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Woolmark has just announced the U.S. nominees for its 2016 competition, and this year's line-up is full of exciting brands. Previous winners of the Woolmark prize have included menswear favorites like Public School and Siki Im, and this time around the competition is recognizing a new group of very deserving brands that will be compete for a chance to go to the International finals.
This year's nominees includes Abasi Rosborough, Matiere, Pyer Moss, Rochambeau, and Second/Layer. What's most exciting is to see the major fashion organization recognize a rising crop of streetwear brands. We're sure you've come across these brands before, but here's some background on the nominees.
Earlier this year we named Abasi Rosborough as one of the most slept on brands in New York City, so it's even better to see them recognized as one of this year's nominees. The design duo behind Abasi Rosborough, Abdul Abasi and Greg Rosborough, have been cultivating the brand since 2013 by mixing their backgrounds in military and athletics. Even though it has stayed pretty under-the-radar, its futuristic take on menswear staples have definitely garnered it plenty of fanboys.
Pyer Moss hasn't been around for long, but he's already made big waves in menswear. Designer Kerby Jean-Raymond has gained a reputation for sending powerful messages through his designs and fashion shows, with his latest presentation focusing on the Black Lives Matter movement. His work has been praised by celebrities like Usher and Rihanna, who have also been seen rocking his stuff.
Even if you aren't familiar with the name Rochambeau, you've most likely seen pieces by the brand. Each season Josh Cooper and Laurence Chandler take inspiration from sports like boxing and race car driving to create a minimalist collection that fuses streetwear and high-fashion. Fans of the brand include Kanye West, Pusha T, and Cara Delevingne.
Second/Layer is a brand from the West Coast that was started back in 2012. Founded by A. Franco and Joshua and Jacob Willis, it became known for its dark minimalist designs and genderless aesthetic, which it was doing long before many brands were jumping on the bandwagon. The trio has previously referred to their clothing as being "elegant simplicity," and we'd say that is a pretty good description.
Matiere is a textile-focused brand that has been around since 2013. Founder Scot Shandalove and Jake Zeitlin mix innovative materials with clean silhouettes in an attempt to push the boundaries of modern menswear.
The International nominees will present a capsule collection to a panel of industry experts with the 12 finalists receiving $38,000 in prize money and a chance to compete against other regional winners. The final International Woolmark Prize winner will receive an additional $76,500.