That is why instead of sizes such as large and extra-large, Wendell Rodricks has medium, voluptuous and voluptuous goddess
“I design for the average Indian woman. She is the inspiration, the final buyer, the one who makes me happy that I have achieved my job of making her look taller, slimmer more beautiful,” says Goa-based fashion designer Wendell Rodricks who pioneered the concept of minimalism in the Indian fashion circuit. He admits as much, saying that his clothes are, “Minimal, eco-friendly, have a resort flavour, international wearability and are cut using geometry and maths. I try to use new fabrics that are exciting. I really enjoy fabrics that have texture and feel good on the human body. It isn’t just about how clothes look but about how they feel,”
He uses his shirt to get to the crux of what he stands for, “When I first designed the kurta shirt, I took a cue from Chanel, which was reduce, reduce until you get the essence. A normal Western shirt may have a cuff and a placket but I realised that I did not need all of that,” he says adding with a laugh, “I developed this sort of shirt in 1991 and I wish I had done a patent of it because now, the whole world seems to have taken it. Today you can find it on the roadside in Janpath and in a high fashion boutique at Christian Dior.”
He is passionate about his Goan roots, which have consistently fed into his designs. “I’m patriotically Indian but a true Goan son of the soil,” he says adding that one of the projects he is working on is a children’s book based on the History of Goa.
Another thing he is passionate about is sizing, “I detest people telling their wives and mothers that they are fat. I hate that word and I refuse to have sizes like large, extra-large etc. Clothes can’t always be in a skinny size for skinny people. My sizes are called slim, medium, voluptuous and voluptuous goddess and the clothes in my shop are not hung by colour but by size. This way a woman doesn’t get frustrated—I’ve had women cry in my shop because they have found clothes that fit them.”
On his penchant for asymmetrical cuts he says that it is an Indian thing and uses the sari to elucidate his point, “What an intelligent garment the sari is! If you don’t meddle with it the sari cuts across the body in a diagonal line and falls into a pallu. The colours of line move in a diagonal that completely elongates and narrows the body. Also, where you want to appear longest in the leg, we have six to eight pleats. Nothing enhances a woman’s body the way a sari does. A horizontal cut just makes you look wider,”
Talking about his latest collection for the Wills India Fashion Week he says, “It is called Source Of Youth where I have travelled to the source of humanity, which is Africa, as its central theme. When you say African everyone imagines loud, colourful, clothing. But there is a new Africa emerging that is elegant and youthful. I have played with very few colours — white, black and red for the most part, also indigo blue and golden yellow. We have chosen African tracks and beautiful Somali and Ethiopian models. Everything is centred around beauty and youth. It is going to be a fun show and I am looking forward to it,” he says.
He admits however, that Indian fashion has a long way to go, “We have not yet arrived but we will get there eventually. We have done remarkably well in terms of progress — our fashion weeks are only 13-years-old but we have managed to take long stride in those 13 years. We used to have models wearing their own shoes and doing their own makeup and hair. That’s changed. Everything is more streamlined, more international. I am looking forward to that day when Indian designers begin to have shops all over the world — in London, Paris, Milan, Tokyo.”