A fashion designer in India says she is aiming to break down barriers and stereotypes with the launch of her latest collection by using transgender women to model it.
Sharmila Nair, from Cochin, was inspired by the inaugural transgender policy drawn up in the state of Kerala last year, when launching her latest line of saris.
Via her fashion label, Red Lotus, the 24-year-old designer has brought a new colourful collection under the title ‘Mazhavil’ - meaning ‘rainbow’.
“Since the LGBT community is represented by the rainbow flag, I thought why not give my collection the same shades and use all the colours of the rainbow,” Nair told reporters.
The saris are crafted from Hubli cotton dyed with natural colours and paired with printed blouses.
Several variations are available to promote the image of ‘inclusivity’.
“When Kerala announced its transgender policy, I thought that if our government can, we need to start thinking about inclusivity too. Why shouldn’t we?” she said.
For the new collection’s photoshoot, Sharmila teamed up with the transgender rights organisation ‘Queerala’, who helped her get in touch with transgender models, Maya Menon and Gowri Savithri, both 29.
She hopes the shoot will help create more opportunities in the future for India’s transgender communities.
“It takes time to break stereotypes and for people to accept it,” she concluded.