Kabaddi athletes switch styles and sides, turn models at the Lakme Fashion Week
A host of leading menswear designers had Kabaddi players as their muses when Lakme Fashion Week collaborated with multi-designer store Ensemble to showcase a unique evening which celebrated fashion and sports in equal measure.
Five stars from India’s homegrown sport, Kabaddi which included two players from the recent World Cup winning team viz. Mohit Chhillar, Surender Nada, Vishal Mane, Rishank Devadiga and Shabeer Bapu walked the ramp for celebrated designers like like Gaurav Khanijo, Pranav Mishra of Huemn, Ujjwal Dubey of Antar Agni, Tarun Tahiliani and Sahil Aneja.
With the sport embarking on newer heights in the recent times owing to the Pro Kabaddi League and the recently concluded World Cup where India emerged as champions for the third time in a row, all these players have become icons in the contemporary world.
Fashion designer Tina Tahiliani echoed this thought when she was quoted as saying to IANS that, “In India, though we celebrate sports but whether it is with cricket, badminton and tennis, we never turned the spotlight on kabaddi. So when Lakme and IMG Reliance came with the idea, we just grabbed the opportunity. We recently launched our menswear store and are working with lots of young designers.
“So I think, this is the right occasion to celebrate. Moreover, I have been asked why am I doing it with these players instead of real celebrities. Well, all these players are making our country proud by winning the championship. For me, anyone who is so accomplished is a celebrity.”
For Vishal Mane, a player who turns up for the Bengal Warriors team in PKL, the whole experience was a peculiar combine of nerves and excitement, clearly evident that first-time blues dominated his walk on the ramp, “It is very different from our game. We are always well prepared and practised for our game. However, here, it is very spontaneous on stage. I am honoured to wear clothes designed by such a great designers. It feels good.”
Unlike him, however, the other Mumbaikar and U Mumba recruit, Rishank Devadiga was confident from the word go, “I had the experience of walking on the ramp at the India Fashion Week for Troy Costa which is why I was pretty calm this time around. The merger of sports and fashion is an uncommon yet special amalgamation and me for one, am very proud to be associated with the same, for its every other day that we don a jersey but not often when we are dressed up in the outfits designed by the stalwarts of the fashion industry.”
Pranav Mishra of Huemn was proud to extend his area of expertise to an altogether new section of stars, “I was very happy to design for these champions and sharing my design philosophy on their clothes. This kind of collaboration merges both the industry – sports and fashion. An interaction between two fraternities starts from here, as in people who are alienated from the sports with getting to know about it and sports personalities will also get great exposure to fashion. However, the result will come in an organic way with time.”
A connoisseur of Indian-fusion clothing, Ujjwal Dubey of Antar Agni described the merger very aptly when he said that, “Apart from business, it is also about the fraternisation. Through this collaboration, we tried to appreciate the effort of each other’s fraternity. So it is great to be a part of a cause where Lakme Fashion Week is collaborating with a multi-designer store like Ensemble along with sports players.”