A Group of South Asian Women Dared to Bare Their Insecurities in Front of a Camera


The following introduction is written by the creator of the #BareFacePlay photo series and professional makeup artist, Jasmin Rahman.  All photos are courtesy of Grishma Patel. The models are Brown Girl contributors from the New York area. 

The #BareFacePlay photo series was born out of the deep sadness I felt each time I encountered a woman who told me she couldn’t step foot outside of her house without makeup.

As you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking it’s highly ironic, given my career as a professional makeup artist and aspiring model. Why wouldn’t I want women to wear makeup every day? I love all things makeup and beauty, but I believe makeup was created to enhance our natural, God-given features, and create works of art.

The problem in my eyes exists when women use these enhancements daily and feel they cannot do certain tasks, go certain places, and do not feel they are at their fullest potential without them.

The fear of others seeing us in our most natural, purest, vulnerable form, cripples women in many different ways. We all live through different struggles and traumatic experiences relating to our self-esteem and body image. These traumas can be notions or expectations of community’s beauty standards, our family’s history, domestic violence, sexual assault, an accident, illness or just the ebbs and flows of life. We all have insecurities and imperfections we feel the need to mask daily, through hair removal, makeup, clothing—you name it!  Society trains us to believe our imperfections make us unworthy of our goals and we have become blind to the natural beauty that lies within us. Self-love, acceptance, and allowing our skin to breathe, allowing ourselves to be truly vulnerable in the presence of others has become rare.

#BareFacePlay is a challenge to dig deep within your soul and ask yourself when you’re putting makeup on or getting dressed, questions such as: Why am I making this choice? What would happen if I left the house without makeup on or without covering that imperfection? What would happen if I posted a photo on social media like this? What would happen if I went to a social gathering with my natural face in tow? 

#BareFacePlay is a challenge to ask yourself what your biggest insecurities are, bare them all to the world lovingly, and to embrace them once and for all.

Some of the contributors at Brown Girl Magazine bared their biggest insecurities with no makeup for the camera and shared their personal stories of empowerment. We encourage you to do the same by posting a makeup-free selfie and share your story using the hashtags #BareFacePlay. 

Be smart, hip, beautiful, and bare!

by Miranda Deebrah 

For a long time, I have felt that my body did not belong to me. There have been so many cultural and societal restrictions placed on it, so many others telling me what I can and can’t do with it, so many unwelcome hands laid on it, one too many instances of violence, sexual assault, and other violations have made their lasting marks and left me feeling unworthy and unclean. My body has endured so much manhandling that, consequently, I’ve never gotten the sense that I truly have any autonomy of this vessel that houses my soul.

And then there was my own unkindness towards myself. I wasted too much time lamenting all the flaws I saw – nose too big, skin too brown, face not pretty at all, not tall enough, chest too flat, no womanly curves, etc. — when I should have been celebrating and recognizing that these weren’t flaws at all but made me different and beautiful in my own right. I had all but dissociated with my body and the journey back to claiming it as my own, and truly loving it, seems to be an endless work in progress. But, I’m doing my best. Being kind to yourself is easier said than done but the effort is worth it because feeling confident and loving yourself is absolutely priceless and one of the best feelings there is.

If there’s anything I’ve learned so far, it is that I know I’m beautiful just the way I am, regardless of what anyone says or what has been done to me. Sometimes I believe it, sometimes I don’t, but that’s part of the process. With hope, I move forward on my journey to self-love and encourage others to love and celebrate themselves for exactly who they are.

by Neena Abraham

The #BareFacePlay photo shoot was a unique learning experience. I was inspired to participate in the project because I enjoy trying new experiences, especially those that scare me. I wanted to be more comfortable in my own body and embrace my uniqueness. I also think young women are exposed to unrealistic beauty images in the media. These images skew our perception of beauty and tolerance. I wanted to counter those images to help people appreciate the unique features of others, and embrace natural beauty.

The photoshoot was awkward, relaxing, and fun. I was unsure how to pose for shots and unsure how my body would react to a new situation. However, the reflection time was long and powerful. I walked away more comfortable about embracing my fears and my own skin. Initially, I criticized my pictures but eventually realized I had to learn to stop condemning my image. As soon as I accepted what I saw, I was willing to let go of hypercritical thoughts.

