Sartorialist founder Scott Schuman said the nominees had done an amazing job of using the old school techniques of tailoring and knitting and marrying them with new technologies, giving wool a new direction.

"Wool can be a fabric that is not just something that we have lived in all our lives but something that is going to be very important in the future," he said.

Mr Esber was recognised for using innovative wool product developments in the form of deconstructed suiting.

"It is such an honour to win the Woolmark prize as it is the highest recognition my brand has received to date," Mr Esber said. "Thank you to Australian Wool Innovation and Woolmark for my nomination and inclusion in this award. I am excited to represent Australia in Milan in February 2014."

Chosen from among the eight most promising talents in Australian design, the winner receives a financial contribution of $50,000 plus the opportunity to represent Australia in the prestigious international final.

For the next six months the winning designer will be required to develop a capsule collection in Merino wool, to be showcased during an extraordinary event which will highlight the five finalists who will be selected from across the world.

These designers will compete for the sought-after final Woolmark International Prize.

The winner will be awarded an additional $100,000 and the opportunity to be stocked by the most important retailers of the world, including Harvey Nichols ( London), Saks Fifth Avenue (New York), 10 Corso Como (Milan), Joyce (China), David Jones (Sydney) and online.

AWI chief strategy and marketing officer Rob Langtry congratulated Mr Esber on winning the Australian regional prize.

"With the exciting expansion of the prize across Asia and the Middle East, the International Woolmark Prize is a celebration of emerging design talent and an increasingly important opportunity to see commercial success on a global scale each year," he said.

"We look forward to supporting Christopher on his journey toward the final event in Milan."

David Jones general manager womenswear Sophie Clark, Harper's Bazaar editor-in-chief Kellie Hush, The Lock Group chief executive Simon Lock, Vogue editor-in-chief Edwina McCann and Mr Schuman selected the winner.

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