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Indian designer wins International Woolmark Prize

By With inputs from PTI
Last updated on: January 15, 2016 17:43 IST
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Fashion designer Suket Dhir has bagged the International Woolmark Prize for menswear, becoming the second from India in four years to win the Rs 48.5 lakh worth prestigious prize.

Suket Dhir

Suket Dhir receives 'The International Woolmark Prize' for his menswear collection on January 13, 2016 in Florence, Italy Photograph: Stefania D'Alessandro/Getty Images

It's a proud moment for India!

Delhi-based designer Suket Dhir has won the International Woolmark Prize for menswear this year.

What makes his win special is that he is second from India in four years to win the Rs 48.5 lakh (Australian $ 100,000) worth prestigious prize.

Two years ago, designer Rahul Mishra scooped up the prize in the womenswear category.

A model in Suket Dhir's creation

A model showcases a Suket Dhir creation as part of 'The International Woolmark Prize' Men's Fashion Show on January 13, 2016 in Florence, Italy. Photograph: Stefania D'Alessandro/Getty Images

Suket Dhir beat five other international designers with a menswear collection (featured above) that fused classic western tailoring with traditional techniques, including Ikat (hand-tying and dyeing yarn) and Kasui (traditional hand embroidery), according to the report.

More than 70 designers were considered for the prize over the past year with the finalists representing six global regions -- Munsoo Kwon (Asia), P Johnson (Australia), AGI & SAM (British Isles), Jonathan Christopher (Europe) and Siki Im (US).

A model in Suket Dhir's creation

Dhir uses traditional Indian designs to lend an international appeal to his creations. Photograph: Stefania D'Alessandro/Getty Images

Following the award, the designer said, "This is certainly very overwhelming, and everything that I needed right now. I've done what I could in India, and this is the best thing that could happen to me for me to move in a bigger way.

"I think I'm ready for the world, and I also think the world is ready for me and for this kind of aesthetic. The look is easy and happy, and the world needs that right now."

"My collection explores the trans-seasonal aspects of wool and the alchemic transformation of the fibrous wool into smooth, silk-like yarn, which renders the fabric light, airy, fluid and yet full and supple," Dhir added.

A model in Suket Dhir's collection

For the Woolmark International show, he also played with bright colours like blue and yellow. Photograph: Stefania D'Alessandro/Getty Images

For the judging panel, Dhir was a unanimous decision.

"In fashion, I'm always looking for emotion, or the heartbeat, for the feeling that something excites me – it may come from an ancient skill but it seems fresh to me," said Suzy Menkes, International Editor, Vogue, of Dhir's collection.

Suket Dhir creation

In Florence, Italy Dhir impressed the panel with his tailored jackets and hipster inspired creations. Photograph: Stefania D'Alessandro/Getty Images

Designer Haider Ackermann agreed. "For me, it wasn't a hard decision," he said. "Suket is a person with a dream to tell, and I thought that it was very beautiful, because fashion at this time is about a dream, and the rest – the business – will follow. And technically, he showed us details I've never seen before, and that's very impressive."

A model in Suket Dhir's creation

In Florence, Italy Dhir impressed the panel with his tailored jackets and hipster inspired creations. Photograph: Stefania D'Alessandro/Getty Images

Creative inspiration

Dhir is passionate about the fabric he uses and is very clear about what he wants from his creations.

He likes to play with cotton, linen, mulmul and silk.

In fact, during the launch of his linen lineup for Raymond India in Goa in March 2015, the designer had shared his love for vintage fashion.

He'd said: "I'm strongly inspired by the fashion of the 50s, 60s and 70s. I like everything about vintage fashion -- the prints, the experimentation, accessories, the cuts and bold, brave colours."

A model in Suket Dhir's creation for Raymond India

A model walks in a linen creation from Suket Dhir for Raymond India in Goa in March 2015. Photograph: Kind courtesy Raymond India

When it comes to fashion, he believes that "less is more" -- a trait that translates into his creations.

"For a designer, the process of elimination is very important -- you need to know what to keep and what to let go. Combined with the right accessories, there is immense potential in apparel designing," he added.

A model wears a creation by Suket Dhir for Raymond India

For Raymond India's linen launch, Suket Dhir had designed an exclusive line for women as well. Photograph: Kind courtesy Raymond India

Following his win, his designs will now be stocked in some of the world's most prestigious stores including Saks Fifth Avenue (New York), David Jones (Australia), 10 Corso Como (Milan), Isetan Mitsukoshi (Japan), and Boon The Shop (South Korea).

Back home in India, Dhir has styled Indian celebrities like Hrithik Roshan, Varun Dhawan, Farhan Akhtar, Ranveer Singh and Nawazuddin.

Models line up in Suket Dhir creations

Models line up in Suket Dhir's linen creations for Raymond India at Goa in March 2015. Photograph: Kind courtesy Raymond India

The secret recipe

Ask him what is his secret to success? He says, "I don't believe in hard work. I believe in smart work. If you are smart, you can optimise your work hours and use it to create winning creations."

In his parting advice to young designers, he said, "Before you set to do anything, research well and be self critical."

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With inputs from PTI
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