Before attempting to create societal change, I had to change my own personal attitude toward bare beauty. I also reminded myself that the other participants had similar emotions. I was not alone in this experience. At the end of the day, embracing yourself is a process — it doesn’t happen overnight. It is an aggregate of several instances of “putting yourself out there” over a long period of time. This photoshoot was one such instance and it was freeing.

I want to encourage people to participate the #BareFacePlay challenge. It may seem scary but it ends up being fun. You learn more about yourself, especially your fears and comforts. I hope this project helps people increase their self-awareness, reduce self-deprecating thoughts, and learn to see themselves in a positive light.


by Jasmin Rahman

Self-love is an ongoing struggle for me. I grew breasts, body hair, and started having acne well before my peers. I battle a war with my weight to the point of almost having an eating disorder many times. My body grew before my skin was ready, followed by weight fluctuations leaving me with stretch marks on my thighs, back, hips, arms, and breasts. The genetic circles under my eyes tell a tale of sickness, sleep deprivation, stress or just “I was born this way”.

A pimple, cut or burn will scare me. I carry a scar on my left arm from one of my abusive ex-boyfriends. I attempt to scrub away my tan every summer after being in the sun to avoid comments from family.

I learned to love myself and my body for all of its peculiar features after realizing I can’t make everyone around me happy, and their happiness isn’t necessarily mine. I can’t scrub away any of these imperfections or scars left on my body by itself or others.

I must love, accept, and forgive myself before I can expect anyone else to and I should use these features that I’ve always felt to be my shortcomings as a way to relate to other women and girls, and show them that if I can work as a model, makeup artist and be in front of a camera and choose not to wear makeup regularly, so can they.

This body I curse for being so heavily scarred tells a story, the story of me. How lucky am I to carry my story on my being? To carry these memories written on my flesh.


by Aysha Qamar 

I’ve struggled with the way I look for as long as I can remember. If it wasn’t my weight, it was my skin. There was always something. I always found a flaw.

I hated pictures. I was far too critical of myself, always over analyzing the way I look each time — to the point I stopped taking them all together.

I remember where it all started. I was first called a skeleton in elementary school. From then on my weight always fluctuated. From being too skinny to being too fat, I was never happy in my own skin. I was never happy being me. I remember when others pointed out that I had various discolorations and hyperpigmentation. To some, I was too light to be South Asian and to others, I was too dark to be Pakistani.

For the years to follow—I found myself never believing compliments, dreading pictures, and having trouble buying clothes because nothing ever looked good.

My biggest insecurity has always been my hands. More often than enough, people have commented on the skin discoloration and roughness of them. Many have commented that one is slightly darker than the other. They’ve been called manly. I used to subtly hide them, in my pockets or use one to cover the other — but no more. You may call my skin flawed — but I no longer have anything to hide, I call it mine.

Now, here I am years later and I can finally say I am comfortable in my own skin. At the heaviest weight I have ever been, I am happy. I may not currently be at my ideal weight, but I am finally healthy and know I can get there. I have finally accepted myself for who I am, flaws and all. I have even begun to love pictures and myself.


by Mohitha Sripathi

‘I’m an Indian-American woman with dark skin who likes to act and direct movies.’

If that sentence threw you off, you’re probably not alone. There’s a long-standing notion, especially in the South Asian community, that the combination above doesn’t fit together properly. Being dark skinned is something that needs to be “fixed” in order to be considered “beautiful” or “successful” or even “confident.”

Although raised in New Jersey, I’ve grown up in awe of the Indian Film Industry and of my idols Madhuri Dixit, Priyanka Chopra, and Anushka Shetty; all beautiful, fair-skinned, Indian actresses.

I tried everything I could to “fix” my issue: fairness creams, packs, treatments, dermatology appointments, makeup (even Snapchat filters!). These worked temporarily but somehow in an in-person meeting, I was never actually comfortable in my own skin. I was always very self-conscious and became very sensitive to the topic of skin color. Eventually, this insecurity overshadowed my self-confidence and I began undermining my dream for the one field I thought I was very passionate about—films.

But it’s time to finally come to terms with some things. My passion for something isn’t dictated by pigmentation. I can’t change my skin color. I can’t change society’s Eurocentric perception of beauty. I can, however, change how I react.

Ever since I’ve directed my first short film “Now and Then,” I acted as the main lead in another short film “Ehsaas” and am now able to voice my “insecurity” and realization publicly for the first time in this post.

