The upcoming January 2016 edition of Pitti Immagine Uomo will host the menswear final of the International Woolmark Prize in Florence.

The six finalists - Munsoo Kwon (South Korea), Agi & Sam (UK), Jonathan Christopher (The Netherlands), Suketdhir (India), America’s Siki Im and P.Johnson (both from Australia) - will compete for the prestigious award to be announced during Italy’s premier menswear showcase.

They will present their own Merino wool collections in the historical Villa Favard, the headquarters of Florence’s renowned Polimoda - International Institute of Fashion Design and Business.

A panel of leading global designers and industry insiders will judge the award, which celebrates design excellence using Australia’s preeminent natural fiber.

First held in 1953, as a womenswear initiative of the International Wool Secretariat, the award was won by Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent in 1954. The prize was revived four years ago to promote a new constellation of fashion stars working with Australian Merino wool, and a menswear category was introduced in 2014.

Following the inauguration of the International Woolmark Prize for menswear that was held in London during London Collections Men last year, in 2016 the award will be handed over in Florence during Pitti Uomo.

“Research, young talent and an international reach are the distinctive DNA traits of Pitti Immagine and Pitti Uomo,” commented Raffaello Napoleone, CEO of Pitti Immagine. “The history of our relationship with Woolmark is long and positive, and it was natural to join forces on this project. This important collaboration for the International Woolmark Prize for menswear is yet another confirmation of Pitti Uomo’s leading position in men’s fashion and its irreplaceable role as a platform for research, promotion and launching young designers. It is also a special acknowledgement of Florence, a city that hosts institutions such as Polimoda which has attained one of the highest ranks of the global international fashion schools.”

“Taking the International Woolmark Prize to Florence as part of the Pitti Uomo men’s fair, the traditional home of menswear, made a lot of sense,” explained Stuart McCullough, Managing Director of The Woolmark Company. “The Woolmark Company has enjoyed a long association with Pitti Immagine reinforced through an integral connection with the Italian manufacturers; both will be celebrated on this occasion.”

The six finalists for the 2016 menswear categories were selected during six regional finals in Asia, Australia, America, UK, Europe and India, Pakistan and the Middle East.

The overall winner of the menswear category will receive a $AU100,000 prize and have their collection stocked in the world’s leading fashion stores including and Harvey Nichols in Britain, Italy and China’s 10 Corso Como, Saks Fifth Avenue in the US, Joyce in Hong Kong, Isetan Mitsukoshi in Japan and David Jones in Australia.