‘Fashion Meets Autism’ – Instagram session focuses on inclusion in fashion
Fashion needs of people on the autism spectrum is something that needs to be taken up on a large scale and that is exactly what celebrity fashion and lifestyle influencer Shubh Malhotra and Darshana Sawant, parent to a child with autism are out to do. They hosted an Instagram live session called ‘Fashion Meets Autism’ that focused on different fashion trends for people with autism.
The lockdown and scare of Coronavirus spread made people stay indoors. Experts have pointed out that the best thing to do right now is stay inside your homes so that the virus infection does not spread at a rapid rate. Hence, many events are being held online as live and interactive sessions on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Recently, ChaiKoffee held the ‘Fashion meets Autism’ Instagram live which was a grand success. Hundreds of people viewed the session which was hosted by celebrity fashion and lifestyle influencer, producer and director Shubh Malhotra. Her queries were answered by Darshana Sawant, President, Forum for Autism.
Why fashion for people with autism important
Even today, fashion or trends for disabled people are not included in mainstream. In India, there are hundreds of youngsters with autism who aspire to be models, but are denied platforms to showcase their talents. Youngsters like Pranav Bakshi, India’s first model with autism, are showing the right path. But there is still a long way to go.
Real inclusion happens only when everyone is given equal opportunities, regardless of whether they have a disability or not.
Details of the session
Shubh worked closely along with children who have autism for over eight years in the USA. According to her, most people do not even know what autism is or understands it even today in India.
Shubh always wanted to do something for youngsters from the autism community in India. That is when she met Darashana. Together, they decided to hold a fashion event for youngsters under autism spectrum. Due to lockdown, their plans got postponed. So instead of delaying it further, they decided to do an online live session. On the Instagram live that happened on 19 May, Shubh and Darshana discussed various topics related to fashion and autism.
“April was Autism Awareness Month and that is when we wanted to do an event. But it did not happen due to lockdown. But we could do this online. There are many problems and challenges faced by children with autism and their parents too. I hope to put children with autism into mainstream. For our live ‘Fashion meets Autism’, we got some great responses too”, says Shubh.
Darshana, who has a son with autism, spoke about the different types of clothes that people with autism love to wear, how they would like to carry it and so on. The one hour session was exciting and interesting.
“People with disabilities like wheelchair users and those with Down syndrome get lots of platform to showcase their talents in fashion and style. But youngsters with autism are often denied platforms. By giving them opportunities, we can enhance their self-confidence and esteem. Every person has emotions. Some people express it differently”, says Shubh.
ChaiKoffee, which is Shubh’s own venture, held the event which was powered by Khadi Fashion, an initiative by Shubh Malhotra.
The team plans to hold the event on social media again. This time, with interview from parents and children.
“We wanted people to know that having a child with autism doesn’t mean you don’t have choices in fashion. Young models like Pranav Bakshi are doing a great job. After the live session, many people from the fashion industry have started following us. They came up with questions too. I believe this is a nice and positive gesture”, says Darshana.
Watch in Sign Language
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