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The Woolmark Prize


‘The emperor 1688’ from the uae and ‘bird on a wire’ from Lebanon recently bagged the international woolmark prize 2014–15 for the menswear and womenswear categories, respectively, during india and middle east regional final.

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The recently held International Woolmark Prize 2014–15, in Mumbai saw ‘The Emperor 1688’ from UAE win the regional round for menswear; while ‘Bird on a Wire’ from Lebanon bagged the award for womenswear category. Both the winners gain a financial contribution of AU$ 50,000, and the opportunity to represent India and the Middle East and compete in the prestigious international final. The ?nals for menswear will be held in London in January 2015, and the womenswear final will be held in Beijing in March 2015.

Stepping into its third year, the International Woolmark Prize has emerged as one of the most coveted designer awards of our time. For the ?rst time, the 2014–15 competition will see two designers receive the overall award – one for menswear and one for the womenswear category. Five regional awards will be held in Asia, Australia, Europe, India and Middle East, and the USA to select the ten finalists, from a pool of more than 65 emerging labels.

The judging panel comprised distinguished guests like Imran Ahmed, Founder and Editor, The Business of Fashion; Anthony Kendal, Global Communications Director, Mytheresa.com; Peter Ackroyd, Global Strategic Advisor, The Woolmark Company; Priyanka Khanna, Senior Fashion Features Editor, Vogue India; and Rahul Mishra, 2013–14 International Woolmark Prize winner. On the parameter of excellence to receive this award, Ackroyd from the Woolmark Company says, “The judges were looking for work that was inspired by local or ethnic origins but was able to transcend borders and appeal to an international audience.”

“Winning the first Woolmark Prize menswear regional award and the opportunity to showcase our collection in London at the final is an exciting challenge and dream come true for our brand,” explained Haman Golkar, designer, ‘The Emperor 1688’, and winner of the menswear category.

He adds, “We start all our thought processes and design work with the idea of memory and familiarity. We look at very specific historical eras or characters and try to dissect speci?c references, whether it is colour, texture, print or shape that inspires a certain memory with our collections. When we travel, all of us want to implement what we have seen into our urban and contemporary lives. This is something extremely important to us – the idea of journey, travel and life inspiration.”

Rayya Morcos, designer, ‘Bird on a Wire’, says, “The prospect of going to Beijing in March for the ?nal is unbelievable. I am so honoured to be a part of this amazing project.”

Morcos draws inspiration from a particular form of belief that interested her. She says, “To develop this line I found religion to be an interesting theme. All religions have developed a line of clothing specific to them and these clothes have intricate details on them; a sort of perverse masochism indeed. In this collection, I presented a new way of looking at clothing. Instead of having pieces labelled as skirt, shirt, jacket or dress, I created new pieces that put together make an out?t. I have, therefore, annihilated these known pieces and introduced new items with new taboos and new beliefs. Parts of the body that were once covered are now exposed and vice versa. It is an overall perverse approach to clothing and looks.”

For the next six to eight months, the winning designers will develop a capsule collection in Merino wool. This collection will be showcased during an event, which will highlight the five finalists. These finalists will be selected from across the globe for both menswear and womenswear categories and they will compete for the International Woolmark Prize. The winner will be awarded an additional AU$ 100,000 and the opportunity to be stocked in the most important retailers of the world including Harvey Nichols, London; Colette, Paris; 10 Corso Como, Milan; Mytheresa.com, Germany; Saks Fifth Avenue, NYC; Joyce, China; Isetan Mitsukoshi, Japan; and David Jones, Sydney.

The other participating designers in womenswear category were Akaaro (India), House of Fatam (UAE), Khaadi Khaas (Pakistan), Lara Khoury (Lebanon), Sania Maskatiya (Pakistan), and Zubair Kirmani (India). In menswear, the participants included Barkha ‘n’ Sonzal (India) and Republic (Pakistan).