From being medical assistants at a village near Raigad in Maharashtra, to walking the ramp with celebrities, Vishakha Sawant, Mahejabin Ababas Daware and Jayaram Sutar will get to mix with people from completely different worlds when the Lakme Fashion Week begins on March 23. The three, along with 17 other residents of their village, are a part of designer Vikram Phadnis’s show, which takes place on March 25.
“It has been a great experience, yet I can’t help but feel a little nervous,” says Vishakha, even as she attends a fitting session at Phadnis’s studio in Juhu. Phadnis adds, “They will walk with Kiran Rao, Ileana D’Cruz, Dia Mirza and Ekta Kapoor, among others. Arbaaz and Malaika Arora Khan will be accompanied by their son, Arhaan, who’s making his
debut on the ramp. He will walk with another child from Raigad,” says a visibly excited Phadnis.
Clad in traditional creations, Vishakha and Mahejabin look beautiful and nervous. “I’m used to wearing saris,” says Vishakha, even as Mahejabin declares her love for the garb. “It’s really grand, something we’d wear to a wedding,” she says, smiling. But it’s Jayaram who really bowled us over. He’s recently been appointed the sarpanch of the village, but is nothing short of a model when facing the camera confidently. Most of us typecast people coming from rural backgrounds as plain, shy and excessively conservative individuals. That is the kind of mindset we're trying to change through the show. They are confident and strong-willed people and achieve a lot, despite their limited resources. We want to celebrate their achievements like we’d celebrate ours,” says Zarina Mehta, managing trustee of the Swades Foundation, an NGO that works in Raigad.