The government of India has shown its acknowledgment for the fashion industry in India, by honouring Goan designer, Wendell Rodricks with a Padma Shri. This is not the first time they have done this, since last year they awarded the same to famous fashion designer Ritu Kumar. However, that was the first time in 66 years since Independence that a Padma Shri had been awarded to a fashion designer. But with it being a second year running, it goes to show that there is hope for the government of India’s support and opening outlook towards the mainstream fashion industry.
Ritu Kumar has been appreciated due to being a veteran designer of craft and textile revivalism. Likewise, Rodricks, who was among the 101 people awarded the Padma Shri this year, has been recognised for being a revivalist and historian. He wrote Moda Goa: Histroy and Style, has revived the Goan Kunbi saree and is in the process of setting up the museum of Goan history.
Over the years, Rodricks has dressed up many beautiful models for fashion shows and commercials, discovered Deepika Padukone, is a mentor-stylist with Lakme Fashion Week and creates resort wear, a high selling segment in designer clothes. Not only is he a popular designer, he is also passionate about speaking up for the welfare of his home state.
However, two awards will not have changed the views on mainstream fashion, that are still seen by many as being an elite trend for the rich and famous, with all its glamour and glitz. It seem like only designers who are scholarly as well as popular are receiving such awards. Award committees now need to appreciate others in the fashion industry with or without revivalist work- perhaps Rohit Bal or Abraham and Thakore who have also had influence on the industry.