So yes, I have dark skin…so what?

by Priya Mukhopadhyay

Contrary to what most may think, I have forever struggled with loving my body. I have been on a roller coaster ride from gaining a bunch of weight to losing a lot and feeling inadequate whenever I gained even a few pounds afterward.

I completely dedicated myself to fitness for a period of time and lost close to 50lbs. One would think that would make me happy but I was more dissatisfied and scared than ever to gain back any weight. I was even more critical of my body and never seemed to be at a place where I was content. When I think back at it now, I think part of me cared less and was happier with my body when I was heavier because I did not know any different.

I hated my stretch marks, refused to wear short sleeves before, hated my stomach and never wore a bikini until two years ago.
I’ve been on every diet in the books, exercised to the point of exhaustion, even cried over how much I disliked my reflection. I’ve cried in the fitting rooms in front of my mother, even after a gorgeous boat trip in the Caribbean where we all wore bikinis. I soon learned not everyone saw eye to eye with me and I was absolutely not fishing for compliments but it came off that way. I was simply trying to get my friends to see what and how I saw my body, unattractive.

Time has gone and my priorities have evolved and although the ghosts of my past still chime in here and there, I am trying to block them out completely.

More recently, I’ve tried to maintain a healthy lifestyle and believe that is the most important factor but many times, it alludes me to actually love my body and forgive it for all its been through.

I’ve never been nice to my body and it’s time I let that go and embrace it. My body represents my struggle and it’s been there for me to take me through all the feats I’ve needed to accomplish to get where I am today. How dare I hate something like that?


by Trisha Sakhuja


I grew up with a uni-brow, a fuzzy mustache, big chunky glasses, short blunt hair with bangs and two shiny buck teeth. To say I constantly felt ugly is an understatement.

My skin battled and continues to battle with a constellation of pimples, red itchy scars, blackheads, pores, dark circles, bleach, laser equipment, countless waxing strips, and lots of Indian woman threading hundreds of unwanted spiky black hair. To make myself feel better, I started applying foundation and powder at the modest age of 10. None of the colors were mine because I would steal them from my mother and secretly apply in the bathroom with bad lighting.

A few years of poor makeup application and dozens of stolen products later, I became addicted to makeup like a heroin addict obsessed with his needle. I never stepped out of the house without a thick layer of foundation and the whole nine yards of makeup products I’ve refrained myself from listing. This madness continues well into my late twenties.

My wedding is around the corner and I am marrying a man who sees my beauty inside and out, I have an amazing support group who continues to shower me with confidence and love, but that doesn’t stop me from applying a layer of makeup.

I won’t lie, I fought against the idea of this photo shoot. I wasn’t ready for it and it took a lot of guts to get in front of the camera with a face I sometimes pretend to not recognize. I flirt with the idea of going bare face to the office or to a girlfriend’s house. Maybe it will take me a few more badass photo shoots to feel this gutsy on the daily.

At Brown Girl, we believe in the power of inner beauty. Join the movement by tagging us on Instagram, Facebook orTwitter with the hashtag #BareFacePlay.

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 ›

Bold Helmets: Tina Singh’s Innovation is a Multi-Sport Solution

Image source: Tina Singh

Tina Singh, formerly known as Mombossof3 online, understands how to make her presence known in the parenting space. Seven years ago, she set out to create and share content related to motherhood, and there’s been no looking back since. Singh has mastered the idea of evolving with the times and the needs of her audience while staying true to her number one role in life — mom!

As she navigated her personal and professional life through the lens of a parent, she came across a void that just wasn’t being filled. So, in typical Singh style, this mom of three put her entrepreneurial hat on and got down to creating a solution for Sikh kids who struggled to find a helmet that fits over their patkas (a small cloth head covering).

The problem was personal — all three of Singh’s sons wear patkas and just couldn’t find the right helmet for their safety — and so the solution had to be homegrown. Enter, the Bold Helmets.

Singh gave Brown Girl Magazine an exclusive interview in which she talked about the Bold Helmets, the change in her journey since she’s become a public figure, and what it was like to innovate her very first product!

Here’s how it went:

Let’s start from the beginning. How did this idea come to mind?

This idea has been in my head for many, many years — over five years. I had issues with my kids and having helmets fit them after they turned age four or five.

