Winning at the Woolmark Performance Challenge

A student writes about her experience of participating and winning at the Woolmark Performance Challenge, Paris

Updated - June 13, 2022 02:15 pm IST

Published - June 11, 2022 12:35 pm IST

Harleen Kaur with her trophy at the Woolmark Performance Challenge

Harleen Kaur with her trophy at the Woolmark Performance Challenge | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

My experience of participating in the Woolmark Performance Challenge, in Paris, France, has been nothing short of phenomenal. Among 400-plus entries from fashion institutes across the world, only 12 finalists were chosen. Being the only Indian to have been selected and then to win this competition has given me a great sense of satisfaction.

For the first time, the Woolmark Performance Challenge teamed with two brands: On, a Swiss running company, and SALEWA, an Italian skiwear company. On encouraged students to investigate garment innovations that meet the greatest performance criteria for modern outdoor runners while also maximising fashion-forward wearability. The 12 most promising concepts were chosen as finalists from over 400 entries from around the world, before judges selected the winners for each category.

The idea

Through my concept, I wanted to bring forth the needs of pregnant and post-partum runners by blending sports science with maternity wear. My aim was to create maternity activewear that not only embraces the growing pregnant body but also works with the wearer’s body movement, instead of against it; all the while monitoring the baby’s health using a foetal heart rate monitor.

The brief was to make use of at least 50% Merino wool in our garments. With the wool’s wide range of natural properties, I was able to use it as a sustainable alternative to the largely existing synthetic fibres in the activewear market. I incorporated learnings from the numerous industry visits and extensive masterclasses on knitwear provided by my mentors to promote the wool’s versatility. As more people are now looking for better activewear that supports them during their workout, I also did extensive research on sports science to address the real and actual needs of users.

My mother, a professional Zumba trainer, helped me with the initial ideation and also through the photoshoots. My university mentors also encouraged me to participate, explore and adapt. The interactions with industry leaders and special mentoring programmes allowed me to discuss and exchange design information.

I am very happy to have won this award as it’s an important step that brings me closer to my goals as a fashion designer.

The writer is a Fashion Design student of the Pearl Academy-Torrens University Pathway programme.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.