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Mumbai boy wins top fashion prize in Milan

Rahul Mishra, an alumnus of National Institute of Design, was declared the winner of the International Woolmark Prize

Indian fashion designer Rahul Mishra was adjudged the winner of the International Woolmark Prize on the sidelines of the Milan Fashion Week yesterday.

Rahul Mishra receives the International Woolmark Prize for his Autum/Winterwear collection during the Milan Fashion Week
Rahul Mishra receives the International Woolmark Prize for his Autum/Winterwear collection during the Milan Fashion Week

The Woolmark Prize, an international competition, goes back to 1954 when Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent won it. The Woolmark Company that runs the contest scouts for designers globally through various regional rounds in each continent to select five finalists from all over to compete for the coveted award.

Mishra's six-piece collection used Merino wool woven in the chanderi tradition with zardozi embroidery. Pics/Getty Images
Mishra's six-piece collection used Merino wool woven in the chanderi tradition with zardozi embroidery. Pics/Getty Images

Mishra is an alumnus of the National Institute of Design and began his career as a designer in Mumbai. In his career of seven years, he has become known for his design work with Indian crafts and weaves; he is also an active ambassador of handlooms. “This win is the victory of India’s artisans, weavers and craftsmen. I owe it to them to have shown me the path to connect the world with India’s heritage through fashion,” said Mishra.

The jury comprised some of the most revered names in the fashion industry, such as fashion commentator Collin McDowell, Tim Blanks, editor of style.com, Carla Sozzanni, owner of 10 Corso Como, Gucci’s Frida Giannini, Franca Sozzani, Angela Chung, Alexa Cheung, editors of Vogue, Italy, China and UK, respectively, amongst others.

“The judges felt India was all about fuchsia and colour, and my collection was a revelation for them as it spoke of India and its rich embroidery and hand work,” described Mishra, adding, “It’s a big beginning for me, and the biggest day of my life. It means the world to me, and putting India on global fashion map means a lot.”

“For me, Rahul has won because of his ability to apply his knowledge of embroideries through wool, one of the most versatile fibres, with originality in an unexpected way,” said Giannini. Sunil Sethi, president of Fashion Design Council of India, who was part of the India Jury, said, “This is the moment for India. Rahul is an outstanding talent who has gone where no Indian designer ever has.

We at the Council are happy to have facilitated his entry and been part of his growth as a designer.” Mishra has won a prize money of $92,210 (approximately Rs 53 lakh) and will see the collection he designed for the competition sold globally in stores including Harvey Nichols, Saks Fifth Avenue, 10 Corso Como and David Jones.

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