I worked as an Occupational Therapist, in the head injury space, so I was always the one saying, ‘Okay kids, you’re gonna have to tie your hair in the back, do braids, or something in order to put on a helmet properly because I’m not gonna let you go down these bike ramps without a helmet!’ That’s just not okay for me.

So I talked to my husband and said, ‘there’s gotta be another way this works.’ So we did all the things that parents in situations like these do — they hollow out the helmets, some people go as far as cutting holes at the top of the helmet — you do what works. But I had in my mind an idea of what I think the helmet should look like based on what a patka looks like, and what my kids look like. I then found an engineer to draw it out for me to bring [my idea] to a place where I can actually take it somewhere and say, ‘Okay, how do I make this?’

But, yes, it started mainly with my kids and facing that struggle myself.

You mention that this idea had been brewing in your mind for over five years. How long did it take you to actually bring it to life?

To this point, it’s been about two and a half to three years. I let it sit in my mind for a while. Winters come here in Canada and then we forget about it again until we have to go skiing, and then there’s another problem, right?! I did let it lay dormant for a bit for sure, but once I made the commitment to do it, I made up my mind to see it all the way through.

You recently pivoted and changed the name of the product to the Bold Helmets. Can you talk me through how you came up with the new name?

Bold Helmets became the name because they’re designed to be bold, to be different and who you are. I also think that the way the helmet is made, even though it’s made with Sikh kids in mind, there are other applications to it. I do think that taking the Bold Helmets approach embodies its [the product’s] uniqueness and really focuses on being bold and who you are.

And the Bold Helmet is multi-sport, correct?

This helmet is certified for bicycles, kick scooters, skateboards, and inline skating. It is not a ski helmet. So every helmet you use for a different sport has a different safety certification or testing that it has to go through. So, this helmet is called ‘multi-sport’ because it covers those four sports but I wouldn’t take this helmet and use it for skiing. I’d have to make sure that this helmet, or a helmet like this, gets certified for various other standards for other sports.

Makes sense! I want to change the course of the conversation here a bit and talk more about how you pivoted from Mombossof3 to innovating your very first product. How was that experience?

So what I did throughout this journey was that I went from marketing myself as ‘mombossof3’ to ‘Tina Singh’ because I was sharing more of my life’s journey as my kids were getting older and in an effort to respect my children’s space as well, and letting them decide how much — or how little — they want to be involved with what I was doing online. And part of that was about the journey of what I was doing next, and the transition came naturally to me.

I think right now, truthfully, I’m struggling in the space where I kind of have a shift in audience and so my usual, everyday self that I share on social seems like it doesn’t work. I feel like I need to find a new balance; I will always be true to who I am, and I will never present myself as something that I’m not. But, just finding a space for me to continue creating content while also taking on this new endeavor with Bold Helmets, is important right now.

Aside from this struggle of finding that new balance, what is that one challenge that really sticks out to you from this journey?

I think my biggest challenge being an entrepreneur is finding that balance between my responsibilities as a parent, which is my number one role in my life and there’s no one that can take that role for me — my husband and I are the only parents — and passions outside of that.

Do you think it helped that you were creating a helmet for Sikh children so it allowed you to pursue your passion but also work with your kids in some capacity since they inspired the whole idea?

I never thought of it that way, but yes actually, it did! So all my entrepreneurial projects have involved my kids. Even now they were involved in picking the colors, all the sample tests we did they tried the helmets on! They’re probably sick of it since they’re constantly trying on helmets, but I get their opinion on them. Even as we pivoted with the name, we involved them and got their feedback on it also. So, they were involved in very large parts of this project.

And my husband is also a huge part of this project. He’s been heavily involved in this process, too!

You have a huge online presence, and I know that you’re probably not new to trolling and bullying that comes with being on social media. More recently, Bold Helmets was subject to a lot of backlashes. Is there something that you took away from this recent experience? Was it different this time around?

The extent to which things got was different this time around and that’s not something I have faced in the past. But I have been in the online space for about seven years now, and I’m accustomed to it. I think what I learned this time around is that sometimes silence and reflection is the best thing you can do. Sometimes reflecting and not being defensive on feedback that you get — and this may be something that comes with age as well as experience — is best.

But, I’m happy with the pivots we made, the feedback we’ve gotten, and the way we’re moving forward.

