The International Woolmark Prize goes east

At an event in Mumbai, the winners of the International Woolmark Prize’s India, Pakistan and the Middle East regional final are announced

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Indian womenswear designer Nachiket Barve and menswear label Bounipun were chosen from some 15 designers as the winners of the India, Pakistan and Middle East regional event, going on to compete in the international prize in the new year.

Bounipun and Nachiket Barve win the 2016/17 International Woolmark Prize India, Pakistan & Middle East final

Selected by the International Woolmark Prize’s regional nominating bodies of IMG Reliance (India), Pakistan Fashion Design Council (Pakistan), Dubai Design and Fashion Council (Dubai) and Tala Starch Foundation (Lebanon), and selected by a panel of judges including designer Rachel Roy, the two winners will receive $50,000(AUD), along with industry mentorship to help them prepare for the forthcoming global event.

Blending references from Sufism, architecture, craft, and art, and born and raised in Kashmir, designers Zubair and Renni Kirmani of Bounipun represent the yin and yang of the city in which they live. Bounipun prides itself on redefining the menswear landscape by adopting Kashmir craft practices, working with skilled locals to present historic artistry to a global audience, creating a signature style that fuses contemporary minimalism with classic heritage. 

Mumbai-based womenswear winner Nachiket Barve, meanwhile, is attuned to a design philosophy that is global in his aesthetic, but local in techniques and resources. He works extensively with craft techniques learnt by artisans over generations, yet reinterprets them for a newer audience by amalgamating unusual and exciting visual references to design product that is emotional, timeless and unique. Barve aims at developing products that are timely, yet timeless; global yet local and those that can survive the onslaught of unsustainable fast fashion and be cherished over years.

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