International Woolmark Prize: Asia finalists

SISE and VMAJOR win Asia regional event

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With 12 nominees from Asia contesting for a place at the 2014/15 International Woolmark Prize final, competition was fierce at the Andaz Hotel, Tokyo, for the Asia regional final of the coveted award.

2014/15 International Woolmark Prize Asia regional final judging panel.


SISE from Japan and China’s VMAJOR have won the Asia regional awards of the 2104/15 International Woolmark Prize, each securing a place at the global awards for menswear and womenswear respectively.

A judging panel comprising Angelica Cheung, Editor-in-Chief, Vogue China; Takehiko Suzuki, General Manager of Men’s & Sports Wear, Isetan Mitsukoshi, Japan;  Hajime Nakagawa, General Manager of Ladies, Children’s Wear, Isetan Mitsukoshi , Japan; Jessica Gomes, Model and David Jones ambassador; Masafumi Suzuki, Editor-in-Chief, GQ Japan; and Thakoon Panichgul, Fashion Designer and owner of Thakoon selected the two winners.

“This prize is extremely valuable to designers, not only for the financial reward but also the ongoing support of Woolmark and its partner network. The winners today presented the most interesting collections that left me wanting to see more,” Panichgul explained.

Menswear designer Seishin Matsui, of SISE, used a green wool Melton Merino wool fabric to create a layered and multi-dimensional collection. The Tokyo-based designer presented tapered pants in forest green - diverging from his usual palette of black - teamed with a pair of layered jackets. The SISE aesthetic is generally modern and simplistic, yet the designs are executed with impeccable tailoring for smart, European-influenced sensibility with subtle beauties shining through.

“It was an intense day and I was really nervous, struggling with the styling until the final minutes,” explained Matsui.

“The brand name SISE had never sounded this sparkling than when called by Thakoon during the winner’s announcement.

“I am to have the next six months to create a capsule collection and to hear my brand name sparkle once again in January.”

VMAJOR designers Victor Zhu and Nicole Lin’s first foray into knitwear saw a unique approach to traditional dressing with a jumper as a skirt to create a twisted knitted skirt effect which impressed the judges. Combining creativity and commercialism, the pair pursues an open-minded design philosophy that draws on their cultural origins, while building international appeal with a mix of beauty, confidence and chic.

"We are honoured and happy to compete with other talented designers around the world at such a great platform,” said VMAJOR.

“It is an opportunity of a lifetime for us. All of our design processes and production details are completed in China, meanwhile our design philosophy is firmed and further encouraged during the competition.

“To win the IWP Asia final is just the start, we will put in a 100 per cent effort to represent China in the global final."

Vogue China Editor-in-Chief and International Woolmark Prize judge Angelica Cheung was also excited to have a Chinese brand compete on home soil for the finals.

“I am excited that a Chinese designer will be a part of the finals in Beijing. It is so valuable for our designers to be put on the international stage,” Ms Cheung said.

“It is great to see these designers creating a balance between creativity, wearability and commerciality.”

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