Here’s something to take in: Never be strapped for an outfit again! holiCHIC’s #holiCHICmyway campaign makes it possible without the last minute scramble of, “What do I wear. I don’t have anything!”
This Spring/Summer ’18, be sure to join the girl gang at holiCHIC as designer Megha Rao and creative director Pooja Desai Shah work with badass babes Richa Kalra, Joanna, Sophia, Maryam Shah, and Rohma Siddiqui to show you how a single separate can go a long way.
The women at holiCHIC styled their muses in pieces exclusive to their brand and then asked the fashion influencers to deconstruct their look with a budget, which gave them the liberty to buy or take accessories and items from their own wardrobe and redesign their stylish canvas.
[Read Related: From Runways to Design: Megha Rao and Pooja Desai Shah Talk About Everything holiCHIC]
The #holiCHICmyway campaign is breaking traditional stereotypes one outfit at a time, and we’re excited to be the exclusive partners to share all five looks plus a question-and-answer with the influencers.
All photos are courtesy of Farhat Sikder.
What is your full-time job? Blogger/Influencer
What are your long-term goals?I want to continue staying true to myself and always want my brand to be an extension of who I really am. I do regularly see negative comments and messages on my social media about having a dark(er) skin tone according to many South Asian standards of beauty and I want to continue to speak out against colorism in South Asian communities.
What words would you use to describe your style? Minimal, comfort, and fusion.
What are your 3 favorite pieces in your closet right now?Le Specs + Adam Selman The Last Lolita Cat eye sunnies, Stiletto black sock boots from Zara, and myTeddy coat from H&M.
What made you become a fashion blogger?For me, what I wear is a reflection of who I am and blogging has been an opportunity to create and bring my ideas to life. Having the ability to express my creativity and connect with other like-minded people is what made me pursue blogging full-time.
Give aspiring influencers some advice: There is a lot of competition in the industry now but that also means there are so many more opportunities to grow. Consistency is important and so is connecting with your audience. One thing to remember is that everyone has a different path to success so sometimes it’s a bit of trial and error. Learning from setbacks is also important because what works for someone else might not work you.
What is your full-time job? Psychiatry Residency
What are your long-term goals? To expand the role of media in mental health advocacy. Aside from that, ideally I also hope to work in television and film.
What words would you use to describe your style? Androgynous, eclectic and classy.
What are your 3 favorite pieces in your closet right now? Grey velvet oversized tee, an ocean blue/patterned silk kimono blazer (you can see me wearing this in one of my holiCHIC personal style looks), my leopard print faux fur coat. If you can’t tell, I also love textures!
What made you get into the social media game? It started with travel photography, but I’ve always been passionate about artistic photos. After moving to New York, I ended up crossing paths with some talented photographers and content creators whose work I loved…that’s when the collaborations began and continued as I built an appreciation for the creative space.
Give aspiring creatives some advice: Try new things — explore to find out what works for you and is most authentic to you. Most importantly, reach out, meet new people and collaborate! Through the community, I have met some incredibly inspiring people who have become the greatest of friends, and they continue to challenge me to push my own boundaries.
What is your full-time job? Optometrist
What are your long-term goals? Really broad question — to have a successful career doing the things I enjoy and a happy and healthy family life.
What words would you use to describe your style? Classic, Modern, Edgy/
What are your 3 favorite pieces in your closet right now? Leather jacket, high-waisted black denim, printed kimono.
What made you get into the social media game?I needed a creative outlet aside from medicine and what I do day-to-day. I have always had a love of photography and fashion and so it was a platform that allowed me to explore those passions.
Give some advice for aspiring influencers: Just start somewhere. Today. Right now. GO!
What is your full-time job? I work for Coach corporate but my title doesn’t really describe what I do. So, when you walk into a Coach store and you see the 3D props in the window, just know I probably designed that.
What are your long-term goals? My long-term goal is my life goal. I want to travel and see the world as cliché as it sounds. There is so much beauty in the world and I want to be able to see as much of it as I can while I’m here.
What words would you use to describe your style? Edgy, feminine, and comfortable
What are your 3 favorite pieces in your closet right now? This is a hard one. My style on a day-to-day is pretty casual. So I would have to say skinny jeans, any graphic tee, and a leather jacket — plus my combat boots.
What made you get into fashion blogging? I wouldn’t say I’m a fashion blogger or an influencer, really. But I changed my Instagram to be more fashion-centric after I’ve been working at Coach for a couple of years. It allowed me to have my own creative voice and to create something that was more for myself.
Give some advice for aspiring influencers: Just be authentic and true to who you are.
