India’s Woolmark Presence

5(From L- R) Simon Locks, H.E.Patrick Suckling, Rahul Mishra, Dev and Nil, Amit Aggarwal, Alpana and Neeraj, Sunil Sethi and Amir Sheikh at the event

IT was during the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week Autumn-Winter 2013 held in Delhi last month that the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) president Sunil Sethi along with a Woolmark representative kept a stern eye on the designers on the ramp and stall area. After all, he was looking for designers who had a stable affair with wool in all its elements for the second edition of the prestigious International Woolmark Prize (IWP). At the Australian High Commission on Wednesday afternoon, the names of the six short-listed designers were announced. They will fight it out to represent India at the finale to be held next year in Milan. Designers Aneeth Arora (Pero), Alpana and Neeraj, Amit Aggarwal, Dev and Nil (Dev r Nik), Shani Himanshu and Smita Singh Rathore (CellDSGN) and Rahul Mishra will participate in the India regional award and will present their sketches of the Merino wool collection on June 20. "Last year the Indian designers (Pankaj-Nidhi) did their country proud at the IWP finale in London and were so close to winning it. This year too, they will do a great job," said Simon P Lock, founder, Australian Fashion Week. Five regions have been identified for this award — Asia, Australia, Europe, India (and Middle East) and the US. Apart from the Indian contestants, names of four designers from Pakistan, Dubai and Lebanon were revealed. The regional winners will receive $50,000 to create the finale collection and the winner of the international finale will get Australian $100,000. A short documentary titled Reaching the Mark — captured the journey of the finalists from winning regional rounds to creating the collection, their inspirations and meeting designers Victoria Beckham, Diane von Furstenberg and Donatella Versace — was screened at the press conference.

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