You mentioned that this isn’t your first entrepreneurial venture. But each experience teaches you something different. What did you learn while working on Bold Helmets?

I learned to be okay with taking things slow. I’ve never been that person; I’ve always jumped the gun on lots of things. It’s understanding that it’s ok to slow down and recognize that things have to just run their course.

And while the interview wraps up there, there is more to come with Singh on her journey! Catch Lifestyle Editor Sandeep on Instagram LIVE this Saturday, January 28, at 10 a.m. EST, as she has a more in-depth conversation with Singh on Bold Helmets and more!

In the meantime, Bold Helmets are available for pre-order now, and as a small token of appreciation, Canadian pre-orders will get $10 off their purchase until the end of January 2023!

By Sandeep Panesar

Sandeep Panesar is an editor, and freelance writer, based out of Toronto. She enjoys everything from the holiday season to … Read more ›

Hand Embroidery: South Asia’s Not-so-Famous Contribution to Global Fashion

hand embroidery

South Asian fashion is nearly always associated with color, glitz, and ornate designs. From embellished bridal wear, weighing as much as the bride herself, to brightly colored sarees, Indian craft and hand embroidery is hard to miss — except when it’s showing up in non-Indian clothing.

Did you know that Jennifer Lopez’s famous green, jungle-print Versace dress from the 2000 Grammy Awards was hand-embroidered in India? Or that top luxury brands, including Gucci, Dior, and Saint Laurent, have quietly outsourced much of their embroidery to South Asia for over three decades now? As brands cross borders to connect and innovate through fashion, South Asia has come to the forefront of global fashion as the go-to region for hand embroidery. In 2019, India’s embroidery exports exceeded $230 million, which was a 500 percent increase from the 1990s. This isn’t simply because of the affordable labor and extra cushion for the bottom line — it’s a testament to the unmatched skill of South Asian artisans.

[Read Related: Honouring Tradition and Embracing my Heritage Through Ethnic Wear]

South Asian artisans, also known as ‘karigars,’ are the unnamed force behind a designer’s vision. They often reside in rural parts of the Subcontinent and have gathered skill, creativity, and knowledge over generations. During my travels this year, for the launch of my fashion brand Chaa Latte, I witnessed artisans train from as young as seven years old, mastering embroidery techniques by the time they’re in their teens. Crouched over a table in a dimly-lit room, these artisans work tirelessly to adorn yards of fabric with beautiful beads and sequins, or weave glistening gold yarn into silk and cotton with sometimes nothing more than their memory to guide the motif. Some of them have little to no education and have never stepped outside of their village. Yet, hand them thread and a needle and they are among the best embroiderers in the world.


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Is Indian hand embroidery as prolific as French lace? I would argue yes, and maybe even more, but without the fame. Established brands and their collections have stood on the craft of these rural artisans for decades but have rarely given credit. Only few Western designers, such as Dries Van Noten and Isabel Marant, proudly celebrate their relationship with Indian craftspeople. Perhaps because of this nearly silent partnership, a label that says “Made in India” or “Made in Bangladesh” does not equate to beautiful, luxurious work — rather, the complete opposite. Fast fashion may be one output, but the true strength of South Asia lies in centuries of incredibly intricate, slow, and artisanal processes.

In a Times of India article, David Abraham of Abraham & Thakore — a well-regarded Indian label — eloquently says that we must recognize the fact that India is one of the very few countries left that can still produce small lot, labor intensive, highly-skilled craft and textiles.

He adds, “And that is the true luxury in a world of growing mass consumerism and an antidote to the very real threats of environmental pollution, global warming and a growing understanding that we need to buy less, pay more for fashion that is more timeless, classic and responsible.”

South Asia’s fashion identity is at a crossroads, and it’s up to designers, especially the younger generation, to build brands that showcase the luxury and painstaking craft of South Asian embroidery, weaving, and the various other hand techniques mastered over centuries. I launched my fashion brand, Chaa Latte, late last year because I believe the true beauty of South Asian fashion is in the subtle, intricate craft and this simply isn’t accessible to North Americans in a way that fits their lifestyle seamlessly. I was set on designing modern pieces for people of all backgrounds, who have a love for art in the form of fashion and have an eye for unique detail.


