Rahul Mishra wins International Woolmark Prize in Milan

Milan: Rahul Mishra has emerged as the first Indian fashion designer to win the International Woolmark Prize (IWP), past recipients of which include icons like Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld.

Mishra, a young and creative designer, was announced the winner of the 2013-14 IWP during the final awards event held at the Triennale Museum here Friday.

Mishra`s Merino wool collection was based on craftsmanship and his knowledge of techniques and embroidery. He is over the moon and emotional about his victory.

"I feel like this is a dream and this is giving me new hopes for my future career. This award will change the perception of global fashion in regards to Indian fashion and this is all because of wool - an amazing fibre, the fibre of possibilities," he said in a statement.

A judging panel including Frida Giannini, Franca Sozzani, Tim Blanks, Colette Garnsey, Angelica Cheung, Alexa Chung and representatives from the global IWP retail partners, selected Mishra, who was representing India and the Middle East at the platform.

"For me, Rahul has won because of his ability to apply his knowledge of embroideries through wool, one of the most versatile fibres with originality in an unexpected way,"said Giannini, who is creative director of luxury label Gucci.

Mishra was among the five talents that competed for the prize. The top five were chose from 20 countries and out of over 48 designers.

The Indian competed against contestants - ffiXXed (Asia), Christopher Esber (Australia), Sibling (Europe) and Altuzarra (US).

Supermodel and TV presenter Alexa Chung said she was impressed by Mishra`s work.

"His interpretation was so delicate and beautiful. I was really moved by Rahul`s story. I believe he is well deserving of this award," she said.

Alongside the prestigious recognition, Mishra has received a financial contribution of AU$100,000 (over Rs.5.4 million) and the opportunity to be stocked in important retailers around the globe including Harvey Nichols, Saks Fifth Avenue, 10 Corso Como, Joyce, David Jones, Colette and mytheresa.com.

The collection will be available in partner retailers globally from August 2014.