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Meet the International Woolmark prizewinners weaving their magic with merino

From finding a way to locate people trapped in avalanches to upcycling Indian saris into quilts, the inspirations for the winners of this year's International Woolmark Prize were as diverse as the fashion collections they produced.

Indian brand Bodice won the $200,00 International Woolmark Prize for womenswear, British designer Matthew Miller snared the $200,000 prize for menswear and American brand DYNE won the $100,000 innovation award in the global prize that recognises fashion design excellence using Australian merino wool.

Inspired by memories of her grandmother making quilts out of old saris, Bodice designer Ruchika Sachdeva created a collection using recycled yarns and traditional techniques that aim to consumer waste in fashion. Sachdeva worked with Indian handweavers using a technique originally employed for recycling old saris by hand-sewing them together and with a company in central India that dyes fabrics with colours from natural sources. Buttons were sourced from renewable sources including coconut shell, seashell and wood to complete the brand's vision of conscious consumption.

"I design for a woman who is thoughtful and questions where her clothes are coming from," Sachdeva said. "It's not just enough for her that what she wears is beautiful; she is a conscious consumer who really wants to know the story behind the brand."

Italian Vogue editor-in-chief Emanuele Farneti, Russian digital entrepreneur Miroslava Duma, model Amber Valetta and designer Phillip Lim were among the judges of the event, held on January 9 at the Stazione Leopolda in Florence on the opening night of Pitti Uomo, the world's largest men's fashion trade event.

Thoughtful designs

Lim said Bodice's collection was "completely thoughtful. From the materials and dyes used all the way to the application and everything in between, her collection really represents a modern woman."

DYNE's Christopher Bevans impressed the panel with a technical snowboarding wardrobe including a water-resistant wool jacket embedded with a near-field communication chip to track users in avalanches.

"The NFC chips he embedded in his collection, and the fabrication of the snowboard gear, really stood out," said Duma. "He really thinks about technology every step of the way."

British designer Matthew Miller channelled Dieter Rams' concept of form follows function to add multifunctional elements for different environments.

"I created a collection that can be worn as normal garments but then evolve into accessories if you don't want to wear them as clothes," said Miller, who also used water-resistant wool fabrics and eradicated the need for plastic fastenings by using recycled materials including waste marble.

"It's a utilitarian uniform for a customer who appreciates good design and sustainability."

More than 65 designers from over 60 countries were nominated this year for the world's most prestigious award for rising fashion talents, with global finalists including Blair Archibald from Australia and Harman Grubiša from New Zealand.

In addition to their prize money, Sachdeva and Miller will have their winning designs stocked in the world's greatest fashion stores, including Lane Crawford, Harvey Nichols, Leclaireur and David Jones.

"This is a huge opportunity to expand on what I do and keep doing it," Sachdeva said. "To get the chance to work with these retailers is incredible."Read more at:plus size wedding dresses | bridal gowns

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The Bachelorette's Kaitlyn Bristowe Just Went Wedding Dress Shopping

First he said yes to her rose; now she's saying yes to the dress! (Finally, right?) The Bachelorette's Kaitlyn Bristowe just spent the day trying on wedding dresses, and after a two-year engagement, it's about time! Do you know how long we've been waiting for another Bachelor Nation wedding special, Kaitlyn?!

In case you need a Bachelorette refresher and don't have time to binge watch, on the season 19 finale of the reality franchise, the former bachelorette chose Shawn Booth as the winner and the pair got engaged (with a Neil Lane engagement ring, of course) right then and there.

Since then, the couple has been slow to plan their big day—or at least divulge the details. But now, it seems that it's full steam ahead as Bristowe just went wedding dress shopping…with one of our favorite bridal designers, no less!

“I had a very long day today, but in the best way possible," Bristowe told her fans in a video on her Instagram story Monday night. As it turns out, that long day was spent with bridal designer Hayley Paige, trying on bridal gowns. “I tried on wedding dresses all day. Exciting stuff,” she continued, according to People. That's for sure! In a snap posted earlier to Bristowe's story, the bride-to-be can be seen at what looks like the famed designer's showroom, surrounded by wedding dresses and sketches.

Later in another video on the 'Gram, Bristowe filmed herself leaving the bridal showroom. "Okay, that is a wrap. I’m still in white,” she said, revealing her post-shopping outfit: a white minidress with a plunging neckline. Way to keep with the theme of the day, girl!

With this major wedding to-do (hopefully) checked off the bride's list, this could mean that she and her fiancé will be tying the knot soon. We'll be checking our mailbox for an invite!Read more at:wedding dresses | wedding dress styles

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Nordstrom Puts A Charitable Spin On Sustainable Fashion This Fall

The US department store is partnering with 'Give Back Box,' to allow customers to donate their old or unwanted clothes and accessories to local nonprofit organizations, via mail. The service, which will be completely free for shoppers, works by encouraging Nordstrom online customers to save the boxes their order is delivered in, and fill it with any clothing, shoes, accessories or small household items they would like to donate.

Nordstrom will begin testing the concept in its six western Washington stores, with donated items being directed to Seattle Goodwill and Goodwill of Olympics and Rainier Region to help fund community programs such as job training or education initiatives.

"Our customers have told us they want to be able to clean out their closets in a more environmentally-friendly way," said Erik Nordstrom, co-president of Nordstrom. "By extending the life of their used items, and encouraging them to reuse the box from their recent Nordstrom order, we're trying to make it easy and convenient to help reduce waste while also being able to support local nonprofit organizations."

The past few years have seen several retailers address the question of how to pair fast fashion with a sustainable attitude towards clothing consumption. One of the best known labels addressing the issue is Swedish retailer H&M, which launched its textile recycling scheme back in 2013, encouraging shoppers to donate old clothing of any brand in return for an in-store discount. The company has created several 'Close the Loop' collections created from recycled cotton off the back of the concept.

Other initiatives include Cotton Incorporated's annual ‘Blue Jeans Go Green' denim recycling program, which asks shoppers to donate old jeans for a discount on brand items such as Rag & Bone pieces, and ocean debris recycler Parley for the Oceans' regular fashion collaborations with brands such as G-star and Stella McCartney, working recycled plastic into new fashion pieces.Read more at:bridesmaid dresses online | wedding dresses melbourne

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