Wendell Rodricks awarded "Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters"
French Distinction “Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters” conferred on Wendell Rodricks
On behalf of the French government, H.E. Mr François Richier, Ambassador of France to India, conferred the insignia of Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters (Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) on designer and haut couturier Wendell Rodricks, on board the French Navy frigate Chevalier Paul on 27 April 2015, in Goa.
The honour came in recognition of a designer engagé who has tirelessly showcased Goa and revived its traditional weaves through his work. Wendell Rodricks has longstanding ties with France, where he attended fashion design courses and was the first Indian designer to be invited to the Paris prêt-à-porter salon in 2007. He has also ably helmed the Alliance française de Goa as its President.
Wendell Rodricks studied Fashion Designing in the USA and France from 1986 to 1988. A designer with an international presence, Rodricks is known for his philanthropy and activism for social, environmental and cultural causes. He designed the Visionnaire collection, a worldwide pioneering collection to help the visually challenged read Braille on clothes, and has since designed clothing for differently abled persons. He revived the weaving of the traditional Goan Kunbi Sari, a two year project involving identifying and training weavers in the use of sari looms. The Eco Goa Room at Wendell Rodricks Design Space promotes garments using only natural dyes procured from tribals in the Western Ghats who used age-old eco-friendly techniques.
In 2014, Wendell Rodricks was awarded the Padma Shri by the President of India, Pranab Mukharjee for Art (Fashion Design).
The French government distinction Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) is conferred on “persons who have distinguished themselves by their creativity in the field of art, culture and literature or for their contribution to the influence of arts in France and throughout the world.” Some noted Indian recipients of this honour in the past include Bharti Kher, Subodh Gupta, Shahrukh Khan, Pt Hariprasad Chaurasia, Aishwarya Rai, Raghu Rai, Ebrahim Alkazi, Habib Tanveer, and Upamanyu Chatterjee.