When it comes to inclusivity, the fashion industry is one which has the potential to make great strides. Across the globe, there is a general understanding that if this one industry holds the baton, it will give hope to many marginalised people whose stories need to be told. And it seems fashion label Shanti Banaras has understood that, for it has featured and celebrated people belonging to the trans community in its latest campaign.
The apparel and clothing brand, which “fuses timeless techniques with modern sensibilities”, and is an “inherently Indian brand with a global twist” has shared a series of pictures on its Instagram profile, of trans women wearing the label’s sais, and narrating their tales in the form of pictures, captions, and videos.
Titled ‘Akathya‘, it is “a story of inexplicable beauty that emanates from deep within the soul”.
“We visit the lives of eight transgender people, empowered despite life’s trials and a phoenix before its tribulations. A call to action campaign where we salute the power that is the transgender,” the fashion label has explained in a caption.
It has also quoted Leslie Feinberg, a transgender activist, and author: “Like racism and all forms of prejudice, bigotry against transgendered people is a deadly carcinogen. We are pitted against each other in order to keep us from seeing each other as allies. Genuine bonds of solidarity can be forged between people who respect each other’s differences and are willing to fight their enemy together. We are the class that does the work of the world, and can revolutionize it. We can win true liberation.”
One of the posts features Shobhana, a chef and a dancer, who has been “cooking up a storm on stage and in the kitchen”. Photographed by Farhan Hussain and styled by Nidhi Jacob, she looks stunning in a purple bold striped handloom katan silk saree.
Then there is Sara, a “make-up artist and a student of law”. She has been photographed in two identical, bold-striped handloom katan silk sarees.
The world needs brands and labels to normalise, understand and accept gender, and not view it from the prism of a binary understanding of male and female. Instead, by celebrating and glorifying that which deserves urgent attention and acceptance, we feel Shanti Banaras has sent out an encouraging message.
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