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Indian and Pakistani Designers Showcase Collections Using Merino Wool

The Woolmark Company wants to remind the world that wool can be worn in warmer climes.

The branded fiber firm, which is a subsidiary of Australian Wool Innovation Ltd., recently picked six fashion designers from India and Pakistan to each create a clothing collection using Cool Wool.

A sub-brand of the Woolmark and Woolmark Blend programs, Cool Wool garments are manufactured from Merino wool fabrics weighing no more than 190 grams per square meter (or 5.6 ounces per square yard) and with a maximum mean diameter of 22.5 micrometers.

According to The Woolmark Company, these properties help to extend the selling season of wool.

Mumbai’s own Nachiket Barve, an International Woolmark Prize nominee known for intricate surface details in his clothes, presented a collection called “Tulipmania” as part of the show at the JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar.

“Merino wool as a fiber has been inspiring my work over the last few seasons consistently,” he said. “The versatile Cool Wool fabric has been reimagined for eveningwear and occasion wear through this collection in a way that’s glamorous yet sensual.”

Gaurav Jai Gupta, who trained at both the Chelsea College of Art and Design in London and the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) in New Delhi, showcased men’s and women’s separates made from an array of wool blends.

“It all started with American travel and art photographer Trey Ratcliff’s images from Tokyo as a reference point,” Gupta said. “Hand-woven fabrics have been developed in Merino wool, monofilament silks, cotton, zari and stainless steel.”

Photo: Rahul Mishra, courtesy of The Woolmark Company

Rahul Mishra, an Indian fashion designer who won the 2014 International Woolmark Prize, said his collection, “The Fourth Dimension,” was inspired by metamorphosis in life.

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“The Fourth Dimension is an essential tool to revisit the past through Merino yarn and human hands in a world ruled by technology… to preserve the unseen hand of the skilled artisan who painstakingly beats technology to infuse individual hand skill in creating a couture expression,” he said.

Another NIFT alum, Rajesh Pratap Singh, highlighted the drape of Merino wool fabrics, noting, “Oversized silhouettes are predominant in the collection and many garments are reflective of traditional Indian costumes but with a modern twist and relevance for today’s man. There are tunics in grey, reds and oranges that add a burst of color to the otherwise indigo palette.”

Troy Costa, who has dressed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as President Barack Obama, presented “structured silhouettes of bespoke tailoring,” while Pakistani menswear designer Omar Farooq unveiled a collection of embroideries, jacquards, knitting, embellishments and printing.