Delhi designer wins Woolmark Prize

Suket Dhir
Suket Dhir

NEW DELHI: City-based fashion designer Suket Dhir has scooped up the International Woolmark Prize for menswear, becoming the second from India in four years to win the Rs 48.5 lakh (A 100,000) worth prestigious prize.

The announcement was made overnight in Florence, a statement from the organizers said.

Dhir beat five other international designers, with a menswear collection that fused classic western tailoring with traditional techniques, including Ikat (hand-tying and dyeing yarn) and Kasui (traditional hand embroidery).

His designs will now be stocked in leading retailers around the world, including Saks Fifth Avenue (New York), David Jones (Australia), 10 Corso Como (Milan), Isetan Mitsukoshi (Japan), and Boon The Shop (South Korea).

Rahul Mishra took the prize in the womenswear category two years ago.

Following the announcement, the designer said, “This is certainly very overwhelming, and everything that I needed right now. I’ve done what I could in India, and this is the best thing that could happen to me for me to move in a bigger way.

“I think I’m ready for the world, and I also think the world is ready for me and for this kind of aesthetic. The look is easy and happy, and the world needs that right now.”

“My collection explores the trans-seasonal aspects of wool and the alchemic transformation of the fibrous wool into smooth, silk-like yarn, which renders the fabric light, airy, fluid and yet full and supple,” Dhir said.

Australia’s High Commissioner to India, Patrick Suckling, congratulated Dhir on the honor.

“I’m delighted that Suket Dhir has won one of the world’s premier fashion awards, sponsored by Australian wool growers,” he said in a statement.

“Suket’s designs are stunning and a beautiful showcase of wool. I look forward to seeing his garments in leading fashion retailers around the world, including David Jones in Australia,” he said.

For the judging panel, Dhir was a unanimous decision.

“In fashion, I’m always looking for emotion, for the heartbeat, for the feeling that something excites me it may come from an ancient skill but it seems fresh to me,” said Suzy Menkes of Dhir’s collection.

Designer Haider Ackermann agreed. “For me, it wasn’t a hard decision,” he said. “Suket is a person with a dream to tell, and I thought that it was very beautiful, because fashion at this time is about a dream, and the rest the business will follow. And technically, he showed us details I’ve never seen before, and that’s very impressive.”

More than 70 designers were considered for the prize over the past year, with the finalists representing six global regions – Munsoo Kwon (Asia), P Johnson (Australia), AGI & SAM (British Isles), Jonathan Christopher (Europe), Suket Dhir (India, Pakistan and the Middle East) and Siki Im (US).

The Woolmark Company is the subsidiary of a not-for-profit enterprise owned by more than 24,000 Australian wool growers. -PTI

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