Fashion may be her forte, but the reason she does it is what Sanjana Jon likes to emphasise on. A social activist at heart, it was always part of her creativity. In Hyderabad for the International Fashion Week, the designer showcased a collection to promote awareness about two causes: female foeticide and prevention of cruelty towards animals. “Female foeticide is something I took up seriously and I’ve been working against,” Sanjana says.
“We also raised awareness about prevention of cruelty against animals. The recent outrage about the massacre of street dogs in Kerala — we’re nobody to say no, but it’s a humble request: Don’t kill them, sterilise them and give them rabies shots.”
For her eye for social cause, she owes it all to her grandfather. “He always told us to be thankful to God for even the basic things we take for granted, like food and water,” she says.
So what is she — a fashion designer or a social activist? “Fashion to me is a medium to the end. And that end is, hopefully, to make this world a better place,” she says.
Family played an important role in her career. While her grandmother’s and mother’s Eastern and Western influences respectively gave her a wide view of design aesthetics, it was her brother, designer Anand Jon who really inspired her. “He made me realise that for the kind of work I wanted to do, this would help so much,” Sanjana says.
Sanjana’s love for her brother has helped her become the driving force behind his eight-and-a-half year fight against the sexual assault accusations against him in the US, for which he’s currently serving a 59-year sentence. “Forty-eight out of 49 counts were dropped in New York, and we had to take a plea for just that one count so that we could get the discovery for Los Angeles,” Sanjana explains. “One of the counts was actually ‘tried to kiss me — chumma karne ka koshish kiya’, and for that he got six years. He took a lie detector test and passed it while the women refused to. Why? Today, it’s not about man vs woman, it’s about what’s right and wrong.”