This year,the fifth edition of WGSN Global Fashion Awards marks an interesting development for India: for the first time an Indian design student,Himani Harish,has found a spot amongst the coveted list of semi-finalists for the Future Designers segment,a category for emerging and student designers. Set up by renowned trend forecasting service WGSN,the awards scheduled for October 30 at Londons Victoria & Albert Museum aim at recognising fashion talent on an international scale,covering the full breadth of the industry from luxury fashion to mass-market.
Harish a final-year student of apparel design and merchandising at the National Institute of Design (NID),Ahmedabad is one of the 13 shortlisted applicants. The 25-year-old,who has also studied lifestyle and accessory design at Gandhinagars National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT),was updating herself with the latest in fashion on the WGSN website in May when she chanced upon the call for entries in the Future Designer category. I mailed my specification sheets for five looks all inspired by the bandhani print and working around the lycra fabric, she says.
The silhouettes,Harish emphasises,were decidedly Western. I wanted to work with bandhani,which is inherently Indian,and contemporise it by making wearable creations. The clothing had to belong to three categories: swimwear,hosiery and active sports. Accordingly,I designed lycra swimwear,tops paired with wraparound and shorts as also trousers,leggings,sheer maxis and cotton lycra blazers that the modern woman can easily relate to, she says.
Harish was shortlisted alongside semi-finalists from other countries such as the UK,Colombia,Brazil,China,Singapore and the United States. And while she hasnt made it to the final four,it is a big moment for her. This is the first time an Indian name has made it this far at the awards; the selection has helped open my eyes to the world. It was also challenging because we have not used lycra with prints in India and associate it only with tees. Here,I consciously veered away from such trappings, says Harish,who plans to work with a retail brand before branching out on her own.