Finding freedom in fashion: A virtual fashion show by the specially-abled!

Updated on Apr 25, 2020 07:43 PM IST

With the lockdown in place, the differently-abled are beating gloom and loneliness with digital fashion shows across India, along with live styling and grooming sessions.

For many with disabilities, the lockdown has paradoxically opened up the world
For many with disabilities, the lockdown has paradoxically opened up the world
BySwati Chaturvedi

While the coronavirus pandemic has led to unprecedented restrictions for billions of people, for many with disabilities, the lockdown has paradoxically opened up the world. As society embraces “virtual” living, differently abled people are keeping themselves super busy with online styling and grooming sessions. They recently hosted the very first online fashion show and are in the process of hosting many more such events for their friends.

Mohit Agarwal, convenor, says, “The idea is to get everyone busy so that they beat anxiety, depression and loneliness. With two days of rigorous training, these specially abled people performed with alacrity.”

With lockdown in place, it is important to be positive and realistic optimism boosts physical and mental health and assists active coping.

Mohit adds, “These people have a lot of talent. What they require is just a platform to showcase their talent.” Around 30 models with disabilities walked at a make shift ramp created by them at their homes last week. With confidence and aplomb, these paraplegics and wheelchair bound differently abled persons have been participating in events designed for them including fitness sessions and styling and grooming sessions as well as mental health classes. Gulfam Ahmad, wheelchair artist, says, “With the extended lockdown in place and restrictions on movement, we will keep organising such events to motivate others and encourage them to explore their ability rather than hide their disability.”

Gulfam through his social media account has been giving fitness and grooming lessons to all his followers. He says “ Differently abled people who are wheelchair bound are not able to exercise at all due to the shutdown of gyms. Through my social media account, I have been giving them tips on how to exercise at home with limited resources.”

Kamlesh Patel, dancer and model, says, “Many modelling agencies contacted me after the fashion show. We all are talented and it is just time that us that skill to our benefit. The lockdown has given us an opportunity to reflect on our skills and hone them.”

As the idea of the novel online fashion show was floated to other people of the community, each one of them was more than willing to participate. Gulfam adds, “ We gave them training through videos on WhatsApp and calls. We guided them about the correct lighting and the camera angle and all of them walked with confidence and joy. We look forward to other such events.”

He further adds, “For our upcoming events, we are getting visually impaired people and persons suffering from Down’s syndrome .”

They understand that sitting at home to flatten the curve is an imperative to fight the virus. But that doesn’t stop them to lead their time productively.

Gulfam says, “ We are constantly getting support online and on our virtual fashion show video.” He adds, “ Online auditions for Mr and Miss Wheelchair have begun and the response we are getting is immense.”

With the ongoing coronavirus crisis and its impact on our day-to-day lives, there’s never been a better time to shift focus on a positive mindset. Kamlesh adds, “Ghar par reh kar hi hum corona ka vinaash kar sakte hai. So use this time constructively and wisely.”

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