Siolim-based international pageant mentor and fashion designer, Melvyn Noronha, has won the Best National Costume for India at the Universal Teen International Contest by Juan Arthuro Ramirez in Cancun, Mexico.
The theme of Melvyn's costume was based on 'Indian Warrior of Literature and Gender Equality' and was made in honour of renowned Indian literateur, Rabindranath Tagore.
Under the national directorship of Himadri Bhatnagar, the costume was worn by Universal Teen India 2023, Sanjana Saxena, from Delhi.
The aim of the costume was to highlight the contributions of Rabindranath Tagore, who was one of the first non-Europeans and the first lyricist to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, in addition to writing the Indian National Anthem.
Speaking on the occasion, Melvyn said, "Evolving from the time when the voices of women were silenced, it is the courage to write that took forward the cause of feminine liberation, and led Indian women to be the strong educated leaders that they are today."
The costume featured a shield, bearing an image of Tagore, and represents his work which protected women; a sword of equality, designed with a protective base; moustache of a man; free flowing woman's hair; a meditative time travel chakra as her body halo, depicting the strong evolution of a woman from suppression to progressive leadership.
Covered in copper jewellery, the costume symbolises the cure of society from stereotypes and freeing it through literature.
Traditional brocade fabric, weaved with metal thread, sets the base of the costume, while the face is covered with jewellery.
Melvyn explains, "She may not speak, but her voice will still be heard as the voices of young girls chime, and they write their hearts towards freedom with the power of education."
He concludes by saying that this is the time for women, and they cannot be stopped as they strive towards excellence, leadership and acceptance.