Laxmi: Bringing Courage to the Fashion World
Boldly facing the world after a truly traumatic event, Laxmi Agarwal has taken the fashion world by storm, not only by becoming the face of Indian fashion apparel company Viva N Diva, but also a spokesperson against acid attacks. At the age of 15, Laxmi was attacked with acid by a 32-year-old man for denying his marriage proposal. "It felt cold first. Then I felt an intense burning. Then the liquid melted my skin," she remembers from the attack.
Since that day, she has flourished and has become an advocate against the unregulated sale of acids and for enforcing stricter consequences for perpetrators of acid attacks. Viva N Diva, who chose Laxmi as a model, said that choosing her was to change the outlook of people towards fashion and spreading a diverse sense of what is considered "beautiful" in a campaign named "Face of Courage".
"The problem is not just in being a victim but also your victimisation by the society. We are treated as if we are good for nothing and as if our lives are a waste," she said.
The co-founder of Viva N Diva Rupesh Jhawar first got the idea after seeing a calendar featuring acid attack survivors. "For a moment I had seen beauty in a very different way and we wanted to capture it - remove any speck of being a victim from those eyes and give them a stage, an employment, a platform, a medium to flaunt it with style," he said about his decision.
Laxmi is also the director of Chhanv Foundation, which is a NGO dedicated to protecting acid attack suriviors in India. U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama awarded her the 2014 International Women of Courage Award for all her work. Laxmi Agarwal is a ray of hope signifying the changing scope of the fashion world's potential, and beacon of light inspiring acid attack victims to come forward and not lose their courage.
Watch the behind-the-scenes video from Laxmi's photoshoot.
Feature image via