Designers Agi & Sam and Teatum Jones are the menswear and womenswear winners respectively of the 2015-16 International Woolmark Prize British Isles regional final.
The designers were selected to receive the honour by a judging panel that included designer Roland Mouret, Gieves & Hawkes creative director Jason Basmajian, GQ editor-in-chief Dylan Jones, and Stuart McCullough, managing director of The Woolmark Company.
The winners receive a cash prize of AU $50,000 (£24,500), as well as the opportunity to represent the UK and compete in the international final.
The menswear final will be held in Florence in January next year and the womenswear final in New York in February 2016, where the overall winners will receive an additional AU $100,000 (£49,000) and the chance to be stocked by international retailers including Harvey Nichols in London, 10 Corso Como in Milan and Saks Fifth Avenue in New York.
McCullough said: “This is the first Woolmark Prize for menswear and womenswear in the British Isles.
“Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld were some of the first winners of the prize, so [Agi & Sam and Teatum Jones] are in good company. It’s not just about cash and a trophy; they get to be merchandised in store.”
Sam Cotton of Agi & Sam said: “Woolmark has been a massive supporter of us from the beginning. We didn’t expect to win.”
“Agi & Sam are brilliant because they have such an idiosyncratic point of view; they know exactly what they are doing,” said Dylan Jones.
Basmajian added: “They’ve demonstrated an inspirational combination of creativity, innovation and commercial sensibility. This is an exciting duo to watch as they develop their brand.”
“What we loved about Teatum Jones winning this prize was their use and development of merino wool, from their concept to the final garment,” said Mouret. “It was extraordinary and we thought it was really representative of what Britain’s young designers stand for.”