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Transgender trendsetters

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BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS: Sharmila Nair’s latest collection of saris was launched using transgender models

BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS: Sharmila Nair’s latest collection of saris was launched using transgender models

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.

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Nida Azwer among celebrated designers to showcase at Faisana Fashion Weekend

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Celebrated designer, Nida Azwer, is among the six fashion houses from across India and Pakistan, to be showcasing her latest collection and interacting with the UK public at Faisana Fashion Weekend, 2nd and 3rd May, Mayfair Hotel, London.

Celebrated designer, Nida Azwer

Celebrated designer, Nida Azwer

Nida Azwer has been designing and working in fashion under the aegis of her eponymous label since 2005, only one month after she graduated from the prestigious Indus Valley School of Art & Architecture.

Her label includes prêt a porter, haute couture and bridal lines. Nida herself was nominated for the coveted Lux Style Award for Best Emerging Talent in 2008 and won the Best Designer Award at the Nesvita Women of Strength Awards in 2009.

The same year, she held her debut solo show in Karachi, featuring both prêt a porter and haute couture to the acclaim of press and industry stalwarts alike.

Nida Azwer’s atelier has come to be recognised for the designer’s love of more classic and vintage design elements infused with traditional crafts such as ‘tukri ka kaam’, ‘rilli’, ‘kantha’, ‘zardozi’ and ‘miniature embroidery’ worked into contemporary fashion.

All clothing and apparel created under the Nida Azwer label is meticulously handworked in Pakistan using only pure fabrics including Irish linen, chiffons, hand-woven silks and brocade. The atelier is best known for infusing designs with attention to detail, innovative cuts, silhouettes and tailoring.
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Influencers on the South Asian fashion landscape, Aamna & Aisha and Radhika Hasan, bring to the Capital a UK exclusive with Faisana Fashion Weekend, which curates and presents for the very first time together on one international platform three of India and three of Pakistan’s most celebrated designers – Anita Dongre, Rina Dhaka and Bhairavi Jaikishan (India); and Umar Sayeed, Nida Azwer and Sania Maskatiya (Pakistan).

The two-day event at Mayfair Hotel will launch with an exclusive Champagne, Canapés and Couture evening on 2nd May, 7-9.30pm in Mayfair Hotel’s Crystal Room, where guests will preview the latest collections from all participating designers, introduced by the designers themselves.

The evening will be interspersed with a runway show and classical dance performance by celebrated Kathak dancer Fasih ur Rahman of the Akademi institute.
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A free to attend, open exhibition, The Grand Trunk Show, will follow on 3rd May, 12-7pm, showcasing a wide range of pret and couture from the designers’ latest collections for the general public, again hosted by the designers themselves.

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