Following a runway show at the Triennale Museum in Milan, womenswear designer Rahul Mishra was announced the winner of the 2013/2014 International Woolmark Prize (IWP), where he competed against four fellow designers, including Joseph Altuzarra, who was representing the USA.
“It feels amazing. It is so surreal, Mishra told Style.com/Arabia. “I am very proud that I could show a new side of Indian fashion and represent India’s craft at the highest level.”
The New Delhi-based Mishra was selected as the India and Middle East contest winner earlier last year and awarded US $50,000 (AED/SAR 183,650). He has now been named the official winner of the International Woolmark Prize and was awarded with a further financial contribution of US $92,000 (AED/SAR 338,000) and the opportunity to be stocked at reputed international retailers, including Harvey Nichols, Saks Fifth Avenue, 10 Corso Como, Joyce, David Jones, Colette, and Mytheresa.com.
“I must say that even the prize money which was won by us in the regional round has been put to wonderful use, by using it to increase the employment opportunity for the craft people and the rural weavers of India,” the designer explained, stressing that his brand (founded in 2008) aims to empower and employ Indian craftsmen. “This ultimate prize money will be used for the same purpose, helping our business and creating even more magic with merino wool.”
His collection was presented to and approved by an international jury which included industry leaders such as Vogue Italia’s Editor-in-Chief, Franca Sozzani; Gucci’s Creative Director, Frida Giannini; and Style.com’s Editor-at-Large, Tim Blanks. “The main focus behind our collection was the idea of sustainable luxury through participation,” Mishra concluded. “The very idea revolves around the famous quote by Mahatma Gandhi, ‘Recall the face of the poorest and weakest man you have seen, and ask yourself if this step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him.’”
The runway looks will be available at the aforementioned retailers from August 2014.