Remembering Wendell

Today would’ve been the 60th birthday of Wendell Rodricks, the late fashion designer who placed the state of Goa on the world’s fashion map. A child born in Bombay with a simple lifestyle grew up to be world-famous and meet many celebrities. He was an inspiration to many, especially aspiring fashion designers.

Sheryl Gonsalves| NT GoGoaNow

Picture Credit – SHIVANG MISHRA | Nt GoGoaNow

“From a young age people asked my advice as to the choice of a wall colour, what accessories go with a dress, decorations for a party, etc. This was at the age of seven. Later I began to draw sketches of everything from teachers to scenery. By the time I turned twenty I knew it was fashion because I began to sketch clothes. But I had to do fashion much later at 26 after a career in hotel management,” he had told NT GoGoaNow.

 Wendell didn’t use television, magazines, and newspapers for ideas but loved creating new things. He was known as the ‘Guru of Minimalism’ and won a Padma Shree award in his lifetime. “Goa has played a huge part in my philosophy. If I gave India minimalism, resort wear and eco-friendly clothing, it is only because of the tremendous influence of Goa,” said Rodricks. One of his last plans was converting his old home into the ‘Moda Goa Museum.

Here are some lines that are taken from Wendell’s book ‘The Green Room’ which talks about how he revived the Goan Kunbi Sari: “When we began weaving scarves with natural dyes, I became obsessed with the idea of weaving a sari in Goa. The only sari of the state belonged to a tribe called the Kunbis.” “I set about planning a revival. We worked with weavers for a year.” “I used different elements to create a Wendell Rodricks sari with the Kunbi weave. Using lines, checks, and ikat, the sari began to take shape.” “I wanted to do this for Goa so badly. To leave a cultural legacy of fabric for my state.”

The Wendell Rodricks Design Space in Panaji, Goa is in a more than half a century old Portuguese house with a grey themed interior with a lovely view. Each room has different themes: The white clothes room, Eco-friendly clothes room, Menswear room, Linen room and the Coloured room. The styles change according to seasons and occasions like Valentine’s Day, Christmas and Summer collection. People who visited his boutique had nothing but praise for the clothes designed by him and described it as ‘timeless’, ‘a perfect shopping destination’, ‘good quality – clothes lasted for more than 15 years’, and more.

 R.I.P Wendell. Goa misses you and shall always remember you.