South African fashion brand Mmuso Maxwell has been announced as the winner of the Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation by the Woolmark Company.
Mmuso Maxwell is a Joburg-based brand founded in 2016 by Maxwell Boko and Mmuso Potsane.
Out of the 200 applicants from all over the world, Mmuso Maxwell made it to the top seven finalists, competing with Priya Ahluwalia of Ahluwalia, Egonlab, Jordan Dalah, Peter Do, Rui and Saul Nash.
All designers were tasked to create an Autumn/Winter collection using Merino wool, highlighting transparency throughout their supply chain.
The judges were impressed with the Ukholo - Faith collection presented by Mmuso Maxwell and fell in love with it at first sight. The collection is an exploration of the theatrics used by deceitful religious leaders in South Africa.
“Winning means everything to us. It allows us to continue working with artisans and to further explore Merino wool, which is fantastic for us. It’s mind-blowing,” say the designers.
The duo walk away with $100,000 (R1 588 630). Meanwhile, Saul Nash, who won the International Woolmark Prize, walks away with $200,000 (R3 173 090).
Last year, another South African designer Lukhanyo Mdingi was named the joint winner of the special Karl Lagerfeld Prize by the coveted LVMH (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton) Prize.
He had showcased a sustainable collection using labour-intensive techniques.
In 2020, Sindiso Khumalo, also from South Africa, was the co-winner of the special Karl Lagerfeld Prize by the LVMH Prize.