The International Woolmark Prize finalists for the Middle East, India, and Pakistan region have been announced. Womenswear finalists include Dubai-based contemporary abaya brand Bouguessa, by Faiza Bouguessa; Starch alumna Bashar Assaf; Starch alumnae Mira Hayek (both Assaf and Hayek were 2015 regional finalists); Saudi label Reem Al Kanhal; and Emirati design label Bint Thani by Khulood Thani. The Middle East ready-to-wear brands will also compete against Eka, Nachiket Barve, and Sahil Kochhar from India; and Saira Shakira, Zonia, and Republic Womenswear from Pakistan.
In the menswear category, Dubai-based Woolmark finalist (2014/2015) Emperor 1688 returns alongside Saudi label Mashael AlRajhi for the Middle East. The two brands will also compete with Bounipun from India and House of Arsalan Iqbal from Pakistan.
The two winning finalists from the womenswear and menswear categories will then compete for the international prize, which will see 12 finalists from all over the world receive AU $50,000 as a contribution towards their international finals collections. The last leg of the competition will award the winning womenswear and menswear designers AU $100,000 to produce and market the collections.