The SOEN Awards is a long-standing design competition in Tokyo, now in it’s 88th iteration. Created by SOEN Magazine with support from Bunka Fashion College, and judged by a panel of the country’s top designers (like Tsumori Chisato and Keita Maruyama) it is one of the most prestigious in the world. I wish it got more international press, because these are worth seeing!
The goal of the contest is to find the most fantastical, innovative, fresh, and creative young designers who are based in Tokyo. Hopefuls go through a very rigorous screening process which takes almost a year, and work with the judges every step of the way.
This year was not only one of the most fantastic in recent memory, but it was also clearly the most international with a few winners either coming from outside Japan, or from culturally mixed backgrounds in the country. Perhaps this is what lent to the wide array of awesome designs. There is a difference between being interested in in being abroad and actually letting it into the borders and I was very pleased.
Meet your future design superstars from Japan who picked up cash prize money, study abroad packages, and major bragging rights:
Grand Prize Winner 装苑賞
Clear plastic encasing layers of intricately cut colored vinyl for a victorian-meets-2050 vibe.
Runner up 佳作 1
VICTORIA VESELOVA (Russia)
Hers was inspired by David Lynch’s story of small-town horror, “Twin Peaks”, and that immediately made hers one of my favorites.
Park Min Seo (korea) & Lee Chinhua (Taiwan)
パク•ミンソ （韓国）＆ リ•チンハ（台湾）
This one didn’t win any awards but I liked it alot. The designs were interesting, new, and artistic. It was amazing then that when I looked at his portfolio, I saw that it seemed inspired by anime costumes. I then ran to the designer because somehow it changed my feelings on the collection and I wanted to discuss it. Everyone is allowed to have their own muse, but I wanted to know if Ohno was more interested in 2D women wearing his designs than 3D ones. He assured me it was a one-time concept for this collection. I actually felt bad for even mentioning it, but I was so surprised at myself for having my feelings about a collection being swayed by it’s background story.
This also didn’t win any awards, but the mix of the trench coat in layers was very chic- like a more avantagarde version of Sacai.
ジバジャ•ウエネ•ディエゴ•アンドレ•ケイ (ペルー) (Peruvian)
He created his fabric by layering shapes on top of each other by hand. It was incredible work to see up close. It’s no wonder he got the Itokin award
RUNNER UP 佳作２
He created these pieces from menswear textiles.
A really interesting 3-pieces collection made from plastic bags- if it were silk organza it would look just as beautiful.
She tried to recreate the texture of fake flowers with fabric and knit techniques.
The shoe heels were pretty cool though. 靴がすごいかわいいと思いました。ヒールなねんどで作られたらしい。
Another really cool collection in my opinion.
Woven to look like an exoskeleton
Phew! Have any favorites??
See more on the SOEN awards online
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