Rahul Mishra - Indian fashion designer

Rahul Mishra: Pioneering Indian Fashion Designer Redefining Global Luxury

Rahul Mishra (born November 7, 1979) is a renowned Indian fashion designer based in Delhi. He made history as the first Indian designer invited to showcase at the Haute Couture Week in Paris. In 2014, he won the prestigious International Woolmark Prize at Milan Fashion Week, becoming the first Indian to receive this accolade. His award-winning collection gained global recognition and was sold in stores worldwide.

Early Life and Background

Rahul Mishra grew up in Malhausi, a small village 53 miles from Kanpur. Raised by his grandparents, he was influenced by an array of stories that instilled values of balance and humanity. He graduated with a degree in physics from Kanpur University (now Chhatrapati Shahu Ji Maharaj University) before pursuing post-graduation in apparel design at the National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad. At NID, he was honored as the Best Student Designer of the Year in 2005.

In 2009, Mishra became the first non-European designer to win a scholarship at Istituto Marangoni in Milan, Italy. His wife, Divya, also an NID graduate in apparel design, collaborates with him in his fashion endeavors.

Rahul Mishra: Elevating Indian Fashion to the Global Stage


Rahul Mishra debuted in 2006 at Lakme Fashion Week with a collection featuring Kerala handloom textiles. He gained acclaim for his innovative reversible dresses in 2009, combining Kerala mundu with Banarasi fabric. His work has been showcased at fashion weeks in London, Dubai, Australia, and regularly at Paris Fashion Week. Known for integrating traditional Indian textiles and artisanship, Mishra has become a prominent figure in global fashion.

In 2013, Mishra won the Indian leg of the International Woolmark Prize, leading to his triumph at the global competition in Milan in 2014. His winning collection, “The Lotus Effect,” featured Chanderi fabric woven with Merino wool and woollen zardozi embroidery, influenced by the monochromatic work of Dutch artist M.C. Escher. This achievement positioned him among legendary designers like Karl Lagerfeld, Giorgio Armani, and Yves Saint Laurent.


In 2013, Rahul Mishra co-founded his eponymous label with his wife, establishing flagship stores in India and developing a strong national and international presence. His label is celebrated for its commitment to handcraft and sustainability, using fashion to empower India’s local craft community.

In September 2023, Mishra launched a global luxury label, AFEW Rahul Mishra, in collaboration with Reliance Brands Limited. The debut collection, presented at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, received acclaim from global retailers, the fashion press, and celebrities.

Rahul Mishra has dressed numerous Indian and international celebrities, including Kareena Kapoor Khan, Alia Bhatt, Zendaya, Selena Gomez, and Gigi Hadid. His designs have also been worn by Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan.

Design Philosophy

Mishra’s design philosophy revolves around the 3 E’s: Environment, Employment, and Empowerment. He emphasizes “luxury as participation,” advocating for sustainable practices and engaging over 1000 artisans in hand-weaving and embroidery. His approach promotes reverse migration, encouraging artisans to return to their villages while earning urban-level wages.

Mishra’s “ASAP” (As Slow As Possible) philosophy champions slow craftsmanship, fostering deep connections with rural craft communities. His 2024 Spring/Summer collection, “Superheroes,” presented in Paris, explores themes of coexistence with nature, featuring intricate hand-embroidery and innovative pattern making.

Awards & Distinctions

  • 2008: MTV Youth Icon of the Year, India
  • 2009: Featured in Vision India 2020’s list of top 20 young Indians
  • 2010: International Designer of the Year at the IAF annual convention in the Netherlands
  • 2012: Best Womenswear Designer at the Cotton Council International Awards
  • 2013: Regional Winner of the International Woolmark Prize (India and Middle East)
  • 2014: Winner of the International Woolmark Prize in Milan
  • Featured in ‘BoF 500’ by Business of Fashion
  • 2015: Featured in GQ’s list of ’50 Most Influential Young Indians’
  • 2018: International Fashion Award for Sustainable and Ethical Brand by Chambre Monegasque de la Mode, Monte Carlo
  • 2019: Rarete Award (Rare Talent of the Year) at the Centre du Luxe Summit, Paris
  • Conferred the National Award for Special Achievement in Fashion by the Government of India
  • 2020: Featured in Luxebook Top 100 Luxury Leaders in India
  • ‘Trailblazer of the Year’ award by Vogue India
  • 2021: Titled ‘Sustainable Fashion Icon’ at India’s Best Awards by Travel & Leisure Magazine
  • 2023: Recognized in HELLO!’s 100 Most Influential list
  • Conferred the ‘Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres’ (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) by the French government
  • 2023: Received the ‘GQ Men of the Year 2023’ award
  • Received ‘Forces of Fashion’ award from Vogue

Rahul Mishra continues to be a trailblazer in the fashion industry, redefining luxury and sustainability while celebrating India’s rich textile heritage.


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