Renowned fashion designer Rohit Bal surprised everyone at this year’s Lakme Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2019 on Wednesday when he decided to let hijab-clad Kashmiri women walk the ramp as showstoppers. To top it all, Bal appeared on the ramp to present each woman with a red rose as a mark of gratitude for working on his designer clothes, showcased during this year’s Lakme Fashion Week.
These women were no ordinary ladies. They were artisans from strife-torn Jammu and Kashmir, the birthplace of Bal. These women were trained by the Usha Silai team before they worked on Bal’s collection in adverse weather conditions.
Bal had named the collection that he showcased Guldastah (Bouquet). To add a traditional Kashmiri touch, Bal had ensured that the ramp was surrounded with dry Chinar leaves. The rest was complete by shikaras laden with colourful flowers even as Kashmiri folk music provided the much-needed soulfulness to the surroundings.
Explaining his decision to honour local Kashmiri artisans, Bal said that he wanted to highlight the positive aspect of Kashmir, where he was born. It’s a simple explanation. I come from Kashmir. I am a Kashmiri, I know what’s happening in the state. I grew up in free Kashmir and unfortunately now it’s a warzone.
“But what I am trying to do here is to let people know that no matter how troubled the times might be there, there is still beauty and that beauty can never be taken away from Kashmir. No matter what you do there, no matter how hard anyone tries, the beauty of Kashmir will, Inshallah, always be there because it can never be taken away,” Bal told news agency IANS.
His action earned him instant plaudit. Miss Malini took to Instagram to pay a moving tribute to the celebrated fashion designer. She wrote, “@rohitbalofficial, your heart is as beautiful as your designs ♥️ So grateful to have witnessed this collection made by these sweet and humbled artisans of Kashmir!”
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@rohitbalofficial, your heart is as beautiful as your designs ♥️ So grateful to have witnessed this collection made by these sweet and humbled artisans of Kashmir! #LFWSR19 @ushasilai – @natasshapatel 👾 . . . . . #RohitBal #UshaSilai #MMAtLFWSR19 #AllInclusive #LFWSR19 #5DaysOfFashion #LFW #AllInclusiveAtLFW #TraditionalFashion #LakmeFashionWeek
One user wrote,”My respect to you Mr Rohit Bal!! 🖒👏 I really love some designers like you are grateful with some humbled artisans women!!” Another commented, “he is amazzzzingggg”
Bal, according to IANS, said that nothing could give him more satisfaction than letting Kashmiri artisans take centre-stage at the fashion week. He said, “In fact, after doing this, I am feeling I am going to do so much more and I am confident about giving back to these people.”