x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

The Emperor 1688 wins in the regional menswear round of the International Woolmark Prize

Inside the International Woolmark Prize, which has awarded the Dubai-based British-Iranian Golkar brothers of The Emperor 1688 as the regional menswear winners.

The Emperor 1688 collection at Fashion Forward in Dubai. Duncan Chard for the National.
The Emperor 1688 collection at Fashion Forward in Dubai. Duncan Chard for the National.

The home-grown fashion label The Emperor 1688 has triumphed at the regional round of the International Woolmark Prize (IWP) 2014/15. The Dubai-based, British-Iranian brothers behind the label – Haman, Babak and Farhan Golkar – will now go through to the menswear final in London next year.

Regional round

The competition was launched in 1953 to celebrate emerging designers and their use of merino wool.

There are five regional heats spanning India and the Middle East, Asia, Europe, the United States and Australia. For the first time this year, the award included a menswear category as well as womenswear.

At the iconic Taj Mahal Palace hotel in Mumbai this week, the India and Middle East regional round of the IWP was held, with The Emperor 1688 scooping the menswear prize.

“Winning the first Woolmark Prize menswear regional award and the opportunity to show our collection in London at the final is an exciting challenge and dream come true for our brand,” said Haman.

Flying the regional flag for ­womenswear was the Lebanese label Bird on a Wire by Rayya Morcos, who will travel to Beijing in March for the womenswear grand finale.

Who’s who

This year’s panel includes Imran Amed, the founder and editor of the industry website Business of Fashion; Anthony Kendal, the global communications director of the luxury retailer MyTheresa.com; Peter Ackroyd, the global strategic adviser for The Woolmark Company; Vogue India’s Priyanka Khanna; and Rahul Mishra, the winner of the International Woolmark Prize 2013/14.

Fashion Forward

Fashion Forward (FFWD), being the official nominating body for the India and Middle East round, put forward The Emperor 1688 back in April. The brand has showcased every season at FFWD, and is known for its classic yet contemporary menswear collections.

For the regional finals, the label had to present the sketches of a merino wool capsule collection of six outfits, and one fully produced outfit.

“The win is not just an incredible achievement for The Emperor 1688, and for FFWD, but also a huge milestone for Middle Eastern fashion, as we strive to grow and build a sustainable industry, which has international relevance and visibility, with Dubai as its hub,” said Bong Guerrero, the chief executive of Fashion Forward.

What’s next

For the next six to eight months, the 10 shortlisted designers will develop their collections for the 2015 finals. Two winners will be awarded AU$100,000 (Dh345,300) each and the opportunity to be stocked in key retailers such as Harvey Nichols, London, Colette, Paris, 10 Corso Como, Milan and Saks Fifth Avenue, New York City.

Highly prized

Should the Golkar brothers win at the International Woolmark Prize in London, they’ll be walking in some very hallowed footsteps. Back in 1954, two unknown womenswear designers, Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent, accepted their respective fashion design prizes. Lagerfeld, then 21, was the winner of the coat category, while Saint Laurent, at just 18, won the award for dress design, judged by a panel that included Hubert de Givenchy and Pierre Balmain.

• Visit www.woolmarkprize.com. For our review of The Emperor 1688’s latest collection, go to our All Dressed Up blog