The Hindu

Donning the rainbow

Transgende­r models walk the ramp at the seven-year anniversar­y of design label Aeshaane

- :: Priyadarsh­ini Paitandy

A few years ago when Neesha Amrish stopped at a signal in Tidel Park, there was a knock on her window. It was a transwoman begging for money. Amrish rolled her window down and asked her why she couldn’t find a job instead. “She replied saying ‘give me a job.’ And that got me thinking,” says Amrish. She went on to employ a couple of transwomen at her design studio, Aeshaane. “They don’t want charity. They want acceptance and jobs,” says Amrish who’s last collection featured transwomen in the photo shoot.

This year as the designer completes seven years of her label Aeshaane, she’s dedicating it to the transgende­r community. “It’s like the seven colours of the rainbow associated with the LGBTQ community,” says Amrish. On Saturday, March 31, which was World Transgende­r Day, Aeshaane in associatio­n with the Duchess Club organised an event to commemorat­e the occasion which included a fashion show, of which five were transgende­r models. Choreograp­hed by Sunil Menon, it had the models looking uber chic in Amrish’s creations.

The Royalty of Rajpipla, Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil was also part of the celebratio­ns. “In 2006 I became the first member of the royal family to openly come out. I am proud of it,” he says. People from other royal families hated him for that, he says. “Because it was like secrets were tumbling out. But I had to. I could not live a hypocrite’s life. I will do what I can do without harming anyone.”

The prince has been on the

thrice and has also made an appearance on

Oprah Winfrey Show Keeping up with the Kardashian­s.

Through these shows he wants to spread his message and clear misconcept­ions. He has been working with the LGBTQ community for the last 20 years. In 2000 he started the Lakshya foundation. He says that there is a huge population of LGBTQ in our country but people don’t want to discuss it. “There is a lot of pressure on many of them to get married. Parents want them to marry the opposite sex. It’s neither fair to the girl nor to them. I’ve been though this,” he says.

In addition to the trust, the prince also has a fashion label called Hanumantes­hwar 1927. It aims to revive old fashions and traditions that existed a hundred years ago. “I am, in fact, wearing an old fabric dupatta with gota patti work. It belonged to my grandmothe­r,” he says.

 ?? SR RAGHUNATHA­N ■ ?? A matter of pride (clockwise from left) Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil, Neesha Amrish and Ambassador DeAndre Duke of Hanumantes­hwar
SR RAGHUNATHA­N ■ A matter of pride (clockwise from left) Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil, Neesha Amrish and Ambassador DeAndre Duke of Hanumantes­hwar
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