The Woolmark Company and leading sports brand adidas have joined forces to launch a design competition focusing on the development of innovative, forward-thinking products for the performance industry. The Woolmark Performance Challenge is a new annual competition for tertiary students in Europe and North America and is set to kick-start the career of the eventual winner. The competition provides an opportunity for tertiary students to develop innovative new product applications within the sports and performance market, by applying the science and performance benefits of Australian Merino wool.
Performance apparel is one of the fastest growing sectors in the global textile industry. This growth can be attributed to an emergence of new technologies, new sporting trends and a shift in peoples’ attitude towards health and fitness. In addition, consumers are becoming more aware of the impact their purchasing decisions have on the planet and are demanding natural alternatives for their product and apparel needs.
“At adidas we are driven by a constant desire for innovation and its belief that anybody can and should be a creator,” said Adidas Senior Design Director Tillmann Studrucker. “This unique collaboration with The Woolmark Company gives young creative students the chance to help shape the future of sport, and sports culture. I am looking forward to a lot of creative designs that are considering sustainability with material innovation ideas that blend performance and style, past and future.” Taking advantage of the explosive growth in demand for sportswear and activewear, wool’s position as a technical fibre allows it to meet increasingly demanding consumer needs for comfort and performance. Wool is recognised by leading sportswear brands and manufacturers for its technical benefits including resistance to odour, superb breathability and moisture management capabilities.
The Woolmark Performance Challenge winner will be awarded a cash prize of €10,000, as well as being presented with career development and commercial opportunities including a three-month internship with the Woolmark Performance Challenge’s 2017-18 global sports brand partner Adidas. “This new competition is unique in that it offers the winner hands-on experience with a leading performance brand,” said The Woolmark Company Managing Director Stuart McCullough. “New talent is the future of our business and the industry. The Woolmark Company actively believes in education and fostering the development of the next generation of designers and change-makers.
“What makes this competition even more exciting is the focus on innovation. We have the utmost faith that all submissions will highlight the innovative nature of Merino wool, creating products which will not only take the fibre, but also the larger performance industry, into unchartered territory.”