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Wendell Rodricks Will Be Missed For His Fashion And For His Vociferous Championing For The LGBTQ+ Community. It’s A Sad Loss

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Goodbyes are always hard. But more so when they’re unexpected. Losing a loved one is never easy, but what is even more difficult at times is to accept that the person who had meant so much to us, will now only live on, only in memory. And when you have a legacy as grand as fashion designer, Wendell Rodricks, the outpouring of grief isn’t just limited to near and dear ones but spans entire industries.

Wendell will be known for many, many things but primarily for his immeasurable contribution to the world of fashion and also being the one giving a break to a number of models who are now top models in the field or Bollywood actresses like Anushka Sharma. He passed away in his sleep at his Goa residence on Wednesday, and the news  had many known faces from the fashion and entertainment industry, expressing their sadness over the loss of an icon of this stature. Actress Anushka Sharma, among many others, took to social media to write a heartfelt eulogy to him that read, “Woke up in New Zealand to the sad news of Wendell Rodricks having passed away in his sleep. He was one of the most iconic and original designers in fashion and a champion for LGBT rights. He had given me an opportunity to close his fashion week show in Mumbai after spotting me in Bangalore at a fashion show and was gracious, kind and encouraging.”

.Anushka further continued, “He was one of the reasons I had the courage to move to Mumbai from Bangalore to pursue modelling when I was just 18 years old. RIP Wendell. My love and prayers for Jerome and the rest of his family and friends.”

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Known to have broken so many stereotypes during his service to fashion, Rodricks always believed in standing true to himself and what he believed in and always translated that through his work . In fact, he was one of the first few people who worked to get Lakme Fashion Week started and was instrumental in bringing in Indian resort wear to the forefront. He was also the one to give Mona Varonica Campbell, India’s first plus size transgender model, her first big break at the Lakme Fashion Week.

From getting his hands involved with many green initiatives at his home in Goa to being upfront and outspoken about LGBTQ+ rights, Rodricks was never the one to mince his words. He was raw, unapologetic and worked with a zeal that was contagious. During the time when article 377 was being contested to be decriminalised, Rodricks had come up to say , “People often asked me why I was so keen to see justice done done since this judgment would not change my life much; I have been living as an openly gay man for quite some time. But this is not about me. All these years, the only focus on my battle with Section 377 was that future generations of Indians should get dignity, equal rights, and not look at themselves as criminals. That being gay is natural, not criminal.”

In a largely homophobic society, he was the one championing the cause of the LGBTQ community and that was so important.

Many more celebrities and friends of Wendell, have also taken to social media sites to express their grief. Malaika Arora Khan being one of them, wrote, “RIP, our dearest Wendell Rodricks. I first sat and cried, and then I sat alone and smiled and laughed just thinking of all the beautiful, beautiful memories and moments we shared.” Others such as Namrata Shirodkar,  Waluscha De Sousa, Arjun Rampal, Jacqueline Fernandez, Richa Chadha, Rahul Khanna and Pooja Bedi also wished his soul to rest in peace, as they honoured his legacy with kind words.

We may have lost a true gem today, but with the work he put out there and the souls he touched along the way, he shall always stay with us. RIP Wendell Rodricks.

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