From Malhausi to Milan, fashion designer Rahul Mishra has come a long way

Woolmark award, Rahul mishra

Rahul Mishra receiving the prestigious International Woolmark Award

Fashion designer Rahul Mishra’s childhood saw humble beginnings in a small village called Malhausi in Uttar Pradesh. Son of a doctor, he never imagined that one day he will be graduating from NID and starting an international career in fashion amongst the who’s who in this business. Recently, India Culture Lab, organised a meet with this simpleton on the occasion of Lakme Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2014 kick off at Bungalow 8 in Colaba and you bet, I was completely blown away by his candid confessions where he shared that he was intimidated as well as low in confidence while competing in the international arena. He said, “I used to quietly sit in one corner with my wife Divya, while having media interactions or in the hotel lobby. Nobody used to come to us for interviews, not even the Indian journalists. People out there didn’t know us. And I wasn’t sure till the last day if we would create any difference.”  Rahul Mishra further added, “My wife has been my biggest support as well as my critic. She was my junior in college and has seen me evolve since the beginning. She was always encouraging. On the day of the show, I was little positive as I heard first row Italian woman praise my designs. You know the way they say Bellissimo! And that’s when I became hopeful. When the jury asked me where did I see myself after few years, I said, I wanted to employ a million artisans from across India and that nailed the prize for me. I guess!”

Rahul Mishra, Divya Bhatt Mishra

Rahul Mishra with wife Divya

Over the years, he has showcased his work at fashion weeks in London, Dubai and Australia, beside Indian Fashion Week. He has also become known for incorporating traditional Indian textiles, and handmade artisanship to his work which was evident in his current collection too. I just fell in love with the power jacket and the peacock sitting on a tree motif on his dress. So I was curious to know that why does he use Indian motifs on western outfits. To that he said, “While completing my higher studies at Istituto Marangoni, a fashion school at Milan, Italy where I was the first non-European designer to win a scholarship in 2009, I came across the store of designer Issey Miyake and realised that he made it big because his designs are rooted in the Japanese culture. That’s when I realised that if I need to make it big then I should create clothes which have international appeal but are rooted in the Indian culture. People outside India think that Indian fashion only means Bollywood style colourful clothes with lots of embellishments. They are unaware that Indian designers are capable of creating designs which have international cuts and preferences.” 

Rahul Mishra

Peacock sitting on a tree motif

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. His award-winning capsule range, “The Lotus Effect” and was based on the hexagon shapes and used Lotus motifs. It used Chanderi fabric woven with 85% Merino wool with woolen zardozi embroidery by craftsmen of Kolkata. In February 2014, he won the 2014 Woolmark Prize at the Milan Fashion Week. The award carries an AUS $100,000 prize (over Rs. 5.4 million) and was previously won by designers like Karl Lagerfield and Giorgio Armani, and Mishra is the only Indian to have won the award.

Rahul Mishra designer

He has created a benchmark which is first of a kind for the Indian designers and he himself would have to work really hard to keep up with the standards. Though, I found the journey of a village boy to the fashion capital very inspiring.

To know more about his life read this article here.

About MumbaiGloss

Parimita Chakravorty is an author, blogger, features writer and a communications specialist. She has written for various popular magazines and websites related to beauty, fashion, jewellery and lifestyle, including HAIR India,,, Hello, etc. She has also contributed to various youth blogs and magazines. Her book ‘Look Stunning At Any Size’ has been well appreciated and received by the readers. Currently, she is part of India’s leading IT brand and takes care of their internal communications. Parimita is also working towards bringing awareness about Endometriosis in India; a silent epidemic which is consuming a lot of lives. She manages a page ‘Endometriosis India Files’ where patients discuss their condition and diagnosis.
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