International Woolmark Prize expands into Asia

18 October 2012

The International Woolmark Prize (IWP) has generated significant interest within the global industry and has now evolved into a coveted, internationally recognised award, presented by peers and mentors to future leaders of the industry.

IWP China winner Ban Xiao Xue, with a model wearing his winning garment
IWP China winner Ban Xiao Xue, with a model wearing his winning garment.

2013 will see the expansion of the Asia region which will now cover China, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea and the Indian region will now include UAE, Pakistan and Lebanon, as the prize continues to search the globe, uncovering the world’s best wool designers.

Enrolling the support of the most important regional nominating bodies ensures that the best designers are uncovered from all countries involved in the competition. With the expansion into Asia some of the most influential and prominent groups have thrown their support behind the project:

Hong Kong Fashion Designers Association (HKFDA) was founded in 1984. It is recognised as one of the leading fashion institutions in the region of HKSAR, Mainland China and other cities in the South Pacific region.

China Fashion Association (CFA) is a registered national organization founded in 1993 in Beijing. The main activities of CFA include China Fashion Week, Fashion Design and Model Contest, part-time training and international exchange activities.

Japan Fashion Week Organization (JFW) was established in 2005 with the cooperation of textile/fashion manufactures, fashion designers and distributers. JFW hosts the "Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tokyo twice a year.

Korea Fashion Association (KFA) is a body established in 1985 that aims to protect the rights of its members, promote its members and strengthen and globalize the competitiveness of the Korean fashion industry.

Vogue China – after strong support for the project in 2012, Vogue China will again be heavily involved in the selection of the nominees from Asia for 2013.

The Woolmark Company re-launched the International Woolmark Prize to help promote outstanding design talent from around the world, and through their design innovations inspire and educate consumers on the natural beauty of Merino wool.

Vogue China editor-in-chief Angelica Cheung who was on the judging panel in China explained, “Ban Xiao Xue won because of his innovative treatment of wool, these days not many designers take time to do this. A lot of people just focus on design not knowing much about the raw material and the possibilities and potential of the fibre.”

The finalist who is awarded the overall prize will have his/her designs stocked by leading global retailers including Bergdorf Goodman in the USA, Harvey Nichols in the UK, 10 Corso Como in Italy, Joyce in China, Eickoff in Germany and David Jones in Australia.

About the International Woolmark Prize:

The International Woolmark Prize crosses borders and cultures by seeking outstanding and emerging talent from around the world, aligning the support of emerging designers with the evolution of emerging countries.

It is an award for the next generation, shifting the focus from glamour to true talent as a way to highlight wool’s eco credentials. It is Woolmark’s social commitment, a sharing of resources to support local artisans.

In keeping with a long tradition of supporting individual excellence in design, the International Woolmark Prize aims to highlight the beauty of the Merino wool fibre at the hands of the world’s finest designers.

The award is supported internationally by key fashion councils including the Council of Fashion Designers America, British Fashion Council, Chambre Syndicale De La Couture, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Madrid and Premsela Foundation.

The regional judging panels have included esteemed industry representatives such as Alexandra Shulman - Editor-in-Chief Vogue UK, Tim Blanks - Editor at Large, Alber Elbaz - Artistic Director Lanvin, Angelica Cheung - Vogue China editor-in-chief and designers included Narciso Rodriguez, Richard Nicholl and Giles Deacon.

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