Contemporary connect

Contemporary connect

International prize

Designers Nachiket Barve, Sahil Kochhar, Rina Singh of label Eka and Zubair Kirmani of Bounipun frame will represent India in the regional round of the coveted International Woolmark Prize for India, Pakistan & Middle East region. They are pitted not only against each other, but also against four Pakistani designers, two Lebanese and five Middle East designers. But the stiff competition isn’t overwhelming for these four designers who follow sustainable practices and focus on indigenous craftsmanship.

“It’s a great platform, and I am motivated to explore the best potential of the brand and maximise this opportunity. The last two years have brought great deal of attention towards India and the benchmark of performance and design submission has gone up for good measures,” says Singh.

“The world looks at us today not as a supplying destination but for being a design and creative cultural hub, which is our rightful place,” she adds.

This year, 80 designers have been selected from 62 countries who will be showcasing the qualities of Australian Merino wool. The nominees will present one look in merino wool and a six-piece capsule concept for the chance to represent their region at the final awards.

Twelve finalists will each receive an AU$50,000 financial contribution towards their next collection and an invitation to participate in the international global finals.

“I have been working extensively with merino wool and innovating with it over the last few years. I am excited to look at familiar craft techniques, as well as, innovate techniques to create this collection,” Barve tells Metrolife.

The previous recipients of this prize are Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent and back home, designer Rahul Misra became the first Indian to win the prize in 2014. There definitely is some amount of pressure on them to qualify, but they are not allowing anything to come their way. “I feel ecstatic. The fact that you are being shortlisted from a huge number of entries is a great confidence booster,” says Kochhar.

These designers will be adding local influences in their collection. “I will be focusing on building a collection that is representative of my brand. I am definitely going to work through the local influences and impressions, but how and in what capacity remains to be explored,” says Singh.

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