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The Asia nominees for International Woolmark Prize face the judges Tuesday in Hong Kong. Here is a rundown of the ten nominees for women’s wear and six for men’s wear.

Women’s wear nominees:

YASUTOSHI EZUMI

Country: Japan
Education: Central Saint Martins
Age: 34
Previous experience: Worked at Alexander McQueen as a studio assistant and Aquascutum as a knitwear designer
Design ethos: “Logical design”
Points of sale: About 50 worldwide, including United Arrows, Seibu, Isetan in Japan and Harvey Nichols in Hong Kong
Woolmark look: “We made a wool which looks like a synthetic however it functions like wool,” Ezumi said, adding that he also developed a long-lasting wool denim that is stain-resistant and antibacterial.

 

HEOHWAN SIMULATION

Designer: Heo Hwan
Country: South Korea
Education: Royal College of Art, London
Age: 41
Previous experience: Worked for a Korean brand for three years.
Design ethos: “Our brand’s philosophy is that only by properly understanding fashion history and sharply analyzing the contemporary phenomenon from the 1920s to 1990s, can we do better,” Hwan said.
Points of sale: About ten sales points worldwide including LJ Fashion in Hong Kong, One Fifteen in Taipei and Basics in Saudi Arabia
Woolmark look: Inspired by the women’s clothing Kurt Cobain used to wear to his concerts. “Fabric ideas were also developed from classic patterns of menswear like stripes and checks,” Hwan said.

 

MOTOHIRO TANJI

Country: Japan
Education: Nottingham Trent University
Age: 36
Previous experience: Worked for Acorn Conceptual Textiles in the United Kingdom
Design ethos: “To seek new knit possibility,” Tanji said.
Points of sale: Destination in Tokyo, Light Blue in Yokohama and Genesis in Okayama, Japan
Woolmark look: “I drew a transformed human body through my concept,” Tanji said.

 

M ESSENTIAL
Designer: Muki (Kai Ma)
Country: China
Education: Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts, London College of Fashion
Age: 30
Previous experience: Worked on Yohji Yamamoto’s Ymoynot project in China and as a designer at Chinese brand Exception de Mixmind
Design ethos: “The name ‘M Essential’ expresses the company’s reaction to current society’s attitude towards consumption.  It is about letting go of over design and going back to the essence.”
Points of sale: Some 25 sales points, including Opening Ceremony in the United States and Cachat at SKP in Beijing.
Woolmark look: “The design was inspired by contemporary art installations [that] turn sand into art.”

 

TOTON

Designer: Toton Januar Heri Nugroho
Country: Indonesia
Education: University of Indonesia, Parson’s School of Design
Age: 38
Previous experience: Was a model and member of a pop group in Indonesia. Also designed clothing for dolls sold in Japan.
Design ethos: Modern reinterpretations of Indonesian heritage, men’s wear inspired
Points of sale: Ten worldwide, including Al Ostoura in Kuwait, S*uce in Dubai, Le Charme de Fifi et Fafa in Tokyo and Ara in Jakarta.
Woolmark look: “The look [is] inspired by Javanese and Balinese kings’ clothes in the olden days. Flower embroideries made with wool soften the heavily influenced men’s wear construction.”

 

ROBERT WUN

Country: Hong Kong (China)
Education: London College of Fashion
Age: 25
Previous experience: Worked at fashion magazines such as For Vision China and Sid Magazine and interned with Lucas Nascimento
Design ethos: “I want to experiment with feminine shapes and curves but translated through a modern perspective in which a woman does not need to look masculine, or too street influenced to feel confident and empowered.”
Points of sale: Seven worldwide, including H. Lorenzo in Los Angeles, Grain Boutique in Kuwait and Dressing For Fun in Chengdu
Woolmark look: “It celebrates the desire to transform through beauty and the idea of ‘dressing up’ to impress.” Wun said he was inspired by men’s tailoring and weddings.

 

MAJOR MINOR MAHA

Designers: Ari Seputra, 54, Sari N. Seputra, 49, and Inneke Margarethe, 28
Country: Indonesia
Education: Esmod Jakarta (Ari Seputra and Inneke Margarethe) La Salle Jakarta (Sari Seputra)
Previous experience: Ari Seputra worked for designer Rumah Mode Prajudi and ran his own brand. Sari Seputra worked as a corporate lawyer.
Design ethos: Combining culture and technology
Points of sale: Galeries Lafayette in Jakarta, Indonesia, Fenwick Bond Street in London, Club 21 in Singapore
Woolmark look: Inspired by traditional textiles from Lambok Island in eastern Indonesia, the team used a mixture of modern weaving techniques, traditional looms and embroidery to create comfortable, feminine clothing.

 

XU ZHI

Country: China
Education: Central Saint Martins
Age: 23
Previous experience: Worked for Craig Green and J.W. Anderson
Design ethos: “Subtle beauty, craftsmanship and poetic sentiment, disregarding trends and redefining luxury.”
Points of sale: About 20 worldwide, including Lane Crawford in Hong Kong and China; Dover Street Market in London; and Opening Ceremony in Tokyo
Woolmark look: “This collection is about ‘Back to the Essence’. While keeping the texture unified, I want the emotions of the collection to translate through simply shapes and colors.”

 

WHOSTHAT

Designer: Meiyi Cheung
Country: Hong Kong (China)
Education: Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Age: Not given
Previous experience: Ran a design company servicing Chinese fashion brands.
Design ethos: “I hope I can slow down consumers with details…[so] they appreciate my designs as they appreciate a piece of fine art.”
Points of sale: Whosthatshop at PMQ in Hong Kong
Woolmark look: “The construction of the jacket is like pieces of a puzzle, with edges and seams of panels hand stitched separately, thus enhancing the paneling of the coat.”

 

R.SHEMISTE

Designers: Ji Yeun Won, 25, Joo Ho Lee, 23
Country: South Korea
Education: Somehere in Seoul
Previous experience: Won is a fashion design student, Lee is a photographer. They have no other work experience in fashion.
Design ethos: “Witty pattern and creative graphic prints to bring out the color of brand identity.”
Points of sale: Antonioli in Milan, I.T in Hong Kong, Back to British in Taipei, Pressing in Japan
Woolmark look: “The technique for fabricating materials of opposite properties into one was used to express an image of independence and strong femininity that resists standardization. “

 

Men’s nominees:

DISCOVERED

Designer: Tatsuya Kimura
Country: Japan
Education: Yasuko Ueda Fashion College
Age: 39
Previous experience: None. He launched his own brand straight out of school.
Design ethos: “Opposition mix up, mixing of conflicting things.”
Points of sale: Studious in Japan, Magmode in Beijing, Shine in Hong Kong, Addicted in Seoul, Zozotown in Japan
Woolmark look: “Inspiration is Tokyo city – right now, right here… Hand-knitted or braided yarn of various wool demonstrates the pure and accurate technology of Japanese artisans.”

 

SIX LEE

Country: Hong Kong (China)
Education: Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp
Age: 32
Previous experience: Worked at Alexander McQueen and taught fashion at Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Design ethos: “Incorporating clean cuts with sharp lines, soft colors and dreamy, boyish details,” Lee said. “All of this results in collections that possess new proportions and unique silhouettes with a modern twist from classical tailoring.”
Points of sale: The Swank in Hong Kong, Galeries Lafayette in Beijing, D-mop in Hong Kong, Hypebeast
Woolmark look: “The shapes of the collection are generally inspired by the Congo Dandies, costumes from Brittany, France and British tailoring,” Lee said, adding that he if focusing on knits with coated or bonded techniques.

 

SEAN SUEN

Country: China
Education: Sichuan Fine Arts Institute
Age: 32
Previous experience: Worked as graphic designer.
Design ethos: “I have always been drawn to graphic simplicity in fashion. The ethos in my collections is therefore a mixture and merging of different elements,” Suen said.
Points of sale: Galeries Lafayette in Beijing, Harvey Nichols in Hong Kong, Chop Suey Club in New York, Meimei in Chengdu
Woolmark look: “The inspiration of the final piece comes from some traditional costume of China with additional modern elements…merging the tradition and modern together,” Suen said.

 

ALEXANDER T. ZHAO

Designers: Shan Zhao, 29, and Tao Zhao, 25
Country: China
Education: Polimoda, Florence
Previous experience: The pair has worked in fashion consulting, reality TV and done knitwear for Italian brands.
Design ethos: “Emotional power and raw energy.”
Points of sale: Ops in Whuhan and Changsha, China; D2C in Beijing, ShangPin.com
Woolmark look: The five Chinese elements of water, fire, metal, earth and wood inspired the pair. “We are trying to use materials to experiment techniques of finishing and brushing.”

 

VINORA

Designer: Vinora Ng
Country: Indonesia
Education: Mod’Art International (Paris) Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (Los Angeles)
Age: 27
Previous experience: Won the Lomba Perancang Mode 2009 competition in Indonesia
Design ethos: “A contemporary approach to design by playing with the gestures and conventions of classic attire.”
Points of sale: The brand’s own store in Jakarta
Woolmark look: Third culture kids, deconstructed garments and the textures of industrial packaging were all influencing factors.

 

MUNN

Designer: Hyunmin Han
Country: South Korea
Education: Samsung Art & Design Institute
Age: 32
Previous experience: Worked for Korean men’s brand Wooyoungmi
Design ethos: Inspired by Sixties-era made-to-order clothing construction and a drive to create new silhouettes and patterns.
Points of sale: Leclaireur in Paris, MK2UK in London, Seaword in China
Woolmark look: The North Korea/South Korea divide and the separation of families served as the creative focus.