#ColorMeEmpowered: The Multiple Shades of a Woman

What’s the one thing that brings things to life? Color. There are so many shades of a given color, quite similar to the many women in our lives. So, what better way to help represent empowering women than putting them in a shade that best represents who they are?

The #ColorMeEmpowered campaign is a concept in which we chose to highlight the many colors of a woman and celebrate all the different qualities she exudes on a day-to-day basis. Each color represents a quality that helps us appreciate the powerful and influential women in our lives, going hand in hand with the idea of striving to celebrate the achievements of women in history as well as the ones who are killing it in their everyday lives, today, in the present.

The shoot represents the idea that we don’t have to look far to recognize strong women, we all ARE them, and HAVE them in our lives—we’re multifaceted, strong-willed, and embody characteristics like resilience, passion, freedom, independence, love, passion, etc.

Six amazing women got together to work on the concept that brings forward their passions, reasons for empowerment, and their journey to self-love and recognition. These women are the true embodiment of the color that they resonate with the most, and here’s why.

Amrita Kumar-Ratta


Orange is the color of strength, determination, and success; these psychosocial characteristics resonated with me because I feel like I embody them regularly—at least I try to.

For instance, I am always striving to be the strongest ‘me’ that I can be, whether that’s emotionally, psychologically, or even physically. Of course, it’s not always easy, and I’m not always strong, but inner strength is something I’m constantly trying to cultivate.

Similarly, my friends and family describe me as being fearlessly ambitious and determined, and I really am. Whatever I’ve done in my life—whether it was dance, theatre, research, or community development work—I’ve done it with relentless perseverance. Having been raised by parents who are both spirited artists, intellectuals, and community leaders, I’ve got an eclectic mixture of creative curiosity, passionate pursuit and unabashed pragmatism that frames my ambitious and determined nature.

Last but not least, I find success to be a strange word; its definition is very subjective. I think I’m still trying to figure out what exactly it means for me. Right now, it’s about being happy with the way my life is in the current moment. In other words, I feel successful because I’m doing everything that I want to be doing right now. Also, it’s worth saying that orange is a really bright and bold color, and I’m always trying to live as brightly and boldly as I can.

Something that empowers me is the incredible feeling that I have value—that I have an important contribution to make in my community(ies), and that the impact of my contributions will last long enough for the generation after me to feel it.  It sounds lofty, but there are moments in my life during which I’m reminded, either directly or indirectly, of the impact that I’m making on people, on circumstances, on discourses, and on systems, and this feeling is what keeps me going, despite how difficult it is sometimes. – Amrita Kumar-Ratta

Nehal Mehra


When we were choosing our colors for this shoot, I was immediately drawn to red. It’s vibrant, powerful and has a presence. A few years ago, you wouldn’t dare catch me in this color. But now, all I want to do is wear red every day.

I have a strong resonance with what the color represents passion, power, determination, and love. I carry my heart on my sleeve—in relationships, in work and basically in every aspect of my life. Therefore, everything I do is done with love and dedication; it’s done with passion. I’m wholeheartedly invested with nothing less than my all to give.

My life has consisted of twist and turns, many peaks, but far more valleys. Despite it all, one thing that has kept me going is my resilience and determination; resilience to toughen up and determination to never give up.

As I’ve navigated deeper into life, everything has begun to take on a persona and a deeper meaning, even colors. Just like my choice of red which was an intuitive pick, but more of an accurate reflection of my personality and values.

With that same token, one thing that empowers me to keep moving forward is love. I think there is great power when you are loved, appreciated or cared for. It evokes a sense of purpose and belonging. And when these emotions are present in your life, everything you do becomes exciting, worthy and achievable. – Nehal Mehra

Sundeep Hans


Purple is the color we’ve come to associate with creativity, pride, ambition, royalty, spirituality, and both mystery and magic! I think, because of this, it represents power too. Not the raw power that the color red evokes, but instead the kind of power that encompasses all of the temporal and eternal parts of us. All of the truly awesome things that make us…us, even the parts we haven’t discovered yet. All of this…and because I look BOMB wearing it, are reasons I chose to shoot in purple! It’s quite clearly my color!

The fact that I have goals empowers me. Big ones, little ones, fun ones, practical ones, which all feed into my ginormous life goal, my life’s purpose actually. I have a daily goal: to make at least three people smile. It’s a simple one, but super effective as an empowerment boost because I’ve successfully surpassed my goal of three people every single day since I started doing it back when I was 11 years old!

I’ve built in a fail-safe. The first person I make smile is myself, I literally look at myself and smile, and I think it makes me happy and sets the tone for the rest of the day. Knowing what my life’s purpose is has been empowering in and of itself, but then working toward it every day by accomplishing these smaller goals, and actually seeing it become a reality, makes me feel so incredibly powerful every day. – Sundeep Hans

Jessie Brar


I’ve always been so drawn to yellow. For me, it represents positivity and happiness. Whenever I’m feeling a little low, I throw on a yellow sweater and it brightens my mood. It’s a color that energizes me and never fails to put a smile on my face.

