By Nivedita

Designer Rahul Mishra's creation for International woolmark prize
Designer Rahul Mishra’s creation for International woolmark prize (Photo: IANS)
New Delhi: Imagine wearing a tie-and-dye design in wool or flaunting a garment made out of wool at the peak of Delhi summer! Young and experimental designer Rahul Mishra has tried such possibilities and more to “make wool more user-friendly with craftsmanship”.

“I’ve been working hard to make wool an all-weather fabric and I am really amazed with the outcome. All the wool designs that I have come up with can we worn even in the extreme summer of Delhi,” Mishra told IANS in an interview.

“I’ve also tried bandini (traditional tie-and-dye) on wool and one will see my signature Buddhist-inspired lotus motifs on around 25 garments which are a part of my collection,” added the designer, who has been chosen to represent India at the finals of International Woolmark Prize (IWP) next month.

He will fly to foreign fashion hub Milan to compete at the global event with his woollen line. He is among the top five contestants, all selected through a global search reaching across 24 countries and involving over 48 designers.

For Mishra, it’s not just an honour but also a lucrative platform for generating business internationally.

“I still can’t believe that I have been shortlisted for IWP, something that was won in the past by international icons like Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) and Karl Lagerfeld! This is definitely one of the most important junctures in my career,” said the Mumbai-based designer.

The competition, organised by The Woolmark Company, will be held Feb 21 during the Milan Fashion Week.

Each finalist will present a six-piece collection highlighting the beauty of Merino wool. The winner, to be announced by the jury at the end of the fashion show, will be awarded a prize of Australian $100,000 (over Rs.5.4 million) and the chance to be stocked in the top retailers around the world who are partners of the project.

Mishra, a post-graduate from the National Institute of Design, where he won the best student designer of the year in 2005 and a scholarship to the Milan Istituto Marangoni, is looking forward to target international buyers and increase his clientele via the event.

“I have to prepare myself with so many looks to present it to my buyers because it is a serious business event. The best thing about Woolmark Prize is that it is a completely business event.

“Commercial viability becomes a really important aspect for any fashion week. International buyers do have a minimum order guarantee, which is really exciting. When you are going for such a competition, you have to be really careful about your collection,” said Mishra.

On the Indian fashion scene, he made his debut at the Lakme Fashion Week in 2006 when he created reversible ensembles with cotton handloom from Kerala. Apart from Indian fashion weeks, the designer has also showcased at fashion weeks in London and Dubai, as also in Australia.

In Milan, Mishra will be judged by fashion industry leaders like Colette Garnsey (director, Australian Wool Innovation, the parent company of The Woolmark Company), Franca Sozzani (editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia), Frida Giannini (creative director of Gucci), Tim Blanks (editor-at-large of and Colin McDowell (designer, mentor and fashion writer).

The designer wants to just focus on “giving his best”.

“It’s just about timing; if my timing is correct, I will make it; otherwise, participating in such a huge competition itself is an achievement,” he said.

Source: IANS