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ACF Awards – A Celebration of Talent

Published on 30 November 2014

The Asian Couture Federation Awards Gala is the most significant fashion awards ceremony in Asia.

Over the course of the evening, it recognised leading talent, people and businesses regionally and internationally who have contributed to the development of the Asian and global fashion and couture industry. Spanning 15 categories, this milestone moment saw accolades given to some of the world’s most influential designers, personalities, business leaders and entrepreneurs.

The first segment of the awards was focused on Japan. Like the Asian Couture Federation, Japan has a strong belief in the nurturing of creative fashion talent. Indeed, it is also reflected in the close partnership that exists between the Asian Couture Federation and the Bunka Fashion College, which is one of the world’s most highly regarded fashion schools. Bunka has generated such impressive talents as Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garcons, Issey Miyake, Hanae Mori, Yohji Yamamoto, Junya Watanabe and of course the Asian Couture Federation Honorary President – Kenzo Takada.

As such the first award for  “Asian Couture Federation Lifetime Achievement” went to Kenzo Takada. A pioneer for Japanese designers he was quick to make his mark in Paris in the 1960’s and he continues to be a much-respected designer, whose body of work over many years remains influential and significant.  With education a key component of fashion success, the next award for “Outstanding Contribution to Fashion Education in Asia” was presented to Sunao Onuma, Chairman of Bunka Gakuen. With tenure of nearly 60 years, he is actively involved in promoting academic excellence in Japan by overseeing the curriculum and progress of 380 institutions there.

Given the Awards Gala was hosted in Singapore, the evening then set its sights on the contribution of Singapore based ‘home grown’ talent which has contributed significantly across the spectrum of arts and culture as well as business and commerce. Marking this was the first award for “Outstanding Homegrown Couture House in Singapore” which went to Frederick Lee. Dubbed ‘Singapore’s Godfather of Couture’, his award was enthusiastically supported by the audience.

This was followed by the  “Outstanding Homegrown Social Media Influencer in Fashion”, which was presented to Singapore born Willabelle Ong. A leading light in the region’s social media landscape, her site Pale Division is one of the most influential and followed fashion voices in the region. Daniel Boey was next to receive the award for “Outstanding Contribution to the Fashion Industry in Singapore” reflecting his pre-eminent position in fashion production.

Up next was the award for “Outstanding Contribution to Fashion Education in Singapore” which was presented to Guiseppe Spinelli, Principal & Programme Director at Raffles College of Higher Education and one of the most respected personalities in fashion education in Singapore and South East Asia. The last award of this segment was awarded to Raoul for “Outstanding Homegrown Fashion Brand in Singapore.” A true Singapore success story, Raoul has quickly achieved global presence and firm following of celebrities and Royalty.

With Korea being such a major influence in Asian fashion and culture, it was not surprising that one of the most prolific markets to generate world-class creative talent should be recognised. Setting a suitably high profile tone, Korean superstar Rain was named as the “Asian Couture Federation Style Icon.” Known for his sharp sense of style, what he wears and how he wears it, has influenced countless millions across the world. One of Asia’s most influential businesswomen, Kim Sung-Joo, Chairperson and Chief Visionary Officer of the Sungjoo Group and MCM Holding AG was then recognised for her “Outstanding Contribution to the International Fashion Industry.”

A long-time favourite of international celebrities, renowned luxury brand MCM (Mode Creation Munich), was presented the award for “Outstanding International Fashion Brand. Managed out of Korea, it has been one of Asia’s stand out success stories. The last award focusing on Korea was given to Zio Song for “Outstanding Menswear Designer” and his eponymous menswear brand, SONGZIO. Regarded as South Korea’s top designer he has gained international acclaim over the course of his career.

Moving to the international arena, the award for “Outstanding Contribution to the Global Couture Industry” was given to Silvia Venturini Fendi. The third generation of the Italian fashion dynasty Fendi, she is also the President and creative mastermind behind AltaRoma – Rome’s bi-annual fashion week and a champion of Italian couture.  This was followed by the “Outstanding Contribution to Social Media in Fashion” being presented to Bryan Grey Yambao. Also known as Bryanboy, he is without doubt one of social media’s superstars. The awards concluded with Edwina McCann, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Australia being recognised for her “Outstanding Contribution to Fashion Journalism.”

Aside from these thirteen awards, a further two were given in recognition of contribution to philanthropy and corporate social responsibility. Chairman of the Golden Group, Mrs. Mimi Wong was awarded  “Patron of the Arts for Couture.” This was in recognition of her significant support of numerous charitable causes as well as tremendous support of the Asian Couture Federation. And the highest honour of the evening was awarded to Mr. Andy Wong who was bestowed the title of “Doctor Honoris Causa” for his endless and passionate commitment to helping the underprivileged extensive support of the Asian Couture Federation.

The Asian Couture Federation Awards Gala proved to be a key milestone in the recognition of both Asian and international talent. Above all it was a moment to honour their collective efforts to raise the profile of fashion talent within the region and globally and to celebrate it in appropriate style.