A panel comprising of Junn.J - Creative Director, Juun.J; Chizuru Muko - Editor in Chief, WWD Japan; Hyejoo Lee - Editor in Chief, W Magazine Korea; and Hwa Kyung Chung - Vice President, Boon The Shop, SHINSEGAE CO., LTD, selected SixLee and KYE as the winners.
With a multi-layered look inspired by the theme A Nomadic Gentleman, Six Lee showed Merino wool as a fibre for all seasons.
“I was inspired by 1950s men’s undergarments, hence the white textured knitted pieces, which I contrasted with tartan and checks influenced by Kenyan Masai costumes,” said designer Six Lee. These often have layers of check fabrics wrapped around the body. The result is a look for the contemporary gentleman, who can wear this outfit all year around in a modern and functional way.”
“Six Lee has shown great consistency in his collections,” explains Junn.J. “I’ve been aware of his brand for a while and today I particularly liked his knitted undergarments, which I found elegant and understated. I loved the blue colour of the check jacket, and the tailored pieces were finished beautifully.
“All Asian nominees this year showed very distinct interpretations of wool.”
Hwa Kyung Chung was also extremely impressed with Six Lee’s design: “I really liked the knitted underwear contrasted with the tailoring, plus the blue bomber jacket added a contemporary touch. Six Lee showed a great balance between being creative and commercial, between modernity and heritage. The colours and styles are suited to global tastes, not just Asia.”
With a vivid pink head-to-toe look, the winning outfit from KYE was inspired by streetwear style, or what designer Kathleen Kye likes to call “vulgar chic”.
“I wanted to create something for a cooler, younger crowd, using bold colours and distressed detail,” she said. “It’s also worth mentioning that the fringed edges were created by just a water wash, no chemicals were required, so it’s more eco-friendly.”
“KYE’s outfit might look simple from afar, but up close, you can see she made a lot of effort to appeal to the younger generation,” stated Hyejoo Lee. “She put a lot of thought into everything, from the colour to the final finish. I really enjoyed hearing about her inspiration and brand story.”
Hwa Kyung Chung adds: “The pieces are very casual, wearable and fashionable; they will certainly be well received. The look is dynamic and energetic; it will certainly connect wool with younger consumers.”
Chosen from amongst the most promising fashion design talents from Asia, both winners gain a financial contribution of AU$70,000, plus the opportunity to compete in the prestigious international final. In addition, each winner will receive mentoring support from a global panel of experts along with being granted a Woolmark licence.
For the next six-to-seven months, the winning designers will be required to develop a capsule collection in Merino wool, to be showcased at an extraordinary event that will highlight the six menswear finalists and six womenswear finalists selected from across the globe.
The winners of the menswear and womenswear global finals will receive a further AU$200,000 to assist with fabric sourcing and marketing of their collection, as well as mentoring from industry experts. A third winner will also be selected at the global final as part of the newly introduced Innovation Award. In addition, the international winners will have the opportunity to have their collection distributed through the prize’s prestigious international retail partner network including Boon the Shop, S. Korea; Boutique 1, UAE; David Jones, Australia; De Bijenkorf, Amsterdam; Harvey Nichols, UK; Hudson’s Bay Company, Toronto; LECLAIREUR, Paris; Mytheresa.com; ORDRE and SSENSE.COM.
The Woolmark Company is pleased to have the support of makeup by MAC, TONI&GUY and ORDRE.com for this year’s regional events, along with multidisciplinary artist Jonathan Zawada who created the stunning trophies and decorative wares for each regional event.