Indian designers continue to wow on the international stage with their talent and ingenuity. Ruchika Sachdeva’s women’s wear label Bodice has been awarded the prestigious 2017 / 2018 International Woolmark Prize, becoming the third designer from India to do so. She represented India, Pakistan and Middle East. The award ceremony took place at a special event during Pitti Uomo at Stazione Leopolda in Florence. Bodice will receive $100,000 and the trade partner will be promoted via The Woolmark Company’s trade partner program. Designer Rahul Mishra won the award in 2014 for the same category, and has since gone on to become a celebrated international designer who regularly shows at Paris. In 2016, Suket Dhir was awarded this prize for his men’s wear. The judges panel was heavyweight with names such as Amber Valletta, Elizabeth Von Guttman, Emanuele Farneti, Julie Davies, Livia Firth, Liya Kebede, Miroslava Duma, Nonita Kalra, Phillip Lim, Riccardo Vannetti, Sarah Mower and Stuart McCullough.
Ruchika Sachdeva’s work was appreciated for her innovative technique and manufacturing process. Ruchika sought inspiration from her grandmother, in how to upscale fabrics, and reduce consumer waste in fashion by using traditional techniques of recycling and cultural beliefs in the spiritual power of cloth to affect our wellbeing. She collaborated with weavers and showed them how. Bodice also worked with Bio-Dye in Sawantwadi, central India, which makes all colours from natural sources. The colour palette of navy and forest green mixed with pink and green pastels contain natural dyes and are safe for the skin – a nod to the ancient practices of Ayurveda. Completing the label’s holistic renewable sources of coconut shell, seashell, and wood. Often woven by hand, India’s regional textiles are stripped to the essentials. Bodice uses natural fibres, particularly the characteristics of wool and approaches sustainability with consciousness and interest to ensure both practice and products are as ethically developed as possible.
The award for the menswear category went to Mathew Miller from British Isles. The other designers from India who were nominated were Antar-Agni, Pero by Aneeth Arora, Dhruv Kapoor, Hemang Agrawal, Theorem by Nitin Chawla. From Pakistan, it was Khadija Rahman. Antar-Agni was a finalist along with Bodice. Over 65 designers from 60 countries were nominated for the finals, representing the six different regions from around the world – Asia; Australia & New Zealand; British Isles; Europe; India, Pakistan and Middle East; and the USA.
The global finalists were SixLee and KYE (Asia), Blair Archibald and Harman Grubiša (Australia & New Zealand), Matthew Miller and Le Kilt (British Isles), L’Homme Rouge and David Laport (Europe), Antar-Agni and Bodice (Indian Subcontinent and Middle East) and DYNE and Zaid Affas (USA).