Before Rahul Mishra’s International Woolmark Prize-winning collection becomes available at some of the world’s leading stores, before it ends up in showrooms and on catwalks, and before each garment becomes an essential item in your wardrobe, love, passion and emotion are poured into each and every garment from Rahul Mishra and his team in the village of Chanderi.
“My team of weavers were really encouraged, and they also encouraged me, to take this bolder step of trying to make wool in a completely new kind of way,” explains Mishra of his design process. “With this type of team possibilities are limitless.
“I wanted to achieve a spring/summer look with wool. Wool, being such a great fibre, is not used by almost 50 per cent of the population of the world."
"I wanted to create a fabric that could be worn in the summers of India."
Mishra’s International Woolmark Prize collection is made from lightweight Merino wool and features delicate hand embroidery on beautifully tailored and sculpturally designed pieces including a cape-style jacket and fitted tube-style dress.
Inspired by Dutch graphic artist M. C. Escher, the graphically designed embroidery tells a story of the evolution from an eight-petal lotus, exploring the metamorphosis of the shape; which morphs into complex structures, representing the city landscape. The designs reflect the lifecycle of wool; the journey it takes from the organic land and its natural state, through to the concrete cities where it’s redesigned and reinvented.
“I think best fashion or best craft is created at a juncture where the newest technology and the oldest methodology meet and come together.
“The kind of Merino wool we have used in the Woolmark collection is the finest possible Merino wool yarn woven, and we could use it on a hand loom - which is again a very traditional technology, a very traditional idea of weaving - and we could achieve many results.”
One of the main goals of the International Woolmark Prize is to foster the talent of emerging designers and launch their careers onto an international stage. Just like Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld found Woolmark Prize glory back in 1954, Rahul Mishra is destined for greatness.
Despite Mishra creating a lightweight Merino wool fabric suitable for the hottest of summers, it hasn’t deterred northern hemisphere shoppers as they enter into autumn/winter.
Mishra’s collection has already launched in Harvey Nichols’ London store and online; Colette, Paris and online; and on mytheresa.com. Items started to sell-out quickly and currently there are only a few items left in select sizes. A stunning industry event was also held in Sydney's David Jones store mid-October to celebrate Mishra's launch in Australia.
“The Woolmark garments are very technical garments; we have to work really hard to putting them into actual production, with varying size sets, and delivering them on time - that was perhaps the biggest challenge and my team has done really well.
“I would say this collection we did for Woolmark is just the beginning of the possibilities with wool. My next collection will see a new age in terms of possibilities from a point of view. If you can share dreams and create a common dream with the craft people within your own team, success is always inevitable.”
Visiting Australia for the first time, Rahul Mishra travelled back to the source of Merino wool, visiting Walwa Stud in NSW.
Owned by Alan and Claire McCormak, Walwa Stud offered Mishra a first-hand insight into the Australian woolgrowing industry. It was also the first time Mishra had seen Merino sheep in real life and was able to touch the fleece right on the sheep’s back. Prior to this, Mishra remarked that a lot of his sheep knowledge came from watching animation Shaun the Sheep.
"The farm visit was inspiring and humbling, seeing the environment where the fibre starts from and the people and animals that grow it has convinced me even more why wool is the perfect sustainable fibre for the future not just for winter but warmer months as well," said Mishra.
Female woolgrowers from the Goulburn region were invited to Walwa Stud to meet Mishra and gain an exclusive insight into his International Woolmark Prize collection as well as the philosophy behind his design. They also had the opportunity to get up close and personal with individual garments and were amazed at the intricate detailing of Mishra’s work.
International Woolmark Prize-winning collection available in store
Documentary captures five labels, infinite artistic possibilities and one dream