(L-R) Gautam Vazirani, Saachi Khattar, Abhinav Tyagi, Dhruv Kapoor, Nachiket Barve, Arti Gudal, Shravan Reddy, Rahul Mishra, Ravi Manil Prakash, Nikita Chhajer
Mumbai, December 22, 2017: After the success of last year’s Wool Runway, a design challenge for university students, The Woolmark Company has successfully completed the second edition on another high note. Envisioned as a celebration of tertiary fashion designers, the competition also educated young designers on working with Merino wool.
India’s leading fashion universities, NIFT (Mumbai, Delhi, Gandhinagar, Shillong, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Patna and Kolkata), NID (Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar) and Pearl Academy (Mumbai, Delhi- Noida, Naraina and Jaipur) took part in this program, educating more than 700 students on the benefits and versatility of Merino wool. Eighty-four students then participated in the competition.
A panel of industry influencers judged the finals designs, with judges including: Womenswear Designers Rahul Mishra and Nachiket Barve; Menswear Designer, Dhruv Kapoor; Editor of Grazia India, Mehernaaz Dhondy; Head Marketing- Ermenegildo Zegna, Diesel & Bally, Surabhi Negi; and The Woolmark Company Country Manager India, Arti Gudal. All the designs were evaluated against a strict criteria that included the use of at least 80 per cent wool per outfit, garment construction, overall presentation and more. The participants also received feedback and mentorship from the judges which will help nurture their career.
Displaying an eclectic mix of the finalists’ designs as live installations, participants presented outfits that were an exploration of the versatile nature of Merino wool with their signature aesthetics. After a challenging round of judging and evaluation, Ravi Manil Prakash was declared the Wool Runway winner, Abhinav Tyagi was the 1st Runner Up and Nikita Chhajer and Saachi Khattar were jointly announced as the 2nd Runner Up and were each awarded prize money amounting to INR 1,00,000, INR 75,000 and INR 50,000 respectively. The awards were presented by The Woolmark Company’s ambassador Shravan Reddy and jury members.
The students’ journey started in August 2017 where final-year design students of leading fashion institutes were given Wool Appreciation Courses. After submitting their designs online, 14 top finalists were selected by mentor Gautam Vazirani, Fashion Curator, IMG Reliance and their respective counsellors from each institute. The finalists then designed and constructed one wool garment for the finale.
“The designs were a breath of fresh air and it was amazing to see the efforts the students have put in to showcase Merino Wool at its finest.” explained The Woolmark Company Country Manager India, Arti Gudal. “We have always believed in educating consumers on the benefits of Merino, and Wool Runway does that at a student level. It has been our constant effort to promote budding talent and give them the chance to explore possibilities in the industry while working with Merino wool. We’re excited to see how the Wool Runway experience will enrich and develop the students’ careers.”
Award-winning Designer Rahul Mishra says, “I have always been honored to associate with The Woolmark Company as they have been an essential part of my journey as a designer. Wool Runway has given me a chance to share my learning and experience in working with the intricacies of Merino wool. The fibre itself is absolutely versatile and the different dimensions that the students have added to it with their techniques is great to see. It is a great initiative and I have thoroughly enjoyed judging the wonderful talent and understanding their inspiration and the thought process behind their designs.”
Talented Designer Nachiket Barve adds “Wool Runway is an enriching design and learning platform for aspiring students as they challenge their ability and gain recognition for their work. It has been fascinating to see how the students have managed to hero a natural fibre like Merino wool in their garments and have maximized its potential to present garments that have a balance of design aesthetic, quality and comfort. They are definitely on their way to becoming Gen Next talent!”
“It is a remarkable competition for students who want to further their understanding in the field of fashion and design through the study of Merino wool” adds Designer Dhruv Kapoor. “I have seen numerous innovative designs while judging and have noticed that the competition has exposed students to the range of roles and career paths available within the wool industry.”