Interview & Report
Interview & Report

IWP 2014/15 Asia Regional Competition Comments from participating designers

IWP 2014/15 Asia Regional Competition Comments from participating designers

2014.7.17 Andaz Tokyo

Below are the comments from the designers who participated in the Asian regional competition of “The International Woolmark Prize,” an international fashion contest held by The Woolmark Company.

【WOMENS
AMBELL/Bunzo Kadono(Japan)
GREEDIOUS/Younhee Park(Korea)
HEI LAU/Hei Lau(Hong Kong)
JO QIAO DING/Jo Qiao Ding(China)
motonari ono/Motonari Ono(Japan)
NISHE/Polly Siu(Hong Kong)
TOE /Choon Ho Yoon(Korea)
Vmajor/Victor Zhu & Nicole Lin(China)

【MENS
Beautyberry/Wang Yutao(China)
HARRISON WONG/Harrison Wong(Hong Kong)
Sise/Seishin Matsui(Japan)
ZSAINT/Jisang Kim(Korea)

WOMENS

AMBELL/Bunzo Kadono(Japan)

ambell ambell2

I created this collection without using any materials other than wool such as nylon and silk. My source of inspiration was “cotton” and “Mark Rothko,” and just like Mark Rothko’s method of layering paint on a canvas, I imagined the clothes to be a canvas and drew patterns with our hands using raw wool. Unlike our usual collections, we were able to focus on single material— wool, and limit the number of patterns that we had to design, so we were able to more deeply pursue our theme. It was a great experience. I hope to use this experience to continue to make clothes, with a possibility of entering into foreign markets in the future.

【profile】
The brainchild of Japanese designer Bunzo Kadono, fashion label AMBELL was first established in 2009, debuting with the 2010/11 autumn/winter collection. The name of the brand itself is a portmanteau of amber – something enjoyed for its aroma and flavour – and bell – something that brings happiness – to create a label that pleases through sight, smell and touch. Since spring/summer 2012, AMBELL has showcased at Fashion Week Tokyo Collection. The label’s latest runway appearance for autumn winter 2014/15, Black Symphony, drew inspiration from the work of New York abstract artist Ad Reinhardt.
http://www.ambell.jp/


GREEDIOUS/Younhee Park(Korea)

GREEDILOUS GREEDILOUS2

GREEDIOUS is a brand with the transparency and purity of diamonds as its theme, and we make clothes that any women would want to wear and allow one to become the person she wants to be. For this competition, I was inspired by the movie “The Last of the Mohicans,” and I created a coat and dress based on the exotic and militant Mohican style. I focused on taking advantage of the plainness and material quality of wool, and I aimed to make the voluminous coat appear light. The judges praised the use of color, technique, and unique idea.

【profile】
Since 2009, designer Younhee Park has attempted to capture the authenticity of haute couture but with an eye on sustainability. Describing the look as ‘futuristic modernity’, Younhee Park creates a feminine look with masculine undertones that manages to be both classic and directional; mainstream yet out of the ordinary. Simple and concise silhouettes are juxtaposed with delicate details and a sensibility designed to have an appeal that stretches across the globe. The label has already garnered a following in the US, France, Hong Kong, China, Mexico and the Middle East.


HEI LAU/Hei Lau(Hong Kong)

HEILAU1 HEILAU2

HEI LAU is a brand that focuses on the cutting and drape, and aims to express natural elegance. For the IWP, I was inspired by the botanical garden in London that I visited the other day, and decided to create lines that are unique to plants using organic cutting and draping that fit the curves of the body based on elements such as the form, vitality, and growth of plants. As wool is a heavy material, it is hard to create beautiful drapes, but I focused on creating a silhouette that stayed true to my style by using two fabrics of different thicknesses. I think the judges were interested in the concepts and techniques of my work.

【profile】
A graduate from Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s School of Design in 2004, Hei Lau spent five years gaining industry experience at the prestigious Hong Kong retail group TWIST. In 2009, Hei Lau launched her eponymous womenswear label which is now showcased in Paris every season. Draping is the essence of the brand, whilst Hei Lau’s designs combine elegance with effortless chic. HEI LAU offers unique and timeless pieces, which emphasise both silhouettes and shapes. HEI LAU is an eponymous womenswear label since 2009.
http://www.heilau.com


JO QIAO DING/Jo Qiao Ding(China)

JOQIAODING1 JOQIAODING2

In my work, I aim to incorporate as much of the beauty of traditional Chinese culture as possible. For this competition, my motif was a rose, and I created a dress with a silhouette of traditional Chinese clothing with the theme of recreating the layers of petals using clothing. I often use wool, and I felt that the material is well-suited for my designs as it is extremely soft and thus makes it easy to recreate the colors and shapes of roses. I think the judges were interested in the dyeing process. I currently have stores in Beijing and Shanghai in China, but I hope to use the experience of participating in the IWP to expand overseas, such as Singapore, in the near future.

【profile】
A graduate of London’s Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design, Jo Qiao Ding won a design competition held by the prestigious college and Louis Vuitton which saw her working in the leather goods department for the hallowed French luxury house. In 2011, she launched the first fashion collection under her own name, incorporating the concept of “CHIC Chinese style” into her designs each season. This oriental aesthetic is combined with the use of natural fabric to create the wearable, contemporary look that exemplifies the brand. Jo Qiao Ding says she constantly strives to find new and interesting ways to reflect the beauty and personality of her customers.


motonari ono/Motonari Ono(Japan)

motonariono motonariono2

I created a collection with the theme of “gradation you see in nature,” linking the beautiful gradation in the natural world, such as the boundary between the sea and the sky, with the natural blessing of wool as a material. For this competition, I created a dress from thread, and by changing the knitted fabric within one piece of fabric, I created a piece in which a story is created around one wool thread. Because this was a contest with a theme of wool, I was able to try my hand at creating clothing from thread and thus making the most of the qualities of the material in a passionate manner, and I think that I will be able to apply my efforts in future clothes-making as well.

【profile】
The eponymous label by Japanese designer Motonari Ono was first established in 2006. Based on his academic and professional background in London and Antwerp, Motonari Ono has been actively participating in international fashion weeks in Asia, Europe and Russia. His aesthetic has a certain romanticism and delicacy which is balanced by stronger detailing inspired by men’s tailoring. Motonari Ono was the first Japanese brand to show a collection at Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai, back in 2010. That same year, the brand also became a member of the India Jewellery Collection.
http://www.motonari-ono.com


NISHE/Polly Siu(Hong Kong)

NISHIE1 NISHIE2

I deviated from the taste of my normal line and created a dress and scarf that could be worn out on a night on the town. I took 100% Merino wool and had it printed based on a painting I did inspired by the “Ocean” after which the wool was coated. The combination of the ocean motif with the wool which is coated symbolizes that we must protect the global environment from global warming. I also made sure not to waste one tuft of wool in consideration of the vast amount of time and labor required to raise sheep and produce such material. Using the IWP as a spring board I hope to distribute to high quality department stores.

【profile】
Hong Kong-based Australian designer Polly Siu launched her label NISHE in 2008 and the brand’s first collection debuted in London in 2010. Studied business at UNSW and Textile Design at Central Saint Martins London, Polly Siu believes there are no rules or boundaries in design and art.
http://www.nishe.com.hk


TOE /Choon Ho Yoon(Korea)

toe toe2

TOE is a brand whose collections have a classic base with a retro feel added on. For this collection, my source of inspiration was the thatched roof used in traditional Korean houses. I incorporated the motif of thatch, which shares qualities such as heat-retaining properties and thermal insulation properties with wool, in clothing, and I conducted the knitting work myself, focusing on the weaving texture, twists, and the volume, etc. In addition, I was able to create pleats, which are difficult to express using wool, and the judges showed great interest in the technique. Currently, my brand is sold in Asia, but I hope to gain recognition in a broader market in order to grow into a global brand.

【profile】
Choon Ho Yoon started his career in brand Liesangbong as an assistant designer. He then had the chance to be featured in season two of the successful reality show ‘Project Runaway Korea’, which earned him fame in 2010. Choon Ho Yoon launched Korean label TOE in 2010. TOE is a contemporary brand based on a classic theme. Choon Ho pursues classic feminine tailoring, minimalist silhouette details and a hint of retro texture to give a sensuous analogue feel. He has shown his collections in Who’s Next fairs in Paris and Hong Kong Fashion Week in 2012 and NY Coterie Show in 2013. He also launched his second label ARCHE in 2013.


Vmajor/Victor Zhu & Nicole Lin(China)

vm1 vm2

After we studied fashion in London together, we returned to China in 2009 and launched our brand. We frequently used wool in our previous Autumn/Fall collections, but we decided to try our hand at weaving in order to do something that we hadn’t done before. As wool products are often wrapped around or loosened, such as cardigans and scarves, we decided to have the reconfiguration of form as our theme, and produced clothes which incorporated patterns of works by artists who drew the Himalayas. We received feedback from the judges regarding business aspects in addition to creative aspects. It made us think about what perspective we needed to have as professionals, and was extremely encouraging.

【profile】
Designers Victor Zhu and Nicole Lin learned their craft at separate design schools in London and met while interning at Vivienne Westwood. After graduating in 2006, the pair eventually returned to Shenzhen, China’s textile capital where they came together under the name VMAJOR, a moniker borrowing from Victor’s name and a key in classical music. The label was invited by the British Fashion council to present their spring summer 2013 collection during London Fashion Week in 2012, garnering international attention that has seen the designers join showrooms in Paris, Milan and New York during subsequent fashion weeks. Combining creativity and commercialism, the pair pursue an open-minded design philosophy that draws on their cultural origins while building international appeal with a mix of beauty, confidence and sexy chic.


