U.S. men’s brand Public School NYC nabbed the inaugural Woolmark award for menswear in London. The International Woolmark Prize recognizes prominent international fashion labels for their ability to design using Merino wool.

Public School NYC founders Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne were awarded the $84,700 menswear grand prize, in addition to a $42,000 regional prize, for their collection of drop-crotch pants and myriad of hooded shirts in a moody black and gray palette.

The duo ousted Asger Juel Larsen from Denmark, Dubai-based The Emperor 1688, Sise from Japan, and Australian label, Strateas.Carlucci.

It was the first time in the competition’s 50-year history that Woolmark divided the competition into womenswear and menswear. Sixty-one participants were asked to create a six-piece collection incorporating Merino wool in at least 80 percent of the garments.

Judges, including designer Paul Smith, Style.com editor at large Tim Banks, GQ UK’s Dylan Jones, designer Nick Wooster, and Harvey Nichols group fashion buyer Anita Barr, narrowed the contestants down to five regional winners.

Smith said, “What was savvy about Public School was their skill with manufacturing and commerciality.” He added, “Many items were fully fashioned, so for sportswear they could fit the shape of the body and could work for some of the major sportswear brands. They’ve already invested in production; the USA has a great focus on forward thinking beyond just designing it.”

In addition to prize money, Public School NYC will be stocked in fashion hot spots around the world, including Harvey Nichols, Saks Fifth Avenue, 10 Corso Como, JOYCE, Isetan Mitsukoshi, David Jones and Matchesfashion.com.

Since launching in 2008, Public School NYC has garnered a number of industry accolades, including winning the $300,000 CFDA/ Vogue Fashion Fund Prize in 2013, and the CFDA Award for Menswear in 2014.

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