As the International Woolmark Prize launches into its fourth year The Woolmark Company announces the India & Middle East nominees for one of the most coveted designer awards of our time and we are so proud to see Misha Lakhani, Sania Maskatiya, and Republic by Omar Farooq  make the cut!

First held in 1953 as an initiative of the International Wool Secretariat, the award the following year was won by Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent. Today the International Woolmark Prize continues to recognise outstanding design talent from around the world.

The prize was revived to promote a fresh crop of fashion stars showcasing the benefits of working with Australian Merino wool, and now more than 60 designers from over 20 countries take part.

This year a sixth region has been added to the competition, The British Isles, with the regional award to be held in London. The five other regional awards will be held in Shanghai, Sydney, Antwerp, Dubai and New York to select the ten finalists, each receiving AUD $50,000 financial contribution towards their next collection as well as an invitation to participate in the international final.

The six menswear finalists will meet at an event held during PITTI UOMO, Florence in January 2016 and the six women's wear finalists will meet in New York in February 2016.

The winners of both the menswear and women's wear finals will receive a further AUD$100,000 to assist with fabric sourcing and marketing of their collection. In addition, both international winners will have their collection commercialised through key international retail partners including Harvey Nichols in the UK, Joyce in China, Saks Fifth Avenue in the USA, 10 Corso Como in Italy, My Theresa online, and David Jones in Australia.

The India & Middle East regional award will beheld on 22nd July in Dubai. Nominees will present sketches of a Merino wool capsule collection comprising of six outfits, with one full outfit to be produced. The collections will be judged by a panel of local and international experts soon to be announced.

The India & Middle East nominees for the 2015/16 International Woolmark Prize are:


  • AKAARO, India
  • Nachiket Barve, India
  • Sania Maskatiya, Pakistan
  • Taller Marmo, UAE
  • Bleach, UAE
  • Misha  Lakhani, Pakistan
  • Bashar Assaf, Lebanon
  • Mira hayek, Lebanon


  • Republic, Pakistan
  • Suket Dhir, India
  • Thamanyah, UAE

 Expressing her feelings on the prestigious nomination and the unique attributes of the fashion industry Misha Lakhani remarks, "The fashion industry drives so many industries and economies and its cultural influence is enormous. But what makes it so remarkably unique, is how central creativity and innovation is to its existence and relevance. If we stop innovating, it's all over.

As a progressive brand that is always looking to reinterpret the traditions of surface design techniques and woven textiles, it's an exciting opportunity to apply that same curiosity to wool on a platform that is the fashion industry's most respected. I feel privileged and am grateful to The Woolmark Company for creating this fantastic platform to support emerging designers." - Misha Lakhani

The Woolmark Company recognises the support of IMGReliance (India), PFDC (Pakistan), Dubai Design & Fashion Council (UAE),and Lebanon "“ Starch Foundation as the official nominating bodies for India& Middle East. Globally, the award has been supported by key fashion councils including the Council of Fashion Designers America, British Fashion Council, and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Madrid.

The IWP now boasts an impressive alumnus of the most important designers from around the globe, as well as partnerships established with some of the most successful leading designers including Victoria Beckham,Diane von Furstenberg, Alexander Wang and Richard Nicoll.

"The addition of a sixth region was in response to demand coming from the industry,"explained The Woolmark Company Managing Director Stuart McCullough. "It is yet another example of the huge impact this prize has had in the market."