Published: 28th June 2018
London Calling: How designer Karan Vig went to study abroad and burst out of the closet
25-year-old Karan Vig is already a big name in the fashion industry for two reasons — for his designs and for his it's-none-of-your-business attitude towards being gay
Fashion designer Karan Vig is one the most confident gay icons in the country today. Stating the obvious, it wasn't a walk in the park. From moving to another country to leaving subtle hints social media, Karan had to literally "cross oceans" to get a Master's Degree and find his true identity. But today, he feels it was all worth it and he has a few tips for the ones who are finding it difficult to get out of the closet.
"I feel it needs people to have lots of guts to come out of the closet in a country like India where people of my community are still struggling to get their rights. It was in the year 2015, when I decided to move to England to study for a Masters in English Literature, during which I majored in Gender and Sexuality. In all sincerity, if it were not London I would not have decided to come out as early as I did. When I started going to gay community meetings/gay clubs, I thought it was cool! I started to wear shoes (which were so gay) and jewellery (the iconic gay ones) and all those brands and started to upload pictures on FB and Instagram and then my family back homeunderstood the REAL ME!" he begins, narrating his story.
It was when he started meeting people of his community in his university and attended relevant seminars in London, that things turned around, "That's where I met Amir Ashour, the founder and executive director of Iraqueer Organization. He is the first queer from a country like Iraq and a Muslim by religion. And yet, he stands so strongly and speaking about his rights. I thought if a boy from this strict community can do such thing, then why can’t I?" he said.
I honestly think that being gay is a blessing, and it’s something I am thankful for every single day of my life. I am not ashamed of being gay publically, never have been and never will be. For that I have no apologies. I just pity those who pass comments at me when they see me wearing a sari or high heels. It’s just the way I am
Karan Vig, Fashion Designer
The much-needed spark and the fact that he belonged to the fashion industry allowed him to exist the way he does, in India. "Another thing that encouraged me was my cousin family in London who were very supportive of me," he acknowledges it as the biggest support. Having said that, no matter how supportive the family is, it is always vulnerable to succumbing to societal pressure. Gradually, even the supportive family's wholehearted acceptance became a major challenge. "By family, I mean your parents and brothers. I thought of not forcing myself upon them, but to educate them about this. It worked a bit, and I am sure I will be fully accepted soon," he hopes.