Fashion designer and rights activist Wendell Rodricks passed away at his home in Goa on Wednesday evening, his family said.
Rodricks, a well-known name in the fashion industry in both India and abroad, was also awarded the Padma Shri.
Rodricks, who was ailing for some time, had handed over his designing label to his protege Schulen Fernandes a few years ago and chose to focus more on his private projects including a museum and writing books.
“Deeply shocked to hear about the passing away of acclaimed fashion designer Padma Shri Wendell Rodricks. My condolences to his family. May his soul rest in peace,” Leader of Opposition in Goa Digambar Kamat tweeted.
Wendell was outspoken on several issues including the rights for the LGBTQ community. In 2018, he had urged the leaders of the Catholic Church to help the LGBTQ community, their families and friends and bring them closer to the Church.
“I will be the public face of this endeavour to establish a hotline to assist LGBTQ and family/friends who need guidance and support to keep the faith,” Rodricks had said after meeting Cardinal Oswald Gracias in Mumbai. “I was moved to tears when Cardinal Gracias not only gave his total approval and support but also agreed to advise his clergy to be more compassionate and less condemning of the LGBTQ community,” he had added.
Rodricks was among the first Indians to come out openly as gay in the early 2000s
Rodricks also championed several environmental causes including that in his own village of Colvale where he spent the last few years of his life.
Rodricks who was on course to launch a museum at his ancestral house had barely a week ago tweeted images of finishing touches being done on the Moda Goa Museum that was due to be inaugurated.
He had authored several books on fashion with specific focus on historical aspects including The Green Room, Moda Goa and Poskem, a novel based on the lives of ‘Poskem’ — children in Goa who were often adopted by rich aristocratic families only to serve around the household.
The funeral will be held on Thursday afternoon.