Photographs: Avishek Mitra India Blooms News Service
The Guru of Minimalism is back and this time he invokes the Earth Goddess through his collection at Kolkata Fashion Week (KFW) II. India Blooms catches up with ace designer Wendell Rodricks after his show
What is so special about your Earth Goddess collection?
This is the result of seven years of working with the tribals from the foothills of the Amboli Ghats bordering Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra. Using the forest trees for firewood, the tribals unconsciously deforested the area. The animals vanished with the greenery. The wood smoke resulted in eye and asthmatic problems for the tribals. To halt this destruction, an NGO began to distribute free gas for cooking and encouraged the villagers to plant saplings which could be harvested for natural dye. One-third of the leaves and bark of the shrubs and trees are harvested thrice a year to create natural dyes.
A noble cause
After this seven-year effort, we are ecstatic at the results. The tribals have no eye or breathing problems. The forest is back. As are the animals who returned to the foliage cover. The dye vats (which used to be toxic or synthetic dyes) are fertiliser rich and help regenerate the soil at our field near the dying unit. Farmers, who were earlier skeptical about the vat contents with its coloured mix, now request the same dying programme for their villages. By wearing these clothes you are helping realise the dreams of the tribals and providing them with a livelihood.
What are the fabrics that were treated in this natural dye?
You have used a dull colour palette...
Off the shelf
Are your clothes affordable?
Famous names are a waste
You were one of the first designers to introduce the concept of star showstoppers. But now you don't have any stars walk the ramp for you. Why is that?