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My first collection encompasses some of my favorite techniques and textiles from India and Bangladesh, including mirror work and silk handloom sarees. The detailing is balanced with simple silhouettes and a neutral color palette. I am now working on my second collection, which will be released in Spring/Summer of 2023. 

Like me, many young designers are tapping into their unique heritage to draw inspiration and bring attention to the Western world. I had the pleasure of speaking to two fellow South Asian designers who are making a mark on the US fashion industry, while highlighting their love for South Asian craft. When asked about the role of traditional textiles and techniques in their work, Niharika of Tega Collective responds:

With each collection our designs are co-created with a specific indigenous community highlighting their traditional colors, patterns and natural symbols. Every region in the world has incredible biodiversity so we focus on championing native fibers in South Asia like Khadi (indigenous cotton) and Eri (peace) silk originating from Assam, India.

[Read Related: Celebrity Designer Sanjay Garg Gives Us the Inside Scoop on Everything Handlooms and the Sari]

In a separate conversation with designer Sana Khan Patel, from Aara by Sana, she tells us how she was inspired to start her line:

When a family wedding took me back to my hometown of Lahore, Pakistan, after a long 18 years, I was blown away by the level of skill I saw in the gullys (streets) of Lahore. From fabric dyeing to intricate beading to the quality of tailoring, they did it all so effortlessly and with so much pride. I quickly realized that the artisans simply want to create art but unfortunately, in most cases they are overworked, underpaid and treated extremely poorly. I immediately knew that I wanted to work with and learn from these OG’s as much as I wanted to put them in a position of providing for their families.

It’s the hope that this recognition from up-and-coming brands, like Chaa Latte, will shed light into how much South Asia is truly lending to global luxury fashion and the rich history that makes these art forms unique to our countries.


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For more information on Chaa Latte, please visit our website and follow our journey on Instagram.

Feature Image: Hannah Schweiss Photography

By Promiti Prosun

Promiti Prosun is the Bengali Canadian designer and founder of fashion brand, Chaa Latte. Though most of her career was … Read more ›

Tilted Lotus: A Brand Rooted in Culture, Compassion, and Style

Tilted Lotus

When she was young, Preeti Gore, the founder of the clothing brand Tilted Lotus, always looked up to her dad’s “natural sketching” talent. His motivation led her to explore her creative side, whether it was experimenting with art or taking up sitar lessons. Regardless of that fact, she pursued a career in science and became a Physical therapist, following her gut instinct.

[Read Related: Hand Embroidery: South Asia’s Not-so-Famous Contribution to Global Fashion]

Stepping into the world of fashion, alongside being a PT, Gore talks to Brown Girl Magazine about her brand Tilted Lotus in depth.

Why “Tilted Lotus?” What is the significance of the name?

‘Lotus’ symbolizes the national flower of India, my birthplace and the land that has shaped me into the person I am today. It represents the roots from which I originate. On the other hand, ‘Tilted’ signifies the distinctive identity I developed while living in Western countries. With my experiences spanning four different nations — India, the UK, Canada, and the US — I’ve had the privilege of embracing the unique qualities of each culture. This odyssey has enriched my life tremendously, and Tilted Lotus is how I offer this special part of me to a diverse American market.


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How did the transition to the world of textiles and design occur?

Despite never being pressured by my parents, I convinced myself that pursuing a career in science was the ‘right’ path, and thus became a physical therapist. My first job in the US was at Houston Methodist Hospital, located in the prestigious Texas Medical Center. Driven by my passion to help others, I am dedicated to this profession and have no intention of quitting. Relocating to the UK, and Canada, and eventually settling in the US presented numerous challenges, and every time I felt shattered, defeated, or alone, I somehow found the strength to push forward. My parents, despite limited resources, supported my dreams wholeheartedly, encouraging independence and the pursuit of my passions. My husband — who I affectionately call my “Sheldon” (a nod to The Big Bang Theory) — played a pivotal role in persuading me to embrace my creative instincts. I am grateful to have him as both a strong supporter and a staunch feminist.

Two years ago, I took the first step toward launching Tilted Lotus. I enrolled in the entrepreneurship program at The Wharton School and pursued a course on starting a fashion line. I was focused on finding the right supply chain and developing a solid business strategy, but the real test came when I had to work tirelessly in the ICU during the COVID wave, back-to-back nights and days, all at the same time. Through ups and downs, failures, and victories, I finally launched Tilted Lotus in December 2022.