One thing that empowers me is owning my space. For a long time, I would make myself small to accommodate others and because I felt like my presence was too loud—and maybe it is, but I’m owning it. I am empowered by being confident in myself and being unapologetically me. It’s taken a long time for me to feel comfortable in my own skin, but damn, does it feel good. – Jessie Brar

Manya Sibal

[Photo courtesy Nanae Nishimura]

Black portrays elegance and class, and I think that elegance is eternal and timeless. It goes beyond physical attributes and isn’t something that can be imitated or bought. Only you can own your elegance and portray a sense of class with your own style.

Black also represents power. My power comes from my emotions of empathy and love. This is what sets you apart; this is what sets ME apart. The color black helps me channel my inner strength, portray my elegance, and leaves me feeling as empowered as ever. – Manya Sibal

Sandeep Panesar


I chose the color blue because it represents everything I gained as a result of everything I’ve lost. I’ve lost a lot of battles in my life—personal, mental, professional, but each loss encouraged me to get back up and try harder, awakening this confidence inside me that I never had growing up.

My body shape, curly hair, and introverted personality were once the butt of many jokes when I was younger—I guess a lioness’ mane and curves made for a funny combination? But, as an adult, I let all my inhibitions go, embracing who I am, and finding freedom—from my dark thoughts, the standards that others imposed on me, and the shackles of my own stipulations. It’s a work in progress, but today I feel (a lot more) free.

And, being confident and (finally) free of so many things means I’m living life on my own terms now—no preconceived notions, no ifs and buts, and no ‘what will they think of me?’

These (somewhat) newfound feelings of confidence and freedom prove that I’m finally loyal to myself and my feelings. And knowing I can be true to myself gives me such a sense of agency because there were days that I wasn’t who I wanted to be but I had convinced myself otherwise.

So, what happens when I put these little life lessons together? I feel empowered. I am finally on the road to becoming the person I’ve always wanted to be and the journey there is making me feel more powerful than ever. – Sandeep Panesar

By Brown Girl Magazine

Brown Girl Magazine was created by and for South Asian womxn who believe in the power of storytelling as a … Read more ›

Indiaspopup.com Celebrates International Women’s Day by Honoring 5 South Asian Women we Look up to


Indiaspopup.com — USA’s premier online destination for luxury Indian designer clothing and accessories — is a global platform for South Asian fashion. It curates inclusive, embracive, and conscious trends and styles from the heart of India to its global shoppers. Founded by Archana Yenna, the company honored South Asian women from various walks of life who are leading the path for future generations. The luxury retailer hosted a ‘Power Table’ dinner at Armani/Ristorante in New York City with South Asian women leading the change in fashion, entrepreneurship, media, entertainment, and journalism.

At Indiaspopup.com, we empower and celebrate women through authentic South Asian fashion and community contributions. As we celebrate Women’s Day, we remain committed to sharing inspiring stories of South Asian women achievers and changemakers. Our recent ‘Power Table’ dinner in New York City celebrated remarkable women — trailblazers of South Asian heritage, inspiring the next generation of female leaders to dream big and chase their aspirations.

Archana Yenna, Founder and CEO of Indiaspopup.com


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The company also honored five South Asian female role models that have been instrumental to the diaspora with their various works in nonprofit, societal causes and community building:

Nina Davuluri – acclaimed filmmaker, activist, actor and entrepreneur
Megha Desai – president of The Desai Foundation
Shoba Narayan – film, television, and theater actor
Hitha Palepu – entrepreneur and author
Cynthia Victor – beauty influencer

Yenna honored these women for breaking stereotypes and spreading positivity on body sizes, health, confidence, and skin tone. Through her work with Indiaspopup.com, Yenna hopes to help women feel beautiful, confident, and feminine, and make progress toward positive change. In a series of photos shot in New York City’s Baccarat Hotel, dedicated to the quintessence of luxury and excellence, Indiaspopup.com produced a high tea-themed photoshoot to celebrate its honorees.  The women wore avant-garde clothing donning some of India’s most prominent designers while sipping tea, dining on canapés, and enjoying one another’s company. Exemplifying Indian royalty, the women championed one another and the power of sisterhood, and shared what womanhood meant to each one of them.

During the two-day festivities, Indiaspopup.com announced their partnership with Sakhi for South Asian Women, an NGO that represents the South Asian diaspora in a survivor-centered movement for gender justice. Sakhi applies a trauma-informed, culturally responsive lens with a long-term commitment to mobilizing a future free from violence. Yenna pledged to donate a portion of sales from the month of March to the organization.

