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Manipuri designer helps flood victims through Fashion Show

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Bengaluru: Manipuri designer Robert Naorem is hosting the Kanglei Fashion Extravaganza here on Sunday to raise funds to help the flood victims in northeast – and also promote the region.

Now in its third year, the show was earlier titled Manipur Fashion Extravaganza and was held in the state’s capital Imphal.

“I always wished to take the show to different cities of the country to spread awareness about northeast. There are a lot of issues going on in my hometown so, at this point of time I don’t want to do a show in Manipur. The show promotes fashion and our culture, and youth from the state.

“I changed the name of the show to Kanglei Fashion Extravaganza as Kanglei is another word for Manipur. It has more impact,” Naorem, now based here, told IANS.

Robert_Naorem
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While the focus will be on the fashion pieces from Manipur, he says the show is a tribute to the northeast.

“There will be five designers mostly from Manipur. I wish I could get more designers from other northeast states. But we will be showcasing a few pieces focussing on Arunachal Pradesh too. Then there are a few models from Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. The show is a tribute to the northeast and also to help flood victims of the region,” said the 29-year-old.

“Dynamic Manipur foundation is our cause partner. The entry is free so that we can get as many people as possible to watch the show and contribute to the cause. There will be a donation box at the venue,” added Naorem, who will be the finale designer as well.

He is set to entice the audience with what he is best at — Manipuri handloom work.

“I will open my show with gowns then move on to Indian saris with thread work and more, and finally present our traditional attire – phee and phanek,” said the designer-cum-make-up expert.

Since he is doing a show in the capital of Karnataka, he has roped in a designer to present a collection dedicated to the state. “I felt that there should be a link between northeast and Karnataka.”

The show, organised at a budget of Rs.16 lakh, will also see models from Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi. “Popular models like Carol Gracias and Nayanika Chatterjee will walk for us,” he said.

Why no Bollywood names?

“We all know that Manipur doesn’t allow Bollywood. Besides, the concept will be diverted to something else,” said the designer, who has been in the industry for a decade now.

But he would like to take the show to the hub of Bollywood – Mumbai and even Delhi as he wants to create awareness about the region as much as possible.

(By Natalia Ningthoujam, IANS)

Next Story

Ugandan Pageant Combat HIV Stigma

Reaching young teens and young adults is key to halting the spread of HIV

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Kabasambo Esther Winner Beauty Pageant
Kabasambo Esther Winner of the Miss Y+ Beauty Pageant 2019-2020 in Kampala Uganda waves to the audience. VOA

Nearly one-third of Uganda’s new HIV infections occur among 15-to-25-year-olds, who say that although there has been progress, stigma is still a problem. To raise awareness ahead of World AIDS Day on December 1, Uganda holds an annual fashion show and beauty pageant for young people infected with the virus that causes AIDS and calls them the Young Positives.

The pomp, dance and fashion were on display November 22 at the pageant finale in Kampala. But the aim of this annual show is not just to display beauty and talent.

“You’re HIV-positive — you’re a moving dead body, or you’re promiscuous,” said Nicholas Niwagaba, who is with the pageant organizer, the Uganda Network of Young People Living with HIV and AIDS. “We are trying to change that narrative to say that young people living with HIV or people living with HIV are  human beings. We want the community to accept them.”

Education on HIV prevention is also a key part of the Young Positives pageant, which displays condoms and promotes safe sex.

UNAIDS says about 6 percent of Ugandans are HIV-positive, one of the highest rates in East Africa. But there has been progress in Uganda’s fight against HIV. AIDS-related deaths dropped by nearly 60% in 2018, UNAIDS said.

 Beauty Pageant 2019-2020
Mr. and Miss Y+ Beauty Pageant 2019-2020 in Kampala Uganda. VOA

Reaching young teens and young adults is key to halting the spread of HIV, said Nelson Musoba of the Uganda AIDS Commission.

“It matters how the message is packaged and who carries this message,” he said. “And the current generation — fashion, music, working with celebrities is one way to transmit the message to the young people. And we find this very attractive. You can see the attention it’s generating; you can see the participation.”

Nineteen-year-old tailor Timothy Kabogoza and one of his five siblings were born HIV-positive. He said he tried to keep his status a secret, but his friends found out and started pointing fingers.

“And for real, I tried to cover up that thing,” he said. “But when I come back in my room, I’ll be like, ‘My God, this guy has said something, oh, my God’.”

ALSO READ: How to Take an HIV Test in Delhi?

But participation in the Young Positives beauty pageant boosted Kabogoza’s confidence. And, at this year’s contest, he took second place.

Kabogoza said he wants to pass on an upbeat message to other HIV-positive youth: Take your anti-retro viral medication — something he acknowledges he has not always been consistent about — and stop the self-shaming. (VOA)