When India won the world cup in 1983 people were on streets and cricket is now a religion. When Sushmita Sen became the first Indian woman to become Miss Universe we felt pride and joy. And when Rahul Mishra became the first Indian designer to win the international Woolmark prize recently, it made me proud not only as a designer but also an Indian. Especially when one sees the list of designers who have been declared winners in the past — starting from Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent (won collectively) for the first time and then Giorgio Armani (1989), Dolce and Gabbana (1991), Donna Karan (1992) and Ralph Lauren (1992) in various categories.
“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 Frida Giannini (creative director of Gucci).
According to Stuart McCullough, CEO of the Woolmark Company, that Rahul presented his spring summer collection in wool, the fabric of winter, made a huge difference and showed his innovative and creative mind. His line had the lotus effect and he had divided hexagon motifs in series of tiny triangles and cubes crafted with zardosi patterned wool. He also avoided bold colours that Indian fashion is famous for and instead stuck to monochrome palette and it paid off well for him in the end.
Not only he has got a reward of 1,00,000 Australian dollars but will also get the opportunity to be stocked in the most prestigious retailers around the globe, including Harvey Nicholas, Saks Fifth Avenue, 10 Corso Como, Joyce, David Jones, Colette and mytheresa.com. For a designer, retailing in these stores is like a dream come true.
This victory is not only Rahul’s but also belongs to Fashion Design Council of India and, especially, Sunil Sethi, its president, who has given lot of young designers the opportunity to showcase their innovations on a global platform through initiatives such as these.
This achievement will motivate a lot of us (young designers) as well as lot of fashion students as we all want to change the way India is perceived in global fashion. This has proven a lot of my statements mentioned in my earlier columns about the significance of our handloom and the need to resuscitate it. Textile and fashion designers should get together and create more such innovative designs to prove what our textiles can do.
Lastly, it is also a proven fact that we are no longer just a manufacturing hub. In fact, there is a plethora of ingenious talent in our country and the time is not very far when global fashion will acknowledge it.