Italian fashion designer Giorgio Armani once said: “Sports will always be important in global culture, and so fashion, as a reflection of cultural trends, will always incorporate influences from sports.” Connecting both these worlds – sports and fashion – is one common factor and that’s entertainment. Be it on-field or off-field sportspersons such as tennis star Sania Mirza, shuttler Saina Nehwal, hockey player Udita Duhan or cricketer Hardik Pandya, each one of them have won hearts. And joining them on this stylish journey is none other than ace pugilist and Olympian medallist Lovlina Borgohain. Lovlina recently turned showstopper for fashion designer duo Bidyut and Rakesh at the Northeast Festival in Guwahati.
Draped in a traditional mulberry silk paat sari, Lovlina looked stunning as she walked gracefully on the ramp. She took to Instagram to share her experience and wrote: I was thoroughly overwhelmed and ecstatic to be the Show Stopper at Northeast Festival held in Guwahati. It was an immense pleasure to wear @bidyut_rakesh wedding collection and share the ramp alongside. Just loved the traditional Mulberry Silk Paat saree. Sincere thanks to @shyammahanta Sir for the invitation. I was truly humbled with the immense love of everyone. It was a great pleasure to see @_adilhussain and @Zubinji at the event.(sic)”
Over the years, the Indian fashion industry has seen many celebrities from the world of sports grace the fashion runway with pizazz. Here’s a look at some of the iconic runway moments:
The Queen of the Court: Sania Mirza
Be it on the court or the runway, Sania Mirza knows how to ace it in style. Though her style quotient is always a mix of casual and chic looks with a hint of drama, Sania has never shied away from experimenting with her fashion choices. In 2018, Sania turned showstopper for fashion designer Anushree Reddy in a voluminous embroidered pink lehenga set.
Again, in February 2020, she was back on the runway at Lakme Fashion Week, slaying it in monochrome handloom ensemble for label Eka. She posted a pic on Instagram and wrote: Had a blast show stopping for @ekaco handloom collection in collaboration with the Telangana Government at @lakmefashionwk last night (sic).
The Runway Rockstar: Hardik Pandya
When fashion designer Amit Aggarwal showcased his first ever luxury pret collection FLUX in 2019 he had Indian cricketer Hardik Pandya play muse. Dressed in a tulle trench with recycled polymer details created in collaboration with R-Elan free flow fabric, the look completed Hardik to the T.
A Perfect Fit For Fashion: PV Sindhu
Shuttler and Olympian Silver Medalist PV Sindhu won hearts in the fashion industry when she made her runway debut in 2019. The Padma Bhushan awardee walked for footwear brand Misfit Panda and wore a pair of chic gladiator sneakers. Sindhu who loves to dress up was seen wearing a white asymmetrical dress designed by Rashmi Nagpal along with the footwear.
The Unstoppables: Deepa Malik and Udita Duhan
“Fashion should be for all, just like sports is for all,” expressed Paralympian Deepa Malik, when News18 spoke to her. Deepa and Indian hockey player Udita Duhan were part of fashion designer Rina Dhaka’s digital showcase for FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week in 2021. The showcase which was titled The Unstoppables resonated with the spirit of Deepa and Udita who followed their passion and never gave up.
The Ultimate Stud: Ravi Kumar Dahiya
Olympic Silver medallist Ravi Kumar Dahiya made his runway debut with fashion designer Mohammed Mazhar’s show in 2021. Dressed in an Indo-Boho rustic styled outfit, Ravi stunned the glamour world and fashion fraternity with his graceful yet stylish appearance in the digital showcase of the show. In an interview with News18, the wrestling icon shared that dressing up in designer outfits and walking the ramp was as exciting as wrestling.
Bhaichung Bhutia in Label Kuzu
Giving sustainable fashion a stylish twist on the runway was Indian former professional footballer Bhaichung Bhutia. He walked the ramp for Kuzu by Karma Sonam Bhutia in 2018 and had everyone cheering for him while he strutted in style.
Little Miss Sunshine: Saina Nehwal
Olympic medallist and badminton player Saina Nehwal’s fashion sense is elegant and classy. In 2019, Saina turned showstopper for label Magnoliaá By Vaani Raghupathy. Dressed in an ochre-gold lehenga with a fully embroidered blouse and dupatta, Saina was all smiles on the runway.
A Box-er of Surprises: MC Mary Kom
Mijwan Welfare Society’s Sonnets in Fashion by Manish Malhotra in 2012 saw an array of celebrities walking the ramp in vibrant ensembles. Making her a fashion statement with her presence was Indian boxer MC Mary Kom. Dressed in a pink anarkali with an embellished border around the waist and end of the sleeves, the look was completed with a red sheer dupatta with a gold border.
Captain Cool & Chic: Mithali Raj
In 2020, Indian cricketer Mithali Raj made her runway debut with Payal Singhal’s fashion show. The Captain of the Women’s Indian cricket team looked stunning as she walked down the ramp in a pale blush off-shoulder crop top and lehenga with applique and zardozi work.
Post the show, Mithali took to Instagram and wrote: The coming together of @payalsinghal & @corcalforbeauty was such an apt collaboration, celebrating the beauty in strength. We focus so much on looking good that we forget to ‘feel’ good! Strong is beautiful! (sic).