India’s youth icon and fashion designer Rahul Mishra had a wonderful 2014. Now, his designs are displayed at the high end retail spots such as Colette in Paris, 10 Corso Como in Milan, Saks Fifth Avenue in New York and Harvey Nichols in London. His ability to connect with global audiences without compromising his Indian heritage has made him tremendously successful in the world of fashion.
International Woolmark Prize winner Rahul Mishra is a post graduate from the National Institute of Design and the first non-European designer who won the prestigious scholarship at the Istituto Marangoni, Milan. He made his debut in the world of fashion at the Lakme Fashion Week in 2006. In 2009, he won the International Designer of the Year award in the most Commercial Design category hosted by the International Apparel Federation. In 2012, he was announced as the Best Womenswear Designer by the Cotton Council International. In the same year, he also attended the Art Festival “ALCHEMY” organized by the British Council at Southbank Centre, London. In February 2014, he was announced the winner of the International Woolmark Prize in Milan.
Rahul Mishra is well known for his stunningly decorated, embroidered designs. He is continuously working with Indian craftsmen scattered over small villages in different states. He is dedicated to empowering the Indian craft community through his sustainable designs. He presented an exclusive IKAT collection in collaboration with TAJ Hotels to encourage and give exposure to IKAT weavers from Andhra Pradesh. Collections designed by Rahul Mishra are in tune with international design and style without losing their ethnic aesthetics. The designer is very selective while choosing his materials. He has used handloom and other hand woven textiles to express his creativity and has created a new type of fiber from Merino wool which is thin and lightweight; one can wear this fabric in spring and summer without feeling uncomfortable. His designs are inspired by the past heritage, but contemporary enough for today’s fashion. The designer says that his design philosophy is that he is reluctant to follow popular trends in fashion, but would rather create something that his heart desires. He also refuses to limit himself by the stereotypical way of Indian fashion and boldly experiments with style, texture, fabric, color and craft to create avant-garde line of clothing.
Rahul's versatility and willingness to experiment reflects in all his collections. The International Woolmark Prize and cash reward of $100,000 launched Rahul Mishra on international fashion scene. According to him, designs that are too futuristic or too traditional do not work with the consumers. He endeavors to create a bridge between the past and future through his contemporary designs. He is a promoter of sustainable fashion using eco friendly fibers and delicate embroidery and believes that sustainable fashion with a spiritual bent is his fashion statement.
Even though Rahul Mishra believes in slow methods and unhurried approach to fashion, he creates a fast product line by employing a large number of employees. His employees are work-at-home craftsmen from different parts of India, who remain connected with the designer using the latest technology such as Whatsapp and FaceTime. Approximately 450 to 500 craftsmen from different Indian villages working for him, weaving fabrics and embroidering intricate designs.
During Paris fashion week held in October 2014, fine designers across the globe emerged to leave their mark on the interconnected world of fashion. Rahul Mishra was one of them whose designs were presented on the final day of the four week marathon. His fabulously streamlined collection, called the Ferryman’s Tale, impressed international fashion industry experts and fashion enthusiasts alike. It tells the story of love in the most elegant manner using refreshing color palette and breathtaking embroidery work. The Ferryman’s Tale collection by Rahul Mishra depicts the personal journey and evolvement of Rahul Mishra as a fashion designer. Inspired by a boatman’s journey, the spring summer collection features clothing line designed using Merino wool fabric. The collection inspired by Japanese traditional art and old Chintz technique is ornately decorated with geometric and floral patterns. The color palette used in the entire collection is gold, ivory, black and yellow.
2014 has been immensely productive for Rahul Mishra. He was invited by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University to participate in the prestigious exhibition titled Transformation: Material Magic Memory. He was one of the nine international artists invited by the University. He was also featured as one of the top 20 young Indians who would shape India’s future for Vision India 2020. He was featured in the Business of Fashion 500 list for the year 2014. He also won the Excellence Award from Condé Nast Traveller, an award that is bestowed on individuals who put the spotlight on India through their commendable work.
Rahul Mishra is not only a talented fashion designer, but he is also a catalyst for social change. He is constantly striving to uplift Indian craftsmen who reside in small villages. He is also a warm and friendly person who accepts criticism and praise with open mind. He happily shares the techniques he used to create his new wool fiber - he wants to create beautiful designs and at the same time generate new jobs. For him luxury is a combination of creativity and sustainability.
Pictures: Merino, Lakme Fashion Week