Lifestyle, Fashion & Wellness

Adidas and The Woolmark Company announce 2019 Woolmark Performance Challenge winners


Hyokyoung Lee from Institut Français de la Mode, France and Hope Kemp-Hanson from Savannah College of Art and Design, USA, were announced the winners of the 2019 adidas x Woolmark Performance Challenge, presented at a special event in Munich, Germany.

The Woolmark Performance Challenge is an annual competition for early career creative thinkers to develop innovative, forward-thinking product solutions for the sports and performance market, by harnessing the unique natural properties of Australian Merino wool. The win is set to kick-start the careers of both Hope and Hyokyoung. Hope has been awarded a three-month paid internship with adidas – with the sports giant seeing real potential in the young designer’s career; while, Hyokyoung was awarded the prize money of €10,000 to further develop her innovative and commercially viable idea of an energy-generating Merino wool base-layer.

The award was judged by a highly esteemed panel of judges, including:

  • Edward Crutchley – Dior/ Edward Crutchley, International Woolmark Prize Menswear and Innovation winner; 
  • Prof. Ellen Bendt – Textile Engineering Professor, Hochschule Niederrhein; 
  • Julie Davies – General Manager, Processing Innovation & Education Extension, The Woolmark Company; 
  • Jörg Hartmann – Head of Fashion & Technology, STOLL; 
  • Louis de Vos – Talent Acquisition Manager, adidas; 
  • Peter Bona, former professional snowboarder + Head of Design Outerwear, Trousers, Textile Accessories, Hugo Boss Athleisure; 
  • Sabine Kühnl – Editor in Chief, Sportswear International; 
  • Tillmann Studrucker – Senior Design Director, adidas; 
  • Urs Weber – Editor, Runner’s World Germany.

“At adidas we believe that through sport we have the power to change lives,” said Tillman Studrucker after the event. “The concepts that we have seen from Hope and Hyokyoung convinced us that most of all the great ideas possible to enable people to experience the transformative power of sport by combining innovation and style use the benefits of wool. I want to thank all of the finalists as we have seen a lot of very strong concepts, and it was not an easy decision.”

Inspired by the idea for garments to transmit data, the win will now allow Hyokyoung to further develop her idea.

“Winning the Woolmark Performance Challenge has made me realise that as a designer I can be part of innovations that can be helpful for the world,” she said. “The best part of participating in the challenge is that you can learn about the most recent innovations in different fields – IT, science, fashion and textiles – which allow you to experience the power of human creativity and good will when people work together toward betterment of humanity.”

Hope turned to the South Korean skate movement for her design.

“It’s been such an amazing opportunity not just within pushing the innovation and learning of wool, but becoming a part of this group of people, an incredible, new design family,” said Hope. “I feel so honoured, humbled, and beyond appreciative to have been a part of this journey.”

With more than 1060 students registering from more than 115 educational institutions from 21 countries, the diverse range of applicants for the program’s second edition highlights the thirst students have for both education and innovation as they plan the early stages of their career. The 10 finalists for the 2019 adidas x Woolmark Performance Challenge were: 

  • Adilya Botabayeva, Raffles Milano Instituto di Moda e Design, Italy: Adilya’s design focusses on the intersection between versatility and sustainability. 
  • Andrea Colletto, Raffles Istituto Moda e Design, Italy: Andrea’s research is inspired by races with passion, designed for bikers from his personal experience. He sees Merino wool as the key for reaching new performance levels.
  • Eleonora Cocomazzi, Raffles Istituto Moda e Design, Italy: Eleonora’s project aims to prevent and combat muscle pain. She combines taping techniques with micro-encapsulation, whilst keeping sustainability in mind.
  • Hannah Greenshield, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK: Basing her collection on an extreme Polar Expedition, Hannah sought to optimise the natural properties of Merino wool by blending the fibres with silver, creating a powerful and fully antimicrobial fabric that will not only excel throughout the duration of an arctic tour, but the lifetime of the garment.
  • Hope Kemp-Hanson, Savannah College of Art and Design, USA: Hope aims to blend urban streetwear with skateboarding equipment by creating a line of hidden impact protection that portrays a satirical look at the story of South Korean skateboarders.
  • Hyokyoung Lee, Institut Français de la Mode, France: Hyokyoung Lee’s energy-generating Merino wool base-layer is designed to monitor an athlete’s body status, allowing transmission of data and, if needed, an SOS.
  • Jiachen Zhong, Institut Français de la Mode, France, Using the stretch and durability of Merino wool and synthetic hybrid fabrics, Jiachen Zhong explores posture correction functions for professional e-sports garments.
  • Luísa Córdova Wandscheer, Raffles Milano Instituto di Moda e Design, Italy: Luisa’s project seeks to create garments that motivate the practice of physical exercises through the production of endorphins (happiness hormones), using wearable technology.
  • Rebecca Marsden, Royal College of Art, UK: Rebecca’s work combines circular and seamless knitting technologies with the performance properties of Merino wool for increased comfort, focused recovery, body mapping ergonomics and durability for aerial dance and activewear.
  • Sarah Klecker, University of Oregon, USA: Sarah’s entry explores the use of Merino wool alongside bioceramic and compressive textile innovation for recovery purposes amongst sub-elite runners.

“Despite its long history in apparel, the unique natural properties of Australian Merino wool positions it as a leading technical fibre in today’s sports and outdoor industry,” said The Woolmark Company General Manager, Processing Innovation & Education Extension and Woolmark Performance Challenge judge Julie Davies. “We saw that evidenced today with the incredible diversity of ideas presented by the finalists of this year’s Woolmark Performance Challenge. We are really encouraged by how the competition has grown over the past two years, which affirms our commitment to education and the potential for product developments with wool in new market areas.

“Registrations for the next edition of the competition are now open and we invite college students from across the world to apply at” 

About The Woolmark Company:

The Woolmark Company is the global authority on wool. Through our extensive network of relationships spanning the international textile and fashion industries, we highlight Australian wool’s position as the ultimate natural fibre and premier ingredient in luxury apparel.

The Woolmark logo is one of the world’s most recognised and respected brands, providing assurance of the highest quality, and representing pioneering excellence and innovation from farm through to finished product.

The Woolmark Company is a subsidiary of Australian Wool Innovation, a not-for-profit enterprise that conducts research, development and marketing along the worldwide supply chain for Australian wool on behalf of about 60,000 woolgrowers that help fund the company.

About Adidas :

Adidas is a global leader in the sporting goods industry with the core brands adidas and Reebok. Headquartered in Herzogenaurach, Germany, the group employs more than 58,000 people across the globe and generated sales of € 21,218 billion in 2017.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *