AUG. 22, 2014

International Woolmark Prize 2014/15 Asia Regional Competition Report

The Asia regional competition of the international fashion contest “The International Woolmark Prize,” hosted by The Woolmark Company, was held at the Andaz Tokyo. The winner for womenswear was Vmajor from China and the winner for menswear was Sise from Japan. We will describe the events of the day along with information about the participating designers and the judges’ comments.


On July 17, the Asia regional competition of the International Woolmark Prize (IWP) 2014-15 was held in Tokyo. The IWP is a prestigious international fashion contest which is known for discovering the young Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent in the contest held in 1954 by the International Wool Secretariat (IWS), predecessor of The Woolmark Company. After an absence for a few years, the contest was revived in 2012, targeting a new generation of designers who can express the characteristics of Merino wool in a fashionable manner. This year, the menswear category was newly added. Young and proven designers selected by nomination bodies around the world participate in regional competitions held in five regions—Asia, United States, Australia, India, the Middle East, and Europe. A total of nine winners of the womenswear and menswear categories will advance to the finals held in Beijing (womenswear) and London (menswear) in 2015.

Representing Japan at the Asia regional competition held at Tokyo’s new landmark, the Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills, were AMBELL (Bunzo Kadono) and motonari ono (Motonari Ono) for the womenswear category and Sise (Seishin Matsui) for the menswear department. In addition, there were a total of twelve brands from various Asian countries, which included eight women’s brands and four men’s brands. Each participant was required to present a six-piece Merino wool capsule collection as well as to produce one of the styles. They were judged by famous Asian media, designers, and models who are internationally recognized, as well as by representatives of Mitsukoshi Isetan, which participated as an IWP retail partner starting this year.

After a strict judging process, the brands selected as the prestigious Asian finalists were Vmajor from China for the womenswear category and Sise from Japan for the menswear category. These two winners will be invited to participate in the final competition to be held next year, and will also take home an AU$50,000 contribution towards the production of their future collections. The two designers expressed their joy in front of the many press and industry-related members gathered at the competition venue, saying “I would like to thank everyone who came here today” (Victor Zhu/Vmajor) and “I am very surprised. Thank you so much” (Seishin Matsui/Sise).

The nine finalists from around the world will participate in the finals, which will be held in Beijing and London next year, and compete for AU$100,000 in prize money and distribution rights at globally well-known retail partners, such as Harvey Nichols in the U.K., 10 Corso Como in Italy, Joyce in China, and the Isetan flagship store in Shinjuku, Japan.

A major feature of the IWP is its clear approach of nurturing and supporting brands that have achieved a balance between creation and business, as can be seen by the emphasis on practicality and the production system, etc., as judging criteria at the Asia competition. We wish the two Asia finalists success at the final competition, where they will face tough competition on the world stage as representatives of the booming Asian fashion scene, and we also hope that the participating designers who unfortunately did not win will learn and grow from their experience of creating clothes under limited conditions.



Vmajor / Victor Zhu & Nicole Lin


Sise / Seishin Matsui

Click here for comments from participating designers
Click here for the judges’ comments

REPORT by Yuki Harada

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