When you look through the history books and see the likes of Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent associated with the Woolmark Prize, it is little wonder why Indian fashion designer Rahul Mishra feels honoured to be competing in the modern incarnation of the award.
"When you look at the kind of designers who have won it in the past it's any designer's dream," muses Mishra just weeks before the global International Woolmark Prize final to be staged during Milan Fashion Week.
"I am very lucky to have started my career at the time when (the) Woolmark (prize) was launched. And just getting a chance altogether to showcase my work to the best people in the business itself has been an incredible experience."
Representing India and the Middle East, Mishra edged out nine other fashion designers and labels at July’s regional event. He was praised by judges for his stunning wool outfit which presented the portrayal of the journey of the human race and the process that our planet has undergone in the past century. The winning garment displayed progressive graphic hand-embroidery with Merino wool yarn on a Merino wool jacket dress, and the graphic design originates from an eight petal lotus to morph into complex structures.
Perhaps the lotus-like design stems from Mishra's passion for sustainability, and so it seems apt that the designer feels so at home when working with wool - a natural, renewable and biodegradable fibre. He is not merely trying to bring his design sketches to life, but rather bring to life his entire design philosophy.
"I have always believed from the beginning of my career about sustainability; that is why sustainable luxury is the world for me. My idea is to create new jobs which help (people) in their own villages - I take work to them rather than calling them to work for me. If villages are stronger you will have a stronger country, a stronger nation, a stronger world. So my entire idea, my entire philosophy, revolves around that.
"The product will go through evolution - it will change, it will improve - but a philosophy is what is constant."
Australian finalist prepares for 2013/14 International Woolmark Prize
Asia finalist prepares for 2013/14 International Woolmark Prize
Europe finalist prepares for 2013/14 International Woolmark Prize