Christian Wijnants has won the 2013 International Woolmark Prize.

The Belgian designer beat stiff competition from five other labels to pick up the coveted award, and was chosen by an illustrious panel including Diane Von Furstenberg, Victoria Beckham, Donatella Versace and Italian Vogue editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani for his innovative use of wool in his new collection.

Speaking at the announcement after the catwalk show at the ME Hotel in London on Saturday night (16.02.13), Franca told Vogue magazine: ''Christian invented a new shape and made it possible with an industrial production process. His designs are flattering, feminine and sexy, a modern interpretation of wool.''

Christian's winning line of hand-dyed garments was created using one type of Merino wool yarn.

He received a cash prize of £65,000 and the chance to sell his collection in high end department stores around the world, including Harvey Nichols in London and Bergdorf Goodman in New York.

Stuart McCullough, Woolmark Company's managing director, commented: ''The International Woolmark Prize seeks outstanding and emerging talent from around the world, and we saw exceptional artisanship and design presented last night.

''The prize is our commitment to supporting the future of the fashion industry and we are honoured to have received support from the global industry by way of our premier retail partners and judges both at the international and regional level.''

Christian will make his grand return to the runway with his autumn/winter 2013 line this season after several years' absence.