Each year, the International Woolmark Prize (IWP) confers an award for talented designers or labels who are passionate in their field. This year, for the very first time, an Indonesian participated in this ultra-prestigious contest and bagged a top prize: not only was Toton Januar representing Indonesia, he also came home with the IWP award in the Womenswear category for the Asia region.
IWP is organised by The Woolmark Company, which is owned by wool-grower associations in Australia—the biggest supplier of woollen fabrics in the world. The competition has been held since the 1950s with designers who have been successfully won IWP awards including Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld, and Rahul Mishra from India.
Toton’s eponymous label was founded along with his business partner, Haryo Balitar, in 2012. The designs combine Indonesian heritage with quality craftsmanship made with Merino wool using traditional artisanal techniques by craftsmen from Garut, West Java.
After advancing to represent Indonesia along with two other Indonesian labels—Major Minor Maha (in the Womenswear category) and Vinora (in the Menswear category), Toton won in the final in the Womenswear category. The winning product matches a handmade jacket accented with embroidery with woven pants with loose pieces.
The International Woolmark Prize judges in the Asia region included designer Christopher Raeburn and accessories designer Fiona Kotur. Toton managed to outperform finalists from other countries in Asia, namely from China, Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea. According to Christopher Raeburn, Toton’s wool work represents a fresh new look.
Together with designer Hyun-Min Han from South Korea and with his label Munn, Toton will showcase a capsule collection made with Merino wool. Munn was the winner of the award in the Menswear category. Toton will now take his collection to the global final in Paris, while Munn will compete in the final in London Collections Men, both taking place in January 2017. As the winner of the Asia region, Toton and Munn will also receive prize money worth AUD$ 50,000 or approximately Rp 500m at current exchange.
If they win at the world level, Toton and Munn will then get a chance to globally distribute their collections through premium department store Harvey Nichols in the UK, David Jones in Australia, Boutique 1 in the United Arab Emirates, Verso in Belgium, and more. Bravo, Toton!