What is your full-time job? Social Media Marketing Consultant
What are your long-term goals? Sounds crazy, but I don’t have an end goal. I take everything for what it is and enjoy it as it comes.
What words would you use to describe your style? Trendy.
What are your 3 favorite pieces in your closet right now? Black Theory Coat, Mustard Heels, and my Stay Weird Tee from nohow.
What made you get into fashion blogging? I wanted to be able to create a platform to show Pakistani women that you too can embrace your creative side and be the voice for those that don’t necessarily have a space to showcase what they love aside from having a traditional career path. You know? Women should be able to embrace and love their individuality!
Give some advice for aspiring influencers: Don’t compare your progress to someone else’s. Everyone’s path is different and so is the pace of their progress. Take pride in all that you’ve accomplished and hope on accomplishing. Be consistent and give it your all! There is a place for everyone in this world, don’t be discouraged.
From humble beginnings, Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna joined forces to create the worldwide fashion design brand Rohit + Rahul. Based in one of India’s fashion capitals, Delhi, the two take an eccentric approach to designing by utilizing geometry and modern art to build their design lines. This is commonly seen in some of their more recent design lines such as the ‘Fibonacci’ line. Also, the founding members of the brand Fashion Design Council of India, Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna insert new meaning into fashion by telling a story to the younger generation. With their bold pieces, Rohit and Rahul want consumers to feel empowered and individualized.
Tell us about your journey and where it all started.
We began our design journey in 1997. We saw a significant gap in the global market between Western and Indian couture segments and [so] amalgamated our personal style statements to merge it with our conviction to cater to this deficit, and launched our brand. The brand stands for contemporary designs and embodies an aesthetic of understated red carpet creations. As designers, we believe in curating garments that are timeless and decorous. Also, we have entered our 25th year of creative partnership as an established designer brand.
Ten years from now we see our company with corporate backing, more evolved with exponential growth.
Which client are you most looking forward to working with?
The client we most look forward to working with is the youth of today. The younger audience is experimental and bold; they don’t shy away from trying new trends. We look forward to dressing clients who are ahead of their time, love to explore the world and understand our structure and silhouettes.
What was one of your favorite showcases? What was different about this showcase compared to the others you have had?
We embroidered our surface textures and did a presentation with masks which was quite unusual. Another interesting project we did was inspired by art which is the ethos of the brand. It’s our sublime passion for art that reflects in the thoughtful craftsmanship of our brand.
What was it like having a partner?
Two is a team and it is great fun working together. We take various aspects from each other’s lives and put those thoughts into our design process. We both are different personalities and critics of each other which helps us understand things better. The journey so far has been exhilarating and challenging too; we were a two-man army. Back then from managing designing to marketing, merchandising, and sales, all of it was managed by the two of us. Now, we have a team working alongside us which makes us feel we have come a long way.
What interests do you have outside of fashion?
Outside of fashion design, our interest lies in art. Our design inspiration is derived from art and architecture. The heritage and the vintage lineage of the city of New Delhi where we are based are what instill our passion for finesse and immaculate grandeur in the minutest of details. We have been successfully running our art gallery, Palette, which houses modern contemporary artworks of young and established minds alike.
Where did the idea for the Fibonacci show come from? What’s one of your favorite looks?
‘Fibonacci’ at its heart, is a nod to craft — both structural and artistic — where every piece is a study in precision. The collection brings together this iconic designer duo’s dedication to the study of structure in art and architecture, transferring these learnings to design. The idea of the Fibonacci show was inspired by the artist named Zaha Hadid, who is known for her liberated architectural geometry. Our favorite look is a mosaic sherwani which was recently worn by Indian megastar Ranveer Singh.
The Astral Gala line is inspired by stars and galaxies. It is a reflection of our love for the cosmic universe which is surreal. The line is inspired by the old-age divas from the retro era fused with new modern techniques of boning and construction.
What is your favorite type of clothing piece to design? Which clothing pieces do you find most challenging to design?
Constructed jackets are our favorite piece of clothing; we pay a lot of attention to our finishing and construction. Constructed pieces are the most challenging to design but it also gives us more room for experimentation. Also, heavy ornamentation/surface textures make the garments difficult to mold and sculpt hence, we face challenges with those garments.
It would be Billy Porter for his unique fashion sense.
What do you hope to take away from this interview with Brown Girl Magazine?
It is inspiring to connect with a global community-building publication like Brown Girl Magazine which reaches out to a huge audience. One of the key takeaways from this conversation would definitely be the power of storytelling and narration as an individual from the creative industry and its influence on the upcoming generation of designers.
How has the power of storytelling influenced your past shows and how do you plan to utilize it in your future shows?
