Florence: Delhi-based fashion designer Suket Dhir was named the winner of the 2015-2016 Menswear International Woolmark Prize here. The designer was presented with the award at menswear trade fair Pitti Uomo on Wednesday evening.
"This is certainly very overwhelming, and everything that I needed right now. I've done what I could in India, and this is the best thing that could happen to me, for me to move in a bigger way.
"I think I'm ready for the world, and I also think the world is ready for me and for this kind of aesthetic. The look is easy and happy, and the world needs that right now," Dhir said in a statement.
The award was judged by a panel that included designer Haider Ackermann, The Business of Fashion founder and editor-in-chief Imran Amed, Vogue international editor Suzy Menkes, and the Woolmark Company managing director Stuart McCullough.
"In fashion, I'm always looking for emotion, for the heartbeat, for the feeling that something excites me - it may come from an ancient skill but it seems fresh to me," Menkes said for Dhir's collection.
Using the traditional technique of hand-tied and dyed yarn (Ikat), the collection aims to trace the mellowed and faded experiences of the past memories through the ombre pattern. Seamless molding and heat setting of the fabric reinforces the garments, while the age-old technique of Kasui, a traditional hand embroidery, creates geometric, grid-like patterns in an update on the classic quilting stitch.
"What Suket Dhir designs is romantic, and that's very appealing in fashion, and certainly was to the judging panel. All of the designers will no doubt go on to great commercial success in all parts of the world, but we can only name one winner, and today romance won," said McCullough.
This is the second year that the International Woolmark Prize has included a menswear category, last year won by New York-based label Public School. More than 70 designers were considered for the prize over the past year, with the finalists representing six different regions around the world. These included Munsoo Kwon (Asia), P. Johnson (Australia), AGI & SAM (British Isles), Jonathan Christopher (Europe), Dhir (India, Pakistan and the Middle East) and Siki Im (US).
Dhir will receive Australian Dollars 100,000 to help support the development of their business and ongoing industry mentor support, as well as the presentation and sale of their capsule collection, created for the International Woolmark Prize, in some of the world's most prestigious department stores and boutiques.