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Matthew Briggs: Winner of The Woolmark Company TexSelect Award

8 October 2018 by TexSelect in Alumni Stories, Fashion, Features, Sponsors, Judges & Champions

Boldly patterned and graphic knits by Matthew Briggs delighted the judges and won him The Woolmark Company TexSelect Award in Paris, which set him on the road to Shanghai.

Young designer Matthew Briggs, who studied knitwear design at the Royal College of Art, was a big winner at the TexSelect award ceremony on September 20 during Première Vision Paris, snapping up the TexSelect Fashion Prize, the WGSN TexSelect Textiles of the Future Award, and the prestigious The Woolmark Company TexSelect Award.

At Première Vision Designs receiving the TexSelect Fashion Prize from alumna Jane Zhang, who also offered brilliant support to Matthew in Shanghai…

“It really means a lot to me,” he told us afterwards. “Coincidentally, I had been thinking I should contact The Woolmark Company before I had joined TexSelect.”

The Woolmark Company has supported TexSelect since the charity was founded more than 40 years ago, with the Award established in 2011. It recognises design excellence in fabrics created with 60% or more Merino wool, whether presented as printed, woven, knitted and/or mixed media fabric.

Judge Eda Karadogan from historic Turkish company Ipekis enjoyed the experience: “I am excited to be judging The Woolmark Company TexSelect Award. It’s such a good way to discover new talent and to support them.”

Judges Eda Karadogan, Natasha Lenart and Birgit Gahlen, with Matthew Briggs…

Briggs’ fellow TexSelect designers Bo Mi Hwang and Hettie Johns were both highly recommended for the prize. Judge Natasha Lenart from Victoria Beckham commented: “I think Bo Mi is brilliant. I think she has created something really unusual that has massive potential for application and she knows the missing links for producing it into a business.”

Of the winner Matthew Briggs, Lenart said: “He has the technical background, he can apply his technical knowledge into designs that have forethought in them, that have production potential. He has such a strong aesthetic.”

Lenart was impressed by the dynamism of the 2018 TexSelect participants. “These young designers really put us to shame! Matthew will take advantage of every little opportunity he is given; he will absorb it and he is hungry.”

Birgit Gahlen, Textile Engineer (Product & Fashion) at The Woolmark Company, who presented the award to Briggs, said: “It was really really exciting to see all the work today. The knowledge of Merino wool was really extraordinary and there was so much experimentation combining different types of materials. It was very stimulating for us to see.”

As winner, Briggs receives £1,000 plus ongoing support from The Woolmark Company and opportunities to learn about developments, innovations and the supply chain for wool.

The Woolmark Company also sponsored a dedicated presence for him at Intertextile Shanghai, September 27-29, so Briggs was on his way to China only seven days after Paris. “The Shanghai experience was really positive,” he said, shortly after returning. “In fact I sold more than in Paris. I think they liked the really British theme I have been developing, and my take on luxury street style.”

Apart from exhibiting at Intertextile Shanghai, Briggs took some time out to see a bit of one of China’s most dynamic cities. “The view from The Bund is very special,” he said. “I think I took a hundred pictures.”

What’s up next for Briggs? “I have a big stack of cards and emails to work my way through,” he said. “I’ve had quite a lot of offers for jobs or collection commissions. I need a bit of time!”

While on his Asia trip, Matthew dropped in to Hong Kong Polytechnic to meet students and show his work…

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TexSelect is a registered charity, entirely funded by the generous sponsorship of industry, by British charitable foundations, and by individuals connected to the industry. All believe wholeheartedly in supporting the next generation of textile design talent and in encouraging innovation and excellence.

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