Driving down the lanes of New York city like on any other working day, 62-year-old cab driver Ajit Singh Bharath wouldn’t have thought that he will be walking the ramp at the Men’s Fashion Week the next morning. But he did! He was selected as a model for an international fashion brand called Edios.
Recently, Ajit was driving away after dropping off a customer in Midtown Manhattan when Quinton Climm, an account executive at Edios saw him. After jogging behind the vehicle for two blocks, Quinton managed to catch Ajit’s attention. He entered the cab and began talking to him about where Ajit was from, how long he has been in the city and also if he would be interested in modelling at a fashion show.
After clicking a few of Ajit’s pictures at a traffic signal, Quinton explained the theme of the spring/summer collection that Edios was displaying at the fashion week and enquired if he would be free to come in for a fitting that evening.
Ajit was a bit reluctant initially, but later Quinton spoke with his son who gave in after a certain amount of negotiating over texts and calls. The same afternoon Ajit met Antoinio Coingoli, the creative director of Eidos, who assembled his outfit for the show.
It was Antonio’s idea to have men of Indian descent to showcase the collection. He had travelled to Rajasthan on a design trip where he interacted with various washing and dyeing artists. He wanted to imbibe the aesthetics and the quiet regality in their mannerism. He looked for inspiration not only in textiles of various colours but also wanted to borrow from how the designs looked on Indians.
It is a well-known fact that the turban is not a mainstream clothing statement in the west, neither is it widely represented. For Antonio, it was essential that the collection reflects the context in which it was produced, which could be shown only through the models themselves.
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Prior to meeting Ajit, 20 people of Indian descent were chosen to walk the ramp, but it was Ajit who stood out. With his thick white beard, bushy grey moustache, colourful turban and a certain kind of grace that comes with age, Ajit personified the characters of people Antonio had met in Rajasthan.
“Throughout the whole experience, he was incredibly accommodating and polite and it was a real pleasure to get to work with him!” Quinton told The Times of India.