Mumbai-based fashion designer Umair Zafar recently designed clothes for acid-attack survivors for a fashion show in Lucknow. It was really inspiring to interact with those girls and women, who in spite of their physical deformities caused by atrocious acid attacks were confident and particular about their taste and choice. They walked the ramp shoulder to shoulder with other professional models with utmost confidence, grace and poise, thanks to the training given by the choreographer Sameer Srivastava and designer Umair Zafar who took extra care to ensure that the outfits donned by the acid-attack survivors were comfortable and yet fashionable.
According to a report in the Times of India, Anshu’s right eye had lost its sight and the left one barely had any light left. In an acid attack last year, her face had been disfigured. But, as the 17-year-old waited for her turn to dress up, her courage was already evenly lit up on her face. “I am not nervous or scared. I was not even when I should have been. Why then should I be scared of walking the ramp,” declared Anshu, who was one among the 15 acid-attack survivors from UP to walk the ramp at the Virangana Samman Awards 2015 organised by Ummeed, repoted TOI. “The walk was to honour the survivors and dispel the narrow meaning of beauty we carry with us. All these women are beautiful in more than one possible ways,” said Balbir Singh, founder, Ummeed.
The horrific incident had given more courage to Anshu than she ever had before. As she walked down the amphitheater-turned-modelling ramp at Lohia Park, dressed in an exquisite Awadhi design, her message was loud and clear. “The person might have stolen away my face, but no one can take away my existence. This is what I want other girls like me to realise,” she told TOI.
Several other acid attack survivors too joined in with Anshu for the highlight walk, coming from Fatehpur to Unnao, Bijnor, Faridabad, Bareilly, Agra and others.
Speaking to news portal IndiaNewsNetwork.IN, designer Umair Zafar said, “The theme of the collection was “Awadhi”. I have mainly used chikankari and mukaish with pure georgette and brocades in my designs. The collection comprises of long kurtas with plazzoz, gararas and gowns.” Umair Zafar gifted the garments to the survivors, as a token of his appreciation for their effort and support.
17 other women achievers from fields such as sports, social work, police and a woman biker were awarded with the Virangana Samman Awards for recognizing their everyday work for social change. Umair Zafar who was one of the judges said that he was very proud of being part of this event for social change and would love to support it in future.
The awardees were selected by Juhie SIngh, chairperson Uttar Pradesh State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Gaurav Prakash, founder president CIIYI, Jyotsana Habibullah Kaur, chairperson FLO FICCI and Umair Zafar, fashion designer.
Umair Zafar now plans to hold similar shows in various parts of India, with the second event being in Mumbai.