Storytelling is a key aspect and we utilize our runway sets to showcase our brand ethos and the inspiration behind the collection. We showcased the Fibonacci collection at Couture Week last season. The collection was inspired by the movement that marries precision with an architectural penchant for precision, guided by nature’s invisible rule — the Fibonacci wave. The intricate set for the show was built by artist Akon Mitra by combining thousands of origami pieces that arched over a ramp to depict a wave in perfect mathematical proportion. The set design reflected the beauty of patterns defined by Fibonacci’s irrational number, where every pattern is uniform and built with clear lines and divisions.
What do you want people to feel when they wear your designs?
Brides and grooms should be comfortable and feel true to themselves when they choose to wear us. We want our designs to empower their true personalities and shine through on their big day!
Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna have taken a unique approach to fashion design not only utilizing storytelling to define the identity of their goal consumer, but also modern art to shape their clothing lines. The brand has been featured in GQ, multiple fashion shows such as Amazon India Fashion Week, and dressed famous clients such as Aishwarya Rai, Deepika Padukone, and many more. Rohit and Rahul aren’t just two fashion designers that came together; Rohit + Rahul is a team that gives you an identity with their design work.
Navratri, a festival celebrated with great pomp and splendor in India, is a testament to the celebration of feminine power and the triumph of the goddess. This nine-night festival revolves around the devotion to the divine feminine, where women and men alike come together to celebrate the goddess’s strength, wisdom, and grace. It’s a time when people revel in the joy of cultural traditions, vibrant colors, and the spirit of togetherness. The Garba festivities during Navratri see men and women dressed to the nines in colorful ethnic wear, moving in rhythmic harmony to the beats of music. It’s a sight to behold, where the essence of femininity is beautifully showcased through the elegance and grace of traditional clothing. This celebration leaves an indelible mark on the hearts of those who partake in it.
The festival of Navratri is deeply rooted in the cultural fabric of India. It’s a time when communities come alive with the fervor of celebration. The air is filled with the aroma of traditional Indian sweets and the sound of rhythmic music. For nine nights, the goddess is worshiped in her various forms, and the devotion of the people knows no bounds.
For Shreya Patel, a Chicago-based designer and the creative force behind Always Raas, Navratri became more than just a festival; it became an inspiration. The fusion of feminine strength and the infectious joy of Navratri left a profound impact on her. She was captivated by the unbridled happiness and energy that filled the air during this festive time. It was during Navratri’s Garba celebrations that she found her calling.
Age often defines the limits of one’s aspirations, but Patel was determined to defy those norms. She embarked on her entrepreneurial journey at the age of 51, breaking free from any societal constraints that dictated what she could or couldn’t achieve. She recognized that every woman, regardless of age, possesses immense strength and resilience. Patel firmly believed that age is but a number and that women can chase their dreams at any stage of life.
Always Raas is more than just a fashion brand; it’s a celebration of the enduring strength and potential of women, a tribute to the essence of Navratri. The brand’s designs beautifully encapsulate the spirit of the festival. Each garment is crafted to make women feel confident, beautiful, and deeply connected to their cultural heritage. It’s about embracing femininity, elegance, and timeless style, allowing every woman to feel like a goddess during the festive season. Raas caters to the “Global Naari,” a world citizen with Indian roots who cherishes her rich ethnic heritage even while living away from her origins. This is a woman who embraces her culture and isn’t afraid to showcase her heritage, transcending borders and creating her unique identity.
At the core of Always Raas lies a deep commitment to sustainability. Patel, the brand’s designer, established her own manufacturing unit to ensure fair wages and a positive working environment for her employees. The brand focuses on social sustainability, crafting garments through hand dyeing instead of digital printing, and handwork instead of machine work, creating more jobs and empowering artisans.
Always Raas recently debuted their EZORA collection at South Asian New York Fashion Week, a sustainable and eco-friendly line primarily consisting of modern and traditional silhouettes made from vegan silk. This collection, consisting of garments in vegan silk and a handbag collection, serves two vital purposes: to repurpose garment scraps into long-lasting items and to provide jobs for stay-at-home wives of artisans working in the factory. It’s not just about producing beautiful clothing; it’s about making a positive impact on the world. This initiative empowers these women to become more financially independent while honing their craftsmanship, reflecting the brand’s dedication to social and environmental sustainability.
Always Raas stands as a beacon of empowerment, tradition, and sustainability. Patel’s journey is a testament to Naari Shakti— the power of women, celebrated in every garment created by Always Raas.
All photos are courtesy of Always Raas from this year’s South Asian New York Fashion Week.
Ever since we can recall, the Cannes Film Festival has been a merger of movies and glamour. On one side, there are hand-picked films — ready to premiere and make their mark in the world of entertainment — and on the other, audiences and paparazzi alike are served epic moments in fashion.
The festival, aimed to preview upcoming films from all over the world, invites a wide variety of guests that span the film fraternity, of course, but more recently, has opened its doors to many digital content creators, including renowned South Asian creatives.
With a more vast guest list comes a more recent debate: Cannes is a film festival and not a fashion showcase. Kickstarting the debate this year was none other than ace Bollywood director, Nandita Das, who in an Instagram post shared:
Sometimes people seem to forget that it is a festival of films and not of clothes!
In short, Das wants Cannes’ narrative to continue to focus on films.
But of course, there’s been a paradigm shift in the guest list over the last few years; this shift has allowed talents from various industries — including lifestyle content creators, entrepreneurs, etc., who showcase their work in fashion and beauty like fine masterstrokes — to walk the carpet and represent their craft, making space for others in their industry.
Influential names like Dolly Singh, Kaushal, Diipa Buller-Khosla, and Shivani Bafna — all of whom made a raging impact on the red carpet this year — weigh in on the significance of representing South Asian artists/influencers on the red carpet, and how they feel they’ve been part of this paradigm shift at Cannes Film Festival.
I believe that each step we take at events like Cannes sends a powerful message of diversity, cultural richness, and artistic excellence. Representation matters, and the presence of South Asian creators on the red carpet at Cannes helps broaden the narrative of beauty, talent, and creativity. It allows us to showcase our unique perspectives, narratives, and contributions, ultimately contributing to a more inclusive industry. By actively participating and making our presence felt, we help create more opportunities and spaces for South Asian creators, encouraging others to share their stories with the world.
Since 2015, the first time I walked the red carpet, till this year I have always been invited by L’Oreal Paris, one of the main sponsors of the event. It has always been such an honor to be invited to the festival through the makeup brand that I have been using for almost two decades, and, before my social media career began. Personally, I feel a sense of acknowledgment from such a prestigious brand, and its head office teams that sponsor Cannes Film Festival, and value the work I have done and continue to do as a South Asian content creator within the beauty space. Makeup, hair, and beauty will always play a big role within the film industry and it’s something I have always created my content around which is why I am proud to attend.
This is a proud moment not just for me but also [for] my peers and the entire content creator ecosystem given that we have reached such new global stages and presence. Of course, as you said, such film festivals, once considered as an exclusive hub for a congregation of the finest acting talents have, in the last few years, opened their arms to more people from the entertainment industry.
This is not just a sudden phenomenon with a burst of Indian creators at the festival this year but there is increased participation from non-film and non-South Asian celebrities across various spectrums from different sides of the world. Along with the many filmmakers, actors, producers, etc I also met some amazing influencers and entrepreneurs from other sides of the world. It’s amazing to represent India and celebrate and champion the advent of the digital ecosphere on such a prominent platform.
The confluence of actors and creators signified the amalgamation of traditional cinema and new-age digital influence, highlighting the transformative power of creative expression and how festivals like Cannes have become more forthcoming and progressive in their approach.
Cannes, like any other prominent festival, boasts of a red carpet that is synonymous with fashion and glitz, and I wanted to use this opportunity to represent all the amazing Indian fashion designers on the carpet besides, of course, attending the screenings. As someone who is just not an influencer but also an actress, I thoroughly enjoyed all the red-carpet screenings and meeting like-minded film talent from around the world at the event. At some point in the future, I would like to be attending Cannes for a film I’ve featured in.
Creators are often placed into boxes of where they belong and the rooms they can be a part of. Being on the red carpet dismantles the ideology that there’s a cap on how far we, as creators and as a South Asian community, can go and what we can achieve.
The Cannes Film Festival has always been viewed as the epitome of a glamorous event — everyone who attends looks like they’re living their best lives. I used the platform to share an authentic message of what the experience felt like for me. To represent all of us who doubt our potential, experience imposter syndrome, and are nervous to find their place, yet continue to push through to achieve their dreams!
As the first Indian American influencer to walk at Cannes, I hope I can inspire young women to confidently ask, ‘Why not me?’
There’s no doubt that the Cannes Film Festival is centered around films, and continues to be a unique space for the global film fraternity to bring their art and showcase their aptitude. But, creators like Bafna, Singh, Buller-Khosla, and Kaushal — a special shoutout to Raja Kumari for being instrumental in paving the way as well — have their own set of responsibilities to fulfill upon their invitation to the prestigious event. Their will to represent their South Asian identities, celebrate their industries, and continue to hold space for their peers makes their presence at Cannes more than just clothes.
All images in the featured photo are from the influencers’ Instagram feeds.