Defying stereotypes, visually impaired girls sashay down the ramp

Bhubaneswar: Seven visually impaired girls from National Association for The Blind Odisha State Branch (NAB) walked the ramp with aplomb and panache in the state capital a few days ago and drove home the point that fashion and style are not just for size zero models or affluent individuals who speak “brands” fluently.

Show stoppers Pooja Mishra (L) with Blind Miss India 2016 finalist Jhoomri Biswal at Mode, a fashion show for visually impaired girls

Twenty-year-old Rashmita Jena, one of the visually impaired models gushed with pride, “I was not nervous at all. It took us a day to prep for the show. We begun with dress reharsals in the morning, the afternoon was devoted to fittings and styling with the designer and finally the make-up session commenced. The organisers made us feel very comfortable and encouraged us during the show.”

The visually impaired models line-up also included Poornima Mohanty, Muni Purti (who was the captain of Odisha’s blind women’s cricket team), Sita Behera, Puja Dehuri and 12-year-old Archita Samal, who were all escorted on the stage by professional models. Blind Miss India 2016 finalist Jhoomri Biswal walked out as the showstopper with Pooja Mishra, the organiser of this event, titled Mode held at the conclusion of Kalinga International Film Festival.

“Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. We want to eradicate the misconception that fashion is just for an entitled community in the society. I wanted to give these girls an opportunity to be stars of the evening and steal the show with their beauty and confidence, ” said Pooja.

Seven visually impaired models along with Pooja Mishra, the organiser

These fashionistas were styled by Madhusmita Panda and her label Weaver Ants and dolled up by Headturners (Chandrasekharpur). The show was directed by city-based event choreographer Rana Biswal.

The glittering fashion show ‘Mode’ organised at KIIT

The excitement was palpable in the voice of Jhoomri, a Plus III 2nd year student of Ravenshaw University, as she narrated her exprience, “I could hear the cheer of 5,000-strong crowd at the show and it was a dream come true for me. I had always wanted to be a celebrity. Being styled with glamorous attire and make-up and being escorted by models on the ramp before this huge an audience, definitely made me feel like one.”

Fashion show with a difference

Kalinga International Film Festival presents first ever ramp walk by visually impaired. The girls lighted up the ramp in style by breaking all stereotypes of fashion and beauty and proving fashion is not only for elite. #KIIT University sets an example by the celebration of Equality emboldening Vision, not sight because beauty lies in the eyes of beholders.

Posted by KIIT – Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology on Tuesday, 7 November 2017

As Yves Saint Laurent, the French fashion designer, would have saidI have always believed that fashion was not only to make women more beautiful, but also to reassure them, give them confidence.


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