India to the UK…then now to the US! Did the need to stay rooted in your culture strengthen? If so, how did that help you envision Tilted Lotus?

From my childhood days, I’ve held onto my personal values like a compass guiding my way. During my experiences living in different countries, I noticed [I was] slowly losing myself, losing what truly makes me, me. But my love for my culture grew stronger, and I found ways to preserve it. As I wore clothing that reflected my identity and initiated conversations about culture and heritage, I discovered that these markers not only distinguish us but also bring us closer together. People are often eager to learn and experience different cultures, which inspired me to create Tilted Lotus, offering a glimpse of me to others.


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How do you aim to combine South Asian elements with contemporary designs?

The design process for creating an outfit involves a multitude of elements. Our primary objective is to take a traditional Indian art form, put a Tilted Lotus twist on it, and incorporate it into contemporary, everyday silhouettes that are both adaptable and effortless to wear. Our latest collection, Jungle Glam, embodies this unique concept flawlessly.

Who is your target audience? And, how do your pieces help express themselves?

We cater to a diverse and inclusive audience, embracing individuals of all ages, genders, races, and ethnicities. While our current selection includes unisex options, our plans involve expanding more into the realm of unisex clothing. Our aim is for our garments to transcend traditional gender norms, welcoming everyone into our fashion community, regardless of their background.

Our target demographic consists of individuals who revel in dressing eclectically, and fearlessly expressing their unique selves. Our garments become a canvas for personal stories, silently representing who they are. They complement individual styles and can be effortlessly combined with other pieces, adding a touch of boldness and confidence.

One adjective to describe your clothing line.


How do you want people to feel when wearing your clothes?

Our ultimate goal is for them to exude confidence, radiate happiness, and proudly embrace their true selves when they don our clothing. We want them to feel empowered, ready to conquer the world, and unapologetically display their unique style and individuality.


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You mention one of your brand values is compassion. Can you tell us a little about your vision to help your non-profit partner: Three Little Pitties Rescue?

We take great pride in being a strong corporate sponsor for the Three Little Pitties Rescue, an extraordinary non-profit 501c3 organization that goes above and beyond to rescue dogs and cats in dire situations, primarily in the Houston, Texas area. Their unwavering dedication has resulted in the rescue and salvation of over 11,000 animals in recent years, and we are honored to contribute to their cause.

As avid animal lovers, our affiliation with Three Little Pitties Rescue began long before the inception of Tilted Lotus. We have closely collaborated with them, witnessing firsthand their remarkable achievements and tremendous growth over the past few years. Their progress has been fuelled by sheer honesty, selflessness, and unrelenting hard work.

One thing that sets Three Little Pitties Rescue apart is their absolute commitment to ensuring that every donation they receive is put to its intended purpose. They maintain the highest standards of transparency and accountability, ensuring that funds are used solely for the betterment of the rescued animals. There is no room for misuse or misappropriation.

Through our partnership with Three Little Pitties Rescue, we have witnessed the profound impact they have on the lives of animals in need. We are privileged to be part of their journey and contribute to their noble mission. Together, we strive to make a lasting difference and create a better world for our furry friends.


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What can we expect next?

We are set to rock the Runway show at New York Fashion Week this fall with Runway 7 productions at Sony Hall, New York. We will be unveiling an all new collection.

Stylish, sustainable silhouettes with love. Tilted Lotus is synonymous with wearing your culture with pride. With prints that bring you back to traditional Indian art, the collections have pieces that you can wear to your next big event or even pair with your everyday jeans and a tee.

[Read Related:KiRu: The Indian Streetwear Brand Reshaping Fashion’s Gender Rules]

And, after an incredible showcase at Austin Fashion Week, the Slow Fashion Festival, and two successful pop-up events at Renegade Craft and Austin Fashion Week, the team is thrilled about what lies ahead this year! Their calendars are full, and they couldn’t be more grateful to everyone that showered them with love and welcomed them with open arms.

Here are some exciting upcoming events Titled Lotus has planned, and they’d be delighted to have you join them in person!

  • New York Fashion Week: Runway 7, Sony Hall, September 9, New York
  • In Todo Pop-up Shop: November 4-5, Los Angeles, California

You can continue to be part of their journey by following them on their official Instagram account, here.

The featured image is courtesy of Tilted Lotus.

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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 ›