Dubai: Considered one of the youngest fashion designers in Asia, she has designed more than 200 outfits ever since she turned 10. Now 14, Dubai-based Apeksha Bonoj has her own fashion brand, Apek, with international models sashaying down the ramp in her outfits.
As the New Year sets in, the Indian teenager has taken her fashion design to the next level, using it for a social cause.
The UAE-raised girl has made a 2020 calendar with models in her creations posing with rescued and adopted dogs. The idea is to spread the message of pet adoption.
Apeksha has used her “Gleam Cocktail Collection” to make the calendar themed around “Paws for a Cause”.
The Year 10 student at the Winchester School in Jebel Ali tied up with Saluki International Rescue and private owners who adopted rescued dogs for the project.
A pet lover herself with two dogs, she decided to use dogs along with her muses after she learnt about many painful stories of abandonment and animal cruelty.
“There are lots of dogs that were getting abandoned and were rescued,” Apeksha told Gulf News.
“They were injured and starving. Many were caged for several months, with some eventually being put to sleep.”
Adopting such dogs, instead of buying dogs on sale, is a practice Apeksha wants pet lovers to embrace.
The dog models in the calendar include three Salukis, two Dalmatian sisters, a German Shepard, a Great Dane, a Chow-Chow and a Rottweiler – who are all adopted.
Stunning looks, sad stories
Though they look stunning in the calendar photos, some of the dogs have sad stories.
“One of the Dalmatians is deaf and had lost most of her fur. The Chow-Chow was sick and was abandoned. The black Saluki was abandoned in a desert,” said Apeksha.
Shot by international fashion photographer Vipin Hari, the calendar showcases different shades of glamour blended with the innocence and elegance of the rescued and adopted dogs.
The photographer and the models – Lanita Noronha, Maureen Waithera and Margo Dumas — were equally excited to be part of the project championing a social cause.
Shooting with the dogs was, however, not easy. When the four-legged friends became camera-friendly, the result was great, said Apeksha.
“We all worked as a team and managed to get some amazing pictures.”
The calendar, which will be gifted to animal rescue centres, welfare activists and others, also carries some inspiring messages that promote pet adoption.