A glance at his designs – beautifully textured, hand embroidered pieces incorporating a traditional heritage esthetic, and it’s no small wonder why Indian designer Rahul Mishra was awarded the International Woolmark Prize held last Friday at the Triennale Museum in Milan. The awards were judged by a panel of top industry professionals, including Franca Sozzani from Italian Vogue and renowned fashion journalist Tim Blanks.
The finalists were assigned to design 6 merino wool garments, with over 48 designers participating in the event. Representing India and the Middle East, Mishra has witnessed first hand government led exploitation within a mass produced garment industry – a culture of fast fashion and cheap labour.
Mishra’s work is a complete contrast against this. With stunningly complex designs, he takes inspiration from traditional Indian artisanship and heritage.
“Empowering and employing Indian craft community through his sustainable design interventions. “
Mishra’s sustainable approach to design has certainly not gone unnoticed, and in 2009, he was awarded MTV Youth Icon as well as International Designer of the Year at the International Apparel Federation. Three years later he was awarded Best Womenswear Designer by the Cotton Council International, and has gone on to exhibit his work at the prestigous design exhibition at the V&A.
It’s refreshing to see design like this in an industry so trend led and fast moving. Mishra reinforces the importance of traditional techniques and artisanal skills and reminds us that this is what real luxury looks like. Real quality takes time, but the pace of fashion in contemporary culture doesn’t always allow it to flourish.