Bounipun and Nachiket Barve win the 2016/17 International Woolmark Prize India, Pakistan & Middle East final

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Bounipun and Nachiket Barve were announced as the menswear and womenswear winners, respectively, of the 2016/17 International Woolmark Prize India, Pakistan & Middle East regional final.

Bounipun and Nachiket Barve win the 2016/17 International Woolmark Prize India, Pakistan & Middle East final

Che Kurrien - Editor, GQ India; Alison Tay - Editor-in-Chief of Grazia Middle East, Grazia Arabia and Grazia Luxury; Mehernaaz Dhondy - Editor, Grazia India; Rachel Roy - Fashion Designer; Manish Malhotra - Fashion Designer; Troy Costa - Fashion Designer and Priya Tanna - Editor, Vogue India selected the winners at an awards event held in Mumbai, India.

Bounipun and Nachiket Barve win the 2016/17 International Woolmark Prize India, Pakistan & Middle East final

“The International Woolmark Prize is a legacy of exceptional design, fuelled by innovation and originality,” explained Che Kurrien. “I’m absolutely delighted to be a part of a platform that bolsters upcoming talent and gives them unprecedented global exposure. The new-age designers craft their own stories through their clothes, weaving in the most celebrated of all fibres - wool. And it’s an incredible feeling to be able to give their dreams wings through this journey.”

Fellow judge and Vogue India Editor Priya Tanna believes invention lies at the heart of the award. “It’s brilliant to see new and upcoming designers create masterpieces from wool, the most venerated of all fabrics,” she said. “It is a journey that not only celebrates the beauty of wool, but also inspires new-age designers to evolve and transform. I am thrilled to be a part of the experience.”

Bounipun redefines menswear landscape by adopting Kashmir craft practices, working with skilled locals to present historic artistry to a global audience, creating a signature style that fuses contemporary minimalism with classic heritage. Born and raised in Kashmir, designers Zubair and Renni Kirmani presented a three piece look including 3D laser cutting and looping techniques.

“I can’t even begin to express how wonderfully and excitingly remarkable this entire experience has been,” Renni Kirmani of Bounipun said after their win. “I was so honoured just being a part of an event this prestigious; winning has been unbelievably overwhelming. The International Woolmark Prize will catapult me onto the international stage, and I am thrilled and extremely grateful for this opportunity.”

Mumbai-based Nachiket Barve is attuned to a design philosophy that is global in his aesthetic, but local in techniques and resources by working extensively with craft techniques learnt by artisans over generations. Aiming to design a product that is emotional, timeless and unique, in his winning look, Barve used a mixture of felted applique, hand embroidery and digital print.

“The International Woolmark Prize is one of the industry’s most prestigious fashion awards, having discovered talents such as Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent,” said Barve. “I am both humbled and honoured to be joining a list of designers featuring such incredible talent. I have always had this love affair with wool, and winning this award has validated that romance. This award allows me to showcase my work at some of the world’s most significant boutiques – nothing could be bigger than this.”

“The Prize has been institutionalised since the 1950s and continues to be celebrated internationally,” stated Manish Malhotra. "It is a progressive platform for designers to explore creativity and push their designs forward. This is indeed an incredible opportunity for them to innovate and experiment with the versatility of one of the most luxurious fibres – wool.”

Chosen from amongst the most promising fashion design talents from India, Pakistan and the Middle East, both winners gain a financial contribution of AU$50,000, plus the opportunity to represent their region and compete in the prestigious international final. In addition, each winner will receive mentoring support from a global panel of experts along with being granted a Woolmark licence.

For the next six months, the winning designers will be required to develop a capsule collection in Merino wool, to be showcased at one of two extraordinary events that will highlight the six menswear finalists and six womenswear finalists selected from across the globe. The final for menswear will be held on schedule during London Collections Men and the womenswear final will be held in Paris, both in January 2017.

The winners of the menswear and womenswear global finals will receive a further AU$100,000 to assist with fabric sourcing and marketing of their collection, as well as mentoring from industry experts. In addition, both international winners will have the opportunity to have their collection distributed through the prize’s prestigious international retail partner network including Harvey Nichols in the UK, David Jones in Australia, Boutique 1 in the UAE, Verso in Belgium, LECLAIREUR in Paris, Boon the Shop in South Korea, The Papilion in Indonesia and online through mytheresa.com (womenswear) and MATCHESFASHION.COM (menswear).

The Woolmark Company is pleased to have the support of makeup by MAC for the 2016/17 India, Pakistan & Middle East International Woolmark Prize.

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