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Wool4School is on the hunt for our next generation of fashion designers

The massive student design competition is back for its tenth year running.

Each year, The Woolmark Company hosts a nationwide search for Australia’s budding fashion designers with its Wool4School design competition.

Launched in 2012, the competition encourages aspiring designers to pursue their passion, unleash their potential, and incorporate wool into their work.

For more fashion news, shoots, articles and features, head to our Fashion section.

Now in its tenth year, the annual student design competition involves over 100,000 students across the world. The competition is open until August 5 and some truly incredible prizes are on offer this year. Here’s everything you need to know about the competition and application process.

Why should I apply?

Not only is the Wool4School design competition a great excuse to get creative, but there are some invaluable prizes up for grabs.

This year’s sponsors are Assembly Label, BERNINA and Whitehouse Institute of Design, each of which has donated some very covetable spoils for the competition.

Winners across all categories will receive a $100 Assembly Label voucher and some sewing gear from BERNINA, with younger winners taking home sewing scissors and the higher age groups looking at a sewing machine or overlocker.

The winner of the Senior Designer category will also receive an internship with Assembly Label, which will equip them with industry experience, knowledge, and connections.

The Aspiring Designer winner will score themselves a 50 per cent scholarship to Whitehouse Institute of Design located at either the Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane campuses to kickstart their career in fashion design.

Who can enter?

There are four categories for different age groups, spanning Junior Designer (grades seven and eight), Mid Designer (grades nine and ten), Senior Designer (grade 11), and Aspiring Designer (grade 12), each with its own criteria and prizes . The competition is open to secondary school students across Australia.

How do I get involved and what do I need to do?

The Wool4School website gives a detailed rundown of how to apply. You’ll just need to register and you’ll be directed from there.

This year’s theme is ‘Design for your hero’, but don’t think that means you have to create the next Marvel character’s costume. Your hero can be anyone – a family member, fashion icon, artist, or whoever you’re inspired by.

Of course, the design needs to incorporate the namesake fabric, with at least 70 per cent of the outfit comprising wool for eligibility.

The outfit must consist of between one and four pieces and should embody your hero in an innovative and sustainable way.

What kind of designs have won in the past?

Last year’s Wool4School winner Sarah Regan took out first place for her collection go go go which was designed for students commuting around the inner city.

The outfit consisted of a transformable coat, bag, trousers, and knit jumper and included pockets made from recycled plastic bottles, a cardholder on a retractable cord built into the sleeve, and a jacket that could be transformed into a vest.

Why wool?

Wool is one of the most innovative fibers available. It’s naturally breathable, wrinkle-resistant, soft, elastic, and odor resistant, plus it can be manipulated to take on unique textures and finishes.

Australia has approximately 68 million sheep who each naturally grow wool year-round and require just water, grass, fresh air, and sunshine to do so, making it renewable, natural, and sustainable. And because it is a natural fiber, it’s completely biodegradable and decomposes within just a few months.

Merino wool is a particularly impressive fabric for its ability to adapt to your body temperature, which means it can keep you warm or cool depending on the garment and season, and it’s easy to care for which helps increase its lifespan.

Who is The Woolmark Company, exactly?

The Woolmark Company is a not-for-profit organization dubbed “the global authority on wool”. The organization works alongside 60,000 Australian woolgrowers to research, develop and certify wool.

The Woolmark Company’s certification program allows customers to identify garments that are high-quality and durable, with certified garments undergoing five levels of testing to measure color fastness to liquid and light, ability to withstand laundering, durability, and fiber content.

Certified products are also completely traceable through the supply chain, so you can find out exactly where your wool came from.

Register for the Wool4School competition here. The competition closes on August 5.

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