The WoolMark Prize Fainal Designers -
Ted Baker KSA

The WoolMark Prize Fainal Designers

Meet the talented selection of nominees for the international woolmark Prize womenswear/menswear from Middle East, India and Pakistan.



Delhi-based label AKAARO is the brainchild of Gaurav Jai Gupta, who was trained as a woven textile designer at Chelsea College of Art and Design in London and in Fashion at National Institute of Fashion Technology in New Delhi.

AKAARO’s basic philosophy is the continuing focus on fabric as the starting point and the importance of design process/handlooms for the development of new technology in which to make clothing.

Gupta strongly believes in the power of making and is passionate about handlooms and empowering craftsmen at a grassroots level. He endorses skill development amongst craftsmen to strengthen and develop a self-sustainable working model.




Bashar Assaf is a Beirut-based Lebanese fashion designer. His garments tend to accentuate the female body with sophisticated yet demure silhouettes, solid colours and clean cuts. This tendency was instilled during his days living in Saudi Arabia where women’s garments lacked definition of the female form.

In December 2012 Assaf was chosen as one of the Starch Foundation’s designers where he produced three collections. He was also nominated by Elle Style Awards for “Best Upcoming Fashion Designer in the Middle East” that year.

Today, Assaf continues design to outside of the Starch umbrella and also showcases at Fashion Forward in Dubai.



Bleach is an Emirati lifestyle label that was established to express the many roles of a modern woman – bleaching the boundaries between convention, style and modern practicality.

Whilst studying a masters in car design in Milan, Emirati designer Budreya Faisal’s passion for fashion design was ignited. When Budreya returned home, after a few years of self-learning with only one tailor, she anonymously launched a small label online to test the market with her designs and found success.

A few months later, Bleach was launched and has been a thrilling growing success that is recognised and adorned by the beautiful women of the GCC who dress outside the box. Faisal’s designs are well noted for their minimalist, eccentric and innovative style.




Mira Hayek is a Beirut-based contemporary sportswear designer who launched her first ready-to-wear collection in 2011.

The Mira Hayek brand is dedicated to dynamic women with an effortless sense of style. Each of the collections is unique and inspired by vivid themes drawn from contemporary to street art. Loose silhouettes, geometric patterns and colour blocks as well as texture combinations are key elements in Mira’s designs, giving these pieces the perfect balance between comfort and playfulness.

Mira studied Graphic Design at the Lebanese American University in Beirut. Her formal industry training began when she moved to Milan, where she studied Fashion Design at Istituto Marangoni. She then pursued her masters in Fashion and Textile Design at Istituo Europeo di Design.



Misha Lakhani is a ready-to-wear and haute couture label born out of Karachi in 2011. Driven by a celebration of craftsmanship and heritage, the brand is always looking to reinterpret the traditions of handwork and couture techniques. Expect an eclectic mix of old crafts and modern ideas.

Misha’s work is characterised by a fusion of styles, layered looks, contrasting textures, unique embellishment and a vibrant colour palette. Her creations are nostalgic yet current, reflecting the diverse cultures of the cities in which she has lived, including Boston, New York and London.

Misha Lakhani launched her first retail store in Karachi in August 2012 upon graduating from Central Saint Martins. With its rising popularity the brand is expanding into a second standalone store in Lahore, and will soon be available online.




NACHIKET BARVE stands for modern, progressive design that’s clever yet commercial, timely yet timeless. Creating his own textiles, using a plethora of indigenous techniques, Nachiket has a distinct look that is effortless, chic yet extremely refined. The look of the range is international, while the elements that go into making it are Indian.

Unique storytelling, unusual use of colour, a modern interpretation of Indian techniques and textiles and innovative luxury are the DNA of what makes the NACHIKET BARVE label unique and a harbinger of the future of innovative design.

The NACHIKET BARVE label was picked up last year by the US-based Fashion Company ‘Rent the Runway’; the label is now available in the US alongside some of the biggest names in global fashion. This is the first time that Indian design has been featured on the site.



A textile design graduate of the prestigious Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture in Karachi, Sania Maskatiya joined hands with business partner and director Umair Tabani in 2010 to create a distinctive, eponymous, clothing label that has captured the fashion industry by storm.

The Sania Maskatiya brand is best known for its versatile, specialised prints and textile design based on pure fabrics, unique colours, and fine craftsmanship. The label employs its own in-house printing, embroidery and stitching units with a dedicated team of talented textile graduates.

Their work has led them to win three Lux Style Awards for Achievement in Luxury Pret and Achievement in Lawn respectively. Most recently, their bridal couture collection, titled ‘Ara-Ornament’ as showcased at the PFDC L’Oréal Paris Bridal Week, was met with significant recognition.



For designer Omar Farooq, menswear is all about style and the opportunity one has to express himself through clothes.  After learning the art of cutting, construction and suit making at BESPOKE TAILORS, Farooq took his knowledge back to Pakistan and launched Republic in 2009.

Engaging with a wide range of clients, Republic takes pride in offering a 100% bespoke service, sourcing the finest fabrics from Italy and the UK.

In 2012 Republic won the Lux Style Awards for best menswear designer, and has been nominated for the same award a further two times.



Suket Dhir started his eponymous label in 2009, after nearly 5 years of searching for his calling and trying his hand at many different vocations.

Trained at the National Institute of Fashion Technology in New Delhi, Dhir’s aesthetic is best described as Indo-centric western menswear, with a distinctive classic look. This design sensibility is achieved through the synergistic union of regional artisanal techniques with western silhouettes and cuts in exquisite indigenous fabrics. Adherence to the ‘Less is More’ philosophy lends to his garments a classic air, which is further highlighted through subtle detailing and a hint of quirk.

Old school tailoring and finishing processes add to the level of luxury, with SUKETDHIR garments crafted from exclusive natural, eco-friendly fabrics.



Taller Marmo is a Dubai-based womenswear brand founded in 2013 by designers Riccardo Audisio and Yago Goicoechea. The duo met while studying at Istituto Marangoni in Milan and decided to create Taller Marmo.

Taller Marmo, as a concept, was born in Italy to be based in Dubai: A bridge between the European elegance and the Middle Eastern charm. Inspiration is drawn from the conversation between the nostalgia of the past and from contemporary culture. Made in Italy, the brand’s collection merge minimalistic Italian tailoring with Arabic traditions.

The brand’s design philosophy is embedded into its name: Taller, the Spanish word for manual work, the laboratory, the artisan, the authenticity of the handcraft; and Marmo, the Italian word for marble, fine material and Italian excellence that metaphorically refers to luxury, exoticism, decadence and tradition.



Working in the luxury fashion industry for over 9 years, Ahmed Abdelrahman founded luxury East-meets-West menswear label Thamanayah.

Thamanyah began as a bi-cultural take on the masculine wardrobe of the early post-oil generation of the United Arab Emirates, with Ahmed seeking to evolve the traditional garb of the UAE. The label touches the four main pillars that define everyday life in the Arab states of the Persian Gulf: Tradition, Faith, Patriotism and Petronaissance (Post Petroleum Renaissance).

Masculine allure influenced by lines and volumes of the male wardrobe of Jazeerat Al Arab, or the Arabian Peninsula, is reinforced by details of Italian bespoke tailoring.