After Diandra Soares - model and fashion designer - recently spoke about facing sexual abuse at the hands of socialite Suhel Seth at a party in Delhi a few years ago, model Kawaljit Singh Anand has now opened a can of worms in the fashion industry. He accused fashion designer Vijay Arora of eluding him of work after he refused to give in to his sexual demands.
Kawaljit was earlier hesitant to share his MeToo story thinking whether men would get as much support as women when they speak against their offenders. While he was waiting for other men to share their stories and name their perpetrators in the fashion world, he himself took the initiative to start a conversation about men getting sexually harassed too.
He believes that if men start getting support like women have got in the ongoing MeToo movement in India, it could open the floodgates to many more horrifying stories which would bring the dark side of the fashion industry into the light.
In a long Facebook post, Kawaljit narrated how Vijay Arora made sure he was removed from the selected models' list in multiple fashion weeks when he pushed him away when the fashion designer was trying to touch him inappropriately outside a party venue. He further stated that such grave incidents are common in the Indian fashion and modelling industry.
Read Kawaljit's full post here:
"So here I start to speak up for the boys who did not give in to the diseased system of the Indian fashion industry and hence lost jobs . I have couple of people to talk about, with infallible egos, who could not take no for an answer.
But before that I need to share one of the proof of loss of opportunity. Kindly go through the link below to an article which clearly states that I was selected for the Men's fashion week 2009 after I went for an audition, i had to go for an audition even after being a well established face and name in advertising and in fashion to some extent as that's was the only way I had since I never had a God father in the industry.
And guess what even after a confirmation by an article the next day (dated 24th August 2009) in Times of India I wasn't called for the job. This was being done to me for the 2nd time when I would clear the audition and my name would be removed later.
In 2006 a Delhi based designer told the panel openly when I went for the Lakme India fashion week Audition that neither he will use me for his show nor let any of his other friends use me for theirs so what's the point having my name in the final list. The name of the designer is Mr Vijay Arora and two of the panelists who are also big names in fashion told me this, they both will read this and if they allow I can take their names as I know their intent was to do a fair job but they were under pressure.
All this because I had pushed him away when he was trying to touch me inappropriately outside a party venue and while I was walking away angrily he told me categorically that he will make sure I never do any of the fashion weeks. He sent me nasty messages when I got in touch with him later to ask for my payment for a show that I had done for him a little while before the incident. He sent me abusive messages and in 2002 told me that he will be having a stronger hold on the selection panel and will make sure that I never get to walk for LIFW. This is after being a official model in LIFW 2001 however over the years I did walk for it for individual designers. It's so malicious of him to not let go of his vicious agenda towards harming my career.
So here comes the first name and it will only goes bigger from here.
Such and even more grave incidents are common in the Indian fashion and modeling industry and I would like other boys to come out too with their stories . I am not stopping here I need to clear this junk as I am moving into the my new life and career."