This year, the fifth edition of WGSN Global Fashion Awards marks an interesting development for India — for the first time, there is an Indian design student among the semi-finalists of the Future Designers segment, a category for emerging and student designers. Set up by trend forecasting service WGSN, the awards — scheduled for October 30 at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum — aim to recognise fashion talent on an international scale.
Himani 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 Gandhinagar’s National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), was updating herself with the latest in fashion on the WGSN website in May when she came across a 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. 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 relate to,” she says.
Harish was shortlisted alongside semi-finalists from the UK, Colombia, Brazil, China, Singapore and the US. While she hasn’t made it to the final four, it is a big moment nevertheless. “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,” she says.