MENS

Beautyberry/Wang Yutao(China)

bb bb2

Beautyberry is a brand that was launched in 2005, and 70% of our clothes is menswear and 30% is womenswear. Recently, we are making a shift towards the high-end market. For the IWP collection, our theme was to link the elegant fashion of Western men in the early 20th century, when men paid attention to their clothes, with the lifestyle of modern Chinese men. Wool normally accounts for about 70% of our usual collections, and we think it is a flexible material that is soft and warm and can be used in a wide variety of ways. This time, we focused on threads, embroidery, and sewing, and we feel that our work for this competition will add to our collection in the future.

【profile】
Combining traditional Chinese handicrafts with modern industrial culture to encapsulate the label’s philosophy of “simplicity, nature and peace”, Beautyberry was founded by Wang Yutao. Often blending influences of East and West, Wang Yutao strikes a balance between the two worlds in the pursuit of a modern, urban man and woman. He explores the tension between being energetic, assertive and uninhibited while also being reticent. The label brings emotion and luxury to simple, unaffected design – a beauty that unfolds in the purity of shape and tailoring. Taking the invitation of Eastern culture to slow down and enjoy life, Beautyberry subtly incorporates Chinese symbolism and tradition in a look that is inherently international.
http://www.beautyberry.cn


HARRISON WONG/Harrison Wong(Hong Kong)

HARRISON-WONG1 HARRISON-WONG2

I design clothes based on the idea that having limited elements becomes a source of creativity. For this competition, I created clothing using just one type of thread with the theme of “protective equipment of Asia.” We were only allowed to produce one style, so I thought that it would be effective to limit myself to just one material while conveying a texture and technique that made it not feel that way. I also was able to create a silhouette that followed the theme while keeping in mind the need to make a product that was commercially viable as well. I got positive reactions from the judges, and this competition was an extremely good opportunity for my brand.

【profile】
Harrison Wong, founder of Harrison Wong Ltd, made his fashion debut by winning both the Hong Kong Young Designer’s Contest and the Grand Prix Contest in Japan. He then earned a Masters degree with distinction from the London College of Fashion. For a number of years before launching his own retail fashion business, Harrison Wong broadened his credentials by designing seasonal collections for international runways in New York, Milan, Sydney and Asia. Now, Harrison Wong has entered a new chapter in his career by opening his first menswear retail shop at PMQ, Hong Kong’s new design hub. The Harrison Wong brand offers contemporary apparel and accessories for urban males. The fashions have an edgy, aggressive design yet emitting an understated elegance.
http://www.harrisonwong.com


Sise/Seishin Matsui(Japan)

sise sise2

My theme was “THIS MOMENT,” and I decided to put into shape what I thought was nice and cool right now, while also picking up things that interested me out of the massive amount of news surrounding me. I always liked wool and so I am good at working with it, but this was the first time I designed clothes while thinking so much about the material. For this competition, I decided to express the sports mode style that I have always liked, by respecting the Merino wool material but also adding about 10% of manmade fiber to change the expression of the fabric. I was never interested in competitions from when I was a student, but I was able to get down to the core of my expression while working among designers from various countries, and it was an extremely precious experience for me.

【profile】
After graduating from Bunka Fashion College in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo, designer Seishin Matsui established his own menswear label, Sise. On the surface of it, the Sise aesthetic is modern and simplistic, but the minimalistic designs are executed with impeccable tailoring for a smart, European-influenced sensibility. Usually keeping with a pared back palette of black, white and grey with occasional injections of brights, the simplified colours allow the subtle beauty of Seishin Matsui’s detailing to shine through. Sise has been a highlight of the Fashion Week Tokyo Collection calendar since autumn winter 2010.
http://www.sise.jp


ZSAINT/Jisang Kim(Korea)

ZSAINT ZSAINT2

ZSAINT is a brand with the concept of “modernique,” which is based on modernism with a moderate touch of uniqueness. For this competition, my source of inspiration was the art of Salvador Dalí, and I aimed to incorporate the distinctive spatial layers of surrealism into my clothes. I also wanted to respect the functional elements of wool as a natural material, such as its texture and heat-retaining properties, so I focused on making the most of the good qualities of wool without using any special techniques. I am extremely honored to have been able to participate in this competition as a representative of Korean menswear designers. In addition, it was a valuable experience to be able to meet designers from other countries and to work with the global Woolmark Company.

【profile】
Following a four year stint designing for established Korean designer Wooyoungmi, Jisang Kim stepped away to launch his own label, ZSAINT. Launching in 2012 with representation in Paris, under Jisang Kim’s creative direction, the modernist style of ZSAINT has quickly found a global following with the brand stocked in department stores and boutiques in 13 countries around the world including Europe and the UK, Hong Kong, Russia, China and Japan. Through his designs, Jisang Kim hopes to bring an understated individuality that combines an artistic point of view with a marketable mindset.
http://www.kimjisang.com


INTERVIEW by Yuki Harada

Go to Top