Rastah: Co-Founder Zain Ahmad’s Path to Reclaiming his own Heritage and Identity


Bright lights, late nights, glamorous gatherings with endless opportunities to preen and extravagant aesthetics; life in fashion is often assumed to be a grand soiree in itself. And when an up-and-coming designer is spotted hanging out with the likes of Riz Ahmed, at a pre-Oscars party celebrating South Asian excellence, it’s fairly easy to assume privilege and kinship. But they say, never assume the obvious is true. 

In a recent sit-down with Brown Girl Magazine, creative head and designer Zain Ahmad used the following three words to describe his swiftly growing streetwear label Rastah: “identity, struggle, community.” There is no denying that fashion is a form of self-expression. Fashion is also a reflection of culture, community and politics and it has the power to challenge norms, initiate movement and pave way for social change. But for a South Asian label to unite these multi-dimensional abilities of the fashion realm in complete harmony whilst also being an extension of the founder’s own struggle with an identity crisis is not a common sight. 

Having lived in multiple cities across the world, Ahmad, who now collaborates with celebs like Anil Kapoor, Harshvardhan Kapoor and Academy Award winner Riz Ahmed, always had a hard time fitting in. In a sea of quintessentially ‘white’ personalities, Ahmad would often find himself either defending his Pakistani roots and identity or dissociating himself from prevalent stereotypes and preconceived notions. Eventually in 2018, together with Adnan Ahmad and Ishmail Ahmad, he founded Rastah — a symbolic representation of the social struggle Ahmad overcame as a growing individual, finding solace and pride in his brown-ness. Since then Rastah has become a raging success; a hip, edgy, relevant streetwear brand that sustainably combines indigenous South Asian artisanship with a more contemporary design ethos. It has carved its own niche of admirers who look past its luxury price tag and find meaning and passion in the experimental and futuristic art it has to offer. 

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

Our conversation with Ahmad delves into this intimate design process that Rastah follows, the narrative it has established for South Asian creators looking to smash the old rules of the establishment and the pathway it’s creating for local artisans by positioning and promoting their craft in the global fashion landscape:

We know Rastah is a brand reinterpreting South Asian culture, craft and design forms. But what more is to the label and its mission than just being a reflection of the local culture?

Rastah is pretty much a reflection of who I am as an individual, encompassing all my flaws, insecurities, things I appreciate about myself and even things I may not like about myself. And the sort of distorted, edgy aesthetic that people get to see is more a culmination of me as a brown person having lived in so many different parts of the world, struggling with my identity. I reflect on this now that as someone who lived in the UK and in Canada, I would often find myself in a situation where I would forcefully try to fit in. I’d be at a table with a bunch of white friends and would hear a passive aggress joke, that may have not been intended to be racist, but I’d still find the need to say that “hey, I am not like all the other brown folks you see out there.” So Rastah is an extension and/or a representation of me getting out of that shell; rediscovering my identity and celebrating and championing my heritage. And I feel this is something that many people can relate with. We are still stuck in a post-colonial hangover of sorts. We are still not fully rooted in who we are and who we want to be. So Rastah is for everyone out there who just want to be themselves. 

On the modern, edgy aesthetic, when exactly did your love for urban streetwear began?

I used to live in Vancouver and Vancouver is a very multi-cultural city. I noticed that fashion is such an important means of communicating not just where you’re from but also who you are, what you’re feeling, what’s so deeply rooted inside you. I also found it very interesting what people like Virgil Abloh did within the streetwear scene, turning streetwear over its heels and giving it a new meaning. Over the last decade, we have seen fashion completely transform through the lens of streetwear and that’s when I realised that streetwear isn’t about the clothes; it’s about the narrative and the emotions behind it; what’s important is the story behind the clothes and I love storytelling. 

Around that time, I thought to myself there’s so much more I need to discover about myself, maybe I should go to back to Pakistan and learn more about my country’s heritage and craft. That’s how Rastah came about. Honestly, I don’t think I can guarantee whether or not I’ll continue to do fashion in the future but what I can guarantee is I will continue to tell stories. I have aspirations in writing and in filmmaking so the story really is the main core of the whole idea. 

You haven’t trained or specialized in fashion design?

No. I taught myself everything from scratch which I believe ended up being a blessing in disguise, because for me, there were no rules. In Pakistan, fashion practices are very boxed; there are rules to be followed. And then when you have this newcomer who is actually a political science graduate and knows absolutely nothing about the industry, you just throw yourself in and are of the mindset that I am just going to discover as much as I can. And that’s when you start to redefine the rules for yourself. Maybe it’s why Rastah caught people’s eyes. They were like, “oh, what is he doing? He’s using these prints that aren’t supposed to be used in this way. It’s interesting but strange.”

The brand is reviving the dying craft of block printing through its urban, contemporary and relevant designs.

What’s the journey of establishing the brand in Pakistan been like? Bringing local craftsmen on board, setting up the business and making it lucrative; it’s a business at the end of the day. What have been some of the challenges?

The business side of it was definitely a struggle. I went into it thinking it would be a world of utopia and things would just fall into my lap and we would just be creating amazing things. But unfortunately the canary in the coal mine was hinting at it not being that way. One of the biggest problems I noticed was that craft, in general, in Pakistan was either dying or already dead. And so it was a struggle getting these artisans to trust the brand, its mission, its longevity and the creative process. Over the past two decades, these craftsmen had met many people who made promises but never really saw them through. So the first step was to be able to build an environment and a culture where there’s a symbiotic and collaborative relationship between artisans and the team. 

[Read Related: Rootsgear: Streetwear that Makes a Statement]

And then turning this creative collaboration into a lucrative business has been very difficult as well. What people fail to understand is that when you’re trying to create a brand, you may not see the cash coming in right at the beginning, because building brand equity comes before making money. Now we’re in that phase where we’ve built a bit of brand equity which is transitioning into sales. It’s a balancing act where you create products that suffice your needs as a designer and work as an outlet and you’re also creating products that are easier on the consumer and easier to sell. For instance, the t-shirts and the hoodies we make, may not take as much time and effort in designing but for consumers they are easy pieces to not only wear but also to buy into the brand. Whereas I may take six months to design a jacket that looks absolutely crazy and I would personally want to wear it every day but not everybody’s going to want to wear it or love it for the same reasons. 

Also it’s important to be very operationally sound and have a key component within your business that is able to manage all of the day-to-day hurdles. Luckily, we’ve built a team where everybody is able to work on every single role and we are also so closely tied to the supply chain. If I was living in Canada and trying to run Rastah in Pakistan, it would be an absolute shit show of a disaster. But because we are here and so closely knit, we are able to solve those problems in real time. 

We’ve established that Rastah is an extension of your personal experiences and perceptions of the world, but where do the artisans and other members of the design team sit in the entire creative process of making a Rastah collection?

The process for every collection always