The innovative capsule collection that won the 2019 International Woolmark Prize, along with the captivating pieces from finalists i-am-chen and Angel Chen, have been unveiled at Asia’s leading luxury department store, Lane Crawford.
Pieces from the limited-edition collections of Edward Crutchley and Hong Kong-based knitwear label i-am-chen will be available exclusively at Lane Crawford’s flagship store at ifc mall this month, whereas China’s Angel Chen alluring collection is already in stock.
Exploring the boundaries of form, silhouette and surface, Crutchley radically evolved and reinvented the Merino wool fibre in a myriad of ways to not only challenge prevalent perceptions of the natural, renewable and biodegradable fibre, but also the entire manufacturing systems in which it sits. Every single fabric used in this collection was created exclusively for it, including a lightweight 100% wool weave, hand-printed and treated by a master of screen-printing in Kyoto.
“One of Merino wool’s strongest assets is its sustainability and how it can be used to contribute to a circular economy. With this in mind it would have been a very strange decision to have not made transparency the main element of my submission,” said Crutchley, who received both the Menswear and Innovation Award. “My approach to innovation within this collection has been very much focused on artisanal skills and how these can be celebrated and used in a relevant and modern way.”
A finalist at this year’s International Woolmark Prize, i-am-chen’s vision is free of fashion norms and is instead inspired by 20th Century artists, blurring the lines between fashion, art, textiles and technology.
“Today, knit products on the market are only showing 10% of what knitting can accomplish,” Zhi Chen of i-am-chen said. “We have been eager to revolutionise knitting, revamp the understanding of knitted products and commercialise innovations.”
A designer whose origins lie in engineering, Chen took inspiration from the works of American abstract painter Agnes Martin, focusing on classic elements such as grids, lines, points and tartans. Chen hints her minimalistic design under the intricate yarn swatches in explosive colours and strives to re-interpret these traditional shapes and exploit the most advanced knitting machines to perform pioneering techniques.
Hailed as one of China’s brightest avant-garde designers, Angel Chen’s intriguing collection was inspired by the lifestyle, independent spirit and determination of Qiang ethnicity, a shepherds’ community from a region situated between the northwest of Sichuan and the east of Tibet.
“As a highly social activity, embroidery serves as a way for the community to share news and emotional expressions, and is a representation of the shepherds’ ethnic group’s culture,” said Angel Chen. The collection’s idea is taken from Qiang’s typically bright-coloured costumes as well as the patterns of a sheep’s head, reimagined with traditional handcrafted embroidery techniques.
“The International Woolmark Prize is an award for the future leaders of the industry, an industry that is rapidly changing to meet the demands of a changing consumer, climate and resource availability,” said The Woolmark Company Managing Director Stuart McCullough.
Chosen from more than 300 entrants from across 46 countries the winners are amongst the most promising fashion design talents from across the globe. The prestigious global final event was held during the London Fashion Week in February 2019. The International Woolmark Prize is a long-term program designed to nurture and support designers throughout their career with a focus on innovation across fabric development and processing to improve the overall impact of collections on the environment and the wearer to ensure the International Woolmark Prize continues to push the boundaries of global fashion.