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2018 winner Alicia Ferreira de Sousa

Alicia Ferreira de Sousa from L’École de la Maille de Paris was announced the winner of the inaugural adidas x Woolmark Performance Challenge, presented at a special event during Outdoor Retailer, Denver, Colorado. The Woolmark Performance Challenge is aimed at pushing the limits of product innovation and is set to kick-start the career of Alicia.

How was the experience of participating in the inaugural Woolmark Performance Challenge?

I think it’s an experience I will remember for the rest of my life! I shared incredible moments with the 10 finalists from Europe and the USA. The words "team" or "collaboration" prevailed over any climate of competition. We were an alliance; soldered, curious and excited about this opportunity that The Woolmark Company and adidas offered us.

What was your approach to working on an innovation using Merino wool?

I have always been attracted to this fibre. Discovering its large qualities was for me evidence to bring it into my sport (aerobic gymnastic). As my observations deal with a problem of accumulating sweat due to unbreathable materials that leotards contain, the Merino fibre was for me the perfect solution due to its thermoregulation, moisture regulation, anti-odour, softness and fineness properties. Mixed with other materials, I could imagine a more efficient textile connecting the body and the environment.

What are you looking forward to most about your internship with adidas?

Working with one of the sportwear world leaders as a first introduction, seems to me the best solution. I seek to acquire knowledge of course on textile innovations, conceptualization techniques from fibre to product. But also, to understand how innovation can and must be brought into market.

What is your advice for Woolmark Performance Challenge 2019 participants?

Trust yourself!