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Women of Substance walk the ramp for Designer Salim Asgarally and Smile Foundation

Women of Substance walk the ramp for Designer Salim Asgarally and Smile Foundation

by The Daily Eye Team April 22 2014, 5:45 pm Estimated Reading Time: 7 mins, 41 secs

“Children being children, are unable to ask for and take what is rightfully theirs. Child rights aren’t simply child rights. They are women’s rights, they are human rights. An un-empowered woman cannot empower her child. It is left to us, the adults, the men, the women, the mothers and fathers to empower ourselves in order to give our children what is owed to them. Empowered children grow up to be empowered adults. This is a small spark that we need to turn into a roaring inferno that can never be put out.”

Shaheen Bhatt

The ‘RED by Salim Asgarally’ Fashion gala began with a short video as an introduction to this specially created line by the designer himself, where he made a moving appeal to “remember a child in need every time they saw the colour red.”

Resplendent in RED, one by one they walked out into the spotlight, dazzling the audience with their charm and grace, each one, a Woman of Substance, an achiever in her own chosen field. These were women who write, produce and direct films and television shows, but wear their accolades lightly on their shoulders. They walked the ramp in lovely garments designed to complement their personas, which added to their beauty and allure.

On Saturday, April 19, 2014, ACEE The Third Eye presented Salim Asgarally’s latest collection RED for the Ramp for Champs fashion gala where haute couture lent its elegant hand to the cause of Child Rights.

ACEE THE THIRD EYE– is empowering the creative leadership of the media and entertainment industries of India with accurate information on key health, legal, gender and social issues through expert advice, tracking change and measuring impact of content across all media platforms.

The gala was organized by the SMILE FOUNDATION which is a national level development organization reaching out to more than 2,00,000 underprivileged children and youth directly. About 160 welfare projects are operational across 25 states of India, covering subjects like education, healthcare, livelihood, women empowerment and advocacy.

First was the lovely Soni Razdan-Bhatt in a purple and red outfit with intricate embroidery, accentuating her delicate frame, and charming the audience with her glowing smile. Well-known for her portrayal of strong women characters, Theatre, TV and Film Actor, Producer and Director, Soni is an active advocate of women’s issues and child rights.

She was followed by the regal Veena Bakshi, in a flowing red ensemble flattering her slender frame. Conscientious Ad-Film Maker with celebrated companies and an impressive list of clients, Veena Bakshi wrote and directed her first feature film, The Coffin Maker which has won the 2014 National Award for the Best Feature film in the English Language Film. The weak and the voiceless hold a special place in her heart.

Then came the dynamic Aroona Bhat in a fiery orange and red outfit that highlighted her persona and complemented her joie de vivre.

Multi-talented Aroona is an Image Consultant, Film and TV Producer and owner of a retail garment line, visiting faculty, and a Limca Book Record Holder in the creative art of Bindis. She is an advocate for the cause of Child Rights with special focus on Child Sexual Abuse.

A black and red knee-length dress brought out the mesmerizing charm of Shrishti Behl-Arya, who took to the ramp like a natural. She walked on, unfazed despite a shoe malfunction and quickly became the darling of the audience even as she blew kisses to them.

Clad in happy-red ensemble, embellished by soft cream embroidery, the elegant and gentle Gajra Kottary was the next to come onto the ramp. Academic topper, journalist with special interest in human rights issues, published author in English and Hindi, much awarded Story and Screenplay Writer for television serials like Ballika Vaddhu which take on the issue of Child Marriage and other contemporary social evils, Gajra Kottary is an active supporter for women’s rights and child rights.

Then flanked by two little girls, walked in the petite and confident Shaheen Bhattwhose glowing smile and Cleopatra-like demeanour had the audience transfixed. Effortless in her stride and perfectly silhouetted in a flame-of-the forest red outfit, she was the breathtakingly beautiful Showstopper.

Scriptwriter and director Shaheen Bhatt is an ardent supporter of child rights. Soft spoken and blessed with a wisdom way beyond her years, she prefers her pen to do her talking.

Then, the designer, Salim Asgarally himself came on to the stage and walked along-with his six lovely models to the clapping and cheering audience.

“I believe if every business directed a small part of its profits towards positive social change and in uplifting the underprivileged in our society the world would be a happier and more equitable place to live in devoid of strife, stress and poverty,” said designer Salim Asgarally when asked about what his thoughts were about his participation in the event. Adding further, Asgarally said, “We at Salim Asgarally’s support the cause of the Smile Foundation to educate over a 1000 children in India through the Style for Smile Show. It fills me with great joy to realise that my talent and creativity can besides dressing women to look gorgeous, also bring light into the lives of children through education thereby laying the foundation of a better tomorrow for the whole world.The collection created especially for this show was showcased by 6 very special ‘Women of Substance’ who not only are achievers in their own spaces but are supporters of positive social change through their work in television and films. This collection is designed primarily in the colour RED which signifies love, compassion and a heart that bleeds for the needy to urge one and all to be sensitive to the plight of the children that need our help.”

Eloquent in their support of the cause, our WOMEN OF SUBSTANCE had the following to say.

Gajra Kottary – “Neither yours nor mine, all the world’s children are ours. Let us give every child what she deserves and help build her today and our tomorrow.”

Soni Razdan – “A country that cannot protect its children cannot call itself a society, let alone an evolved society. It’s shocking that fifty percent of Indian children do not go to school, and 95 of every thousand children do not see the age of five. Children in India really have it very tough. Those that have a childhood are either from affluent families or just plain lucky. As long as children suffer the way they do, any claims to us being a forward thinking, growth oriented nation are nothing but a hollow sham.”

Shrishti Arya– “It is heart breaking that today we need to draw attention to child rights. There is no one on this planet that has not been a child and no way for the continuance of society without the child. At yet we are here today, trying to make known, the importance of child rights. Is it any wonder then, the state of our nation and in fact the state of the world at large? Children are our roots and our wings. They form the inextricable link to our past and also embody the hopes of our future. And there is no future without the empowerment of the child. It’s quite simply survival for Civilisation 1.0 . Thank you Smile foundation for giving me the opportunity to do something to raise awareness for this most crucial issue and to Salim, who adds aesthetic to this endeavour to draw attention towards child rights.”

Veena Bakshi- “The saddest sight is that of a violated child. Children being easy targets are the first to suffer when it comes to the wrath of an adult primarily out of ego. Then it doesn’t matter if it is a war situation or a drought. Neglect is the next most heinous crime against children. The mute cry of a violated child is one of the saddest sounds on earth. We as responsible adults and filmmakers must work together to bring back the sounds of laughter to the lips of children. Let the kids be kids. There is nothing that lights up brighter than a child’s smile. Let us light up the world with more smiles.”


Salim Asgarally who trained extensively at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising and the University of California in Los Angeles, is one among India’s first formally trained fashion designers. His creations can be found on the racks of chic fashion houses like OGAAN Mumbai and New Delhi, ZOYA and FUEL in Mumbai, Pune and Ahmedabad, IRIS and SADE in Pune, FFOLIO Bangalore, and SAUCE Dubai, besides his own studio in Mumbai.

Tha Salim Asgarally label has three design ranges- Couture, Pret-a-Porter and Home Accessories.

Apart from his Annual Showing in Mumbai, Salim Asgarally has created special lines for fashion events by prestigious brands, dressed celebrities from the film and television world, created costumes for eminent filmmakers like KalpanaLajmi and Pooja Bhatt, conducted lectures, workshops and seminars, judged high profile fashion events and mentored students of design.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The writers are solely responsible for any claims arising out of the contents of this article.