Life from green rooms to grassroots activism

Designer Wendell Rodricks has left a legacy of pathbreaking fashion and his support towards civic issues

By Author  |  Published: 14th Feb 2020  6:44 pm
grassroots activism

Goa’s style doyen Wendell Rodricks, who breathed his last on Wednesday, was known to sashay through the green rooms of top-billed fashion shows in Indian metros and global fashion capitals, as easily as he dug into grassroots activism in his native State.

Rodricks was a beloved face in the fashion industry who was loved by peers and competitors alike. Years ahead of his time, he was the pioneer of echo fashion in the country and can be credited with introducing the concept of resort wear in India. The champion of ‘Make in India’, even before the movement was started, Rodricks was the first Indian designer to be invited to the world’s largest garment fair — IGEDO — in 1995.

The first Indian designer to open the Dubai Fashion Week in 2001, Rodricks was also invited to present his creations at the Paris Pret a Porter salon in 2007. Raised in Mumbai, Rodricks who moved to Goa several decades ago and anchored his signature fashion chores in the idyllic riverside village of Colvale, lent his unique touch to several projects related to the State.

Be it creating a special uniform for the Goa Police or lending his creative touch to civic activism movements. A few months before he died, Rodricks led an agitation to save six, nearly two centuries’ old, mango trees in his village of Colvale, which were on the chopping block to make way for an expanded highway connecting Goa to Mumbai.

The designer also authored a number of books, including ‘Moda Goa: History and Style’, ‘Poskem: Goans in the Rodricks was also a recipient of the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts Et Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture in 2015. Born into a Goan Catholic family, the 60-year-old designer travelled around the world, from Los Angeles to Paris, to study fashion.

He interned at the National Museum of Costume and Fashion in Portugal and the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York City. He launched his label in 1989. Part of the khadi movement, Rodricks was a man of vision and was in the process of setting up the Moda Goa Museum and Research Centre before his untimely death.