Lagos Space Programme wins 2023 Woolmark Prize

Lagos Space Programme wins 2023 Woolmark Prize

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Adeju Thompson, the Nigerian designer behind Lagos Space Programme, has won the 2023 International Woolmark Prize, which was announced at Monday’s ceremony in Paris. The 31-year-old will receive AU$200,000 (€122,956) to invest in the development of his brand, known for locally made fabrics and prints.

“Coming from Nigeria, there’s no support from the government, so getting support from the Woolmark Prize means a lot,” the designer said after receiving the prize. “I want to preserve and reinterpret Nigerian culture.” His collection gives a new play to Adire, the name given to indigo-dyed cloth produced by Yoruba women of southwestern Nigeria. “Historically in Yoruba society, the Adire artist engaged with the medium as a process of storytelling for themselves and their community,” he explains. “I find parallels with code sharing in contemporary subcultures. In modern times, queer communities have also shared stories and messages through languages, symbols and gestures that carry meaning only within these groups. In addition to exploring queer semiotics, the collection is also a study of minimalism from an African point of view.”

The Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation went to Danish designer Amalie Røge Hove, who will receive AU$100,000 Australian dollars (€61,478). The 32-year-old designer founded her label A Roege Hove in 2019 after working as a knitwear designer for other Danish brands such as Cecilie Bahnsen and Mark Tan. With the grant, she plans to invest in new machines. “I would love to be able to focus even more on the things that I love, such as innovation, experimenting and developing new techniques,” she says.

Adeju Thompson of Lagos Space Programme after winning the International Woolmark Prize.

Photo: Julien M. Hekimian/Getty Images

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