Sakhi for South Asian Women is grateful to Indiaspopup.com for uplifting and investing in our work with survivors of gender-based violence. Nationally, 48% of South Asian Americans experience gender based violence throughout their lifetime, and at Sakhi, we have seen a 65% increase in cases over one year. This support will help us address the overwhelming need in our community and continue our commitment toward a future of healing and justice.

— Kavita Mehra, Executive Director at Sakhi for South Asian Women

To learn more about Indiaspoup.com visit their website.

Photo Credit: Saunak Shah / Video Credit: Swapnil Junjare

By Brown Girl Magazine

Brown Girl Magazine was created by and for South Asian womxn who believe in the power of storytelling as a … Read more ›

Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna: “We Want to Work With the Youth”

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.

[Read Related: 3 Tips on how to Rock Viva Magenta, the Pantone Color for 2023]

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.

Where do you see this company ten years from now?

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.

And, what inspired the Astral Gala line?

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.

Who is the one celebrity you would love to dress?

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.

Featured image courtesy of Elevate Promotions. 

By Hrishika Muthukrishnan

Raised in North Carolina, Hrishika Muthukrishnan spent 18 years thinking there wasn’t much to the suburbs before she discovered how … Read more ›

Ace Designer Anita Dongre Goes Vegan

Making conscious decisions can, and should, go hand in hand with wearing fashionable pieces of clothing. Fortunately, South Asian fashion is making huge strides in the sustainable fashion department, and ace fashion designer Anita Dongre is at the forefront of this change; she’s so dedicated to making environmentally friendly choices in her collections.

Brown Girl Magazine has previously had the honor of featuring her Grassroots Collection; today, we sat down with Dongre to chat about her new vegan luxury line.


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Her love for animals is parallel to her love for fashion and she does not sacrifice one or the other. From handcrafted purses to belts, the new collection is made of recycled materials and leaves a smaller carbon footprint.

[Read Related: ‘A New York Minute’: Brown Girls Get Real About Their Roots with Anita Dongre Grassroot’s Collection]

What inspired you to “go vegan” both personally and product-wise?

I have always loved animals. When I was 13 my best friend talked me into being vegetarian and there was no looking back – Sangita and I continued to work together and since then we have both also turned vegan. When I started my business, I wanted the brand to be an extension of my personal philosophies so being a vegan brand was a forgone conclusion. My personal philosophy is to live a mindful life with kindness. This philosophy extends to respecting all life [so] we have chosen not to use leather for our line of accessories. For years I have wanted to create a vegan line of accessories that was high on quality, fashion, and kindness, and technology has only recently caught up with that desire.


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Why is now a good time to launch accessories?

Women have always expressed themselves through what they wear. In today’s time, carrying a bag that reflects their core personality is the default, and yet until recently, there hasn’t been a leather replacement that is cruelty-free and kind to the environment. With material sciences finally having the answer it was imperative to design an accessory line that women, like myself who care both about fashion and a world of kindness, could carry with pride.


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What material is used in this new line? Why did you choose it?

With MIRUM® we found a partner who creates this beautiful, plastic-free material that mimics the touch, feel, and age of leather without cruelty. The line also features bags made out of recycled glass beads. We’re careful about delivering high quality [products] and both these materials deliver to that benchmark while being plastic-free.


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How many pieces does this new line have and what is the importance of the animal symbols of each?

This collection is inspired by nature, my eternal muse. The Swan mini grab bag draws from a swan’s graceful silhouettes; the birds of a feather cross body bag borrow bird motifs that you see across my collections; the haathi belt uses my favorite — the Indian elephant, [which] is a symbol of strength and humility — every piece in this line of accessories is an elegant statement in conscious luxury living. The Anita Dongre brand has stood for elegance, timeless classics, and sustainability. We have always stood for handcrafted luxury while being mindful of the purpose it serves. These same principles extend into this collection of conscious, plastic-free, vegan accessories. While the shapes of these bags are distinctive, they are also functional – a design approach that extends across all Anita Dongre products.


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How to promote sustainability in India versus let’s say New York City:

India’s lived culture is based on the practice of sustainability. From clothes that would be passed down to siblings and then cousins to eating seasonal fruits and vegetables, our practices until recently have always defaulted to conscious consumption. It’s exciting to see the rest of the world adapt to that way of living and [it’s] a good reminder for us Indians to go back to the way we were raised.

Anita Dongre allows her consumers to choose ethically-sourced pieces while letting them embrace sustainability as a part of luxury fashion. Soon enough, such cruelty-free products will be synonymous with India’s (and the world’s) top fashion couture brands. This is definitely not a step, but a huge leap forward.

Photos in the featured image are courtesy of Anita Dongre.

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By Shezda Afrin

Shezda Afrin is an aspiring physician from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At the age of four, it was quite normal of her … Read more ›