Fashion is no longer just about skinny models walking down the ramp. Globally, it has come to embrace a varied group of people, including the plus-size community, transgender, people of color, etc. Taking this trend further, the Lakme Fashion Week organized a never-seen-before event, featuring girls from Mumbai’s red-light area walking the ramp. The event was the brainchild of Delhi-based designer Mandeep Nagi. Mandeep had collaborated with a Mumbai-based NGO that focuses on improving the quality of life of girls from red light areas. Not limiting to getting the girls walk the ramp wearing her clothes, Mandeep decided to take it a level further by organizing a skit, a shorter version of the one they had been doing in India and abroad.
The girls from Mumbai’s red light area also shared their chilling stories, many of which relate to their being sold into the flesh trade by their husbands, being exploited by powerful people like police, businessmen, politicians, etc. and being forced to have unprotected sex. The stories were quite frightening and the event organizers hope that it will help spread awareness about the plight of girls working in red light areas. The girls also shared how the NGO has helped them live a better life by enabling other income opportunities such as weaving, making papad, etc. They also shared their experience of travelling abroad and participating in volunteering work, which were sponsored by the NGO.