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Woolmark Announces Performance Challenge Winners


The Woolmark Company and Salomon recently named prize winners in the Woolmark Performance Challenge 2022, an innovation and ideas incubation program for the sports and performance market. More than 191 universities from 25 countries participated in this year’s program.  From the 10 most promising ideas selected as finalists, judges selected three winners.

This year’s theme was mountain trail running, with students asked to invent the next generation of head-to-toe running kits featuring Merino and bio-fibers. Textile concepts included sweat-activated cooling technologies on auxetic mycelium fabrics, bacterial bio batteries and thermo- chromic fabric structures along with several others.

The two finalists from the U.S. were awarded career opportunities in the outdoor industry. Internship winner Michael Orlow received a three-month paid internship with Salomon. The University of Oregon student developed Keradapt Merino, a waterproof Merino wool fabric created using 3D printing technology with keratin recovered from the processing stage. Built off body scans, the seamless whole-garment print can be mapped for environmental and physical stress.

A special award was presented to University of Cincinnati student Chloe Jerolaman. She received a three-month paid internship at Salomon for her Adapting to Athletes concept, creating a trail-running kit specially designed for athletes with disabilities. 

Giulia Ciola, a student at Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti in Italy, won the Research Bursary award for her Rapid Decomposing Merino, receiving €10,000 in prize-money for her idea that shows the most potential for commercial development. She designed a trail-running set blending Merino wool with milk fiber, seacell, crabyon and nettle. Garments made from the material are compostable when no longer of use. 

“Giulia’s Rapid Decomposing Wool responds to a growing need and interest in sustainable solutions for the performance wear market, with a focus on enhancing biodiversity,” stated Woolmark Company general manager for Education and Innovation, Julie Davies. “Highlighting the eco-credentials, innate circularity and regenerative properties of the wool fiber, her focus on the full lifecycle of a product is very in touch with the future of performance wear.”