Womenswear designer J Koo and menswear designer Munsoo Kwon have been named the winners of this year’s International Woolmark Prize for the Asia region. Chosen from amongst the twelve most promising talents in Asia fashion design, both designers received $50,000 AUD along with the opportunity to represent Asia to compete in the prestigious international final. The final for menswear will be held in Florence in January 2016, while the womenswear final will be held in New York in February 2016.
Munsoo Kwon, a master at mixing formal and casual wear, infuses dashes of sportswear while still remaining impressive. His signature tailored jackets and blazers in particular stand out that have a textured treated ombre effect, however his distinct takes on bombers and loungewear pieces reveal his progression as a designer, which was clearly noted by the judges.
Jinwoo Choi and Yeonjoo Koo of J Koo won due to their unique and innovative treatment of 100% wool denim fabric: using just bleach, the duo created a washed out effect. Wool, which can be tedious, now can be taken care of with ease, from the care to the finished effect. Taking simplicity and morphing it with an alternative take on luxury and femininity, a modern aesthetic for J Koo is born that recognizes no boundaries.
For the next six to seven months, both labels will be required to develop a capsule collection in Merino wool to be showcased at one of two events that will highlight the six menswear finalists and six womenswear finalists selected around the world. The finalists will compete for the International Woolmark Prize, in which the winner is awarded an additional $100,00 AUD and has the opportunity to be stocked in the most important retailers of the world which include Harvey Nichols, 10 Corso Como, MyTheresa.com, Joyce and more. A commitment to educating the next generation of fashion industry leaders about the extraordinary potential of Merino wool, this is truly a great victory for both Munsoo Kwon and J Koo.