Goan fashion designer and activist Wendell Rodricks passed away at his home in Goa on Wednesday, following a prolonged illness. He was 59.
Rodricks, one of the most popular fashion designers from Goa, was awarded a Padma Shri in 2014 and was also accorded the Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts Et Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture in 2015. As a designer, he has been credited with reviving the Kunbi sari, worn by the indigenous Kunbi tribal women of Goa.
Family sources said that the funeral is scheduled for Thursday.
The Fashion Design Council of India confirmed the designer's death on Twitter.
He was in the process of setting up a museum 'Moda Goa Museum and Research Centre' which Rodricks had dedicated to clothes and fashion in Goa through the ages.
Rodricks, who is gay, was also known for his advocacy work in social causes. He pushed for eco-friendly fashion and was an advocate for gay rights in the country. In 2018, he started a hotline to provide support and guidance for the LGBTQ community. The hotline, started by Rodricks along with Ruby Almeida, of the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics, also saw the approval of the Archdiocese of Bombay.
“I was moved to tears when Cardinal Gracias not only gave his total approval and support but also agreed to advise his clergy to be more compassionate and less condemning of the LGBTQ community,” Rodricks wrote on Facebook at the time.
He also sought to use the fashion industry to help struggling farmers and weavers in the country. In a 2014 interview with The News Minute, he said, "Take us back to wovens that have an impact on weavers’ lives and not mass made cloth from China, Korea and heaven knows where else at a cheap price. We need to support our weavers and farmers who are committing suicide thanks to alien marketing concepts based on the cheapest available product.”
Rodricks has also authored three books, Moda Goa: History and Style, his autobiography The Green Room and Poskem: Goans in the Shadows.
Rodricks married his partner Jerome Marrel in a civil ceremony in Paris in 2002.
With IANS inputs