Japan’s next generation inspired by Australian Merino wool

20 February 2017

Continuing to foster the development and education of emerging fashion designers, The Woolmark Company has partnered with the prestigious Bunka Fashion Graduate University in Japan to put wool in the hands of student design talent.

During the Bunka Fashion Graduate University Fashion Week, The Woolmark Company sponsored and initiated the Next Generation Award, with students encouraged to create a collection using Australian Merino wool.

The judging panel chose Kenta Nishimura as the winner, praised for his thinking behind how to use Merino wool along with his bold and creative design that maximises the inherent benefits of the natural fibre.

Next Generation Award winner Kenta Nishimura with his winning wool-rich collection ‘neomorph’.

Inspired by circular ribs and ripples, hero pieces of Nishimura’s winning collection ‘neomorph’ were an oversized black ribbed knit dress and a chunky red ribbed knit dress, both made form 80% Australian Merino wool.

“It is difficult to make circle ribs to express ripples, because strong pressure is given to materials,” explains Nishimura. “Other materials are too hard to make even circles, however, wool is soft and flexible and I was able to make beautiful circles. Wool naturally absorbed the pressure and helped me to express my designs as I wished; the flexibility of wool matched my design.

“I think wool has infinite potential and I want to create something completely different from wool. I hope I can be an advocate of wool and I want many people to know the benefits of wool, such as being a renewable resource. I also want many people to wear the garments I make from wool - that is my dream for the future.”

Students were judgeD on having a clear concept, innovative design and commercial insight.

As part of The Woolmark Company’s commitment to the students at Bunka Fashion Graduate University, the global authority on wool organised for students to attend a Wool Appreciation Course as well as a presentation by former International Woolmark Prize menswear finalists Agi & Sam. In addition, promotional collateral was plastered around campus, highlighting other Woolmark activities and the versatility of wool. The Woolmark Company also organised for Japanese suppliers to provide wool fabric for students to create their graduate collections.

“We greatly appreciate the opportunity to get exposed to the latest innovations of wool and learn about it, thanks to this partnership with The Woolmark Company,” said Bunka Fashion Graduate University professor Mr Kushigemachi.

“This award motivated many graduate school students to use wool for their designs and their interest in wool was highly increased. I am looking forward to the collaboration going forward.”