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Fashion week upset! Indian designer wins top prize

Last updated on: February 25, 2014 19:40 IST

Fashion week upset! Indian designer wins top prize

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The fashion designer won the prestigious award for his Merino wool collection.

In what The New York Times’ fashion blog called ‘an upset,’ Indian designer Rahul Mishra has won the 2014 International Woolmark Prize, the competition for which was held in Milan, Italy.

Mishra was one of the five finalists – one each from the United States, Europe, India and the Middle East, Asia, and Australia – who got a chance to showcase their take on wool for the Australian $100,000 prize.

The prize, awarded annually by The Woolmark Company -- which advocates for Aussie wool manufacturers – also gives Mishra an opportunity to have his creations stocked at prestigious global stores like Saks Fifth Avenue in the US and Colette in Paris.


Image: Fashion designer Rahul Mishra with his award during the International Woolmark Prize as part of Milan Fashion Week Womenswear Autumn/Winter 2014 on February 21, 2014 in Milan, Italy.
Photographs: Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images and Courtesy Weber Shandwick

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A coveted fashion award

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The judging panel for the Woolmark Prize comprised fashion heavyweights, including Frida Giannini, creative director, Gucci; and Vogue Italia’s Franca Sozzani.

Stuart McCullough, chief executive officer, Woolmark Company, was quoted as saying that Mishra’s designs impressed because they were ‘at the extreme end of technical textiles’, and because Mishra showcased wool as a spring/summer collection as opposed to the more common autumn/winter wear.

The first joint winner of the Woolmark Prize – in 1954 -- was the legendary Yves Saint Laurent, who tied for the prize with Karl Lagerfeld.

Also see: Reversing the recession: Rahul Mishra


Image: Models walk the runway at the Rahul Mishra show during the International Woolmark Prize as part of Milan Fashion Week Womenswear Autumn/Winter 2014 on February 21, 2014 in Milan, Italy.
Photographs: Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

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A promising career

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Mishra, surprisingly, graduated in physics from Kanpur University. At the post-grad level, he joined the famed National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad. In 2005, he won NID's Best Student Designer Of The Year award.

The following year, Mishra showcased his creations at the Lakme Fashion Week.

The Woolmark Prize is not his first international accolade either. His Wikipedia page says in 2009, he became the first non-European to win a scholarship at the Istituto Marangoni, a fashion school at Milan, Italy.

Since then, his designs have been seen on fashion ramps in London, Dubai and Australia.

'I feel like this is a dream and this is giving me new hopes for my future career,' Mishra was quoted as saying. ‘This award will change the perception of global fashion in regards to Indian fashion and this is all because wool -- an amazing fibre, the fibre of possibilities.'

'It is indeed a proud moment for FDCI (Fashion Design Council of India) and India,' Sunil Sethi, president, FDCI, was quoted as saying. 'Winning this prize has not come easy with the stiff competition from designers from all over the world.'

Also see: Yesterday's crafts for the woman of today: Rahul Mishra


Image: Models walk the runway at the Rahul Mishra show during the International Woolmark Prize as part of Milan Fashion Week Womenswear Autumn/Winter 2014 on February 21, 2014 in Milan, Italy.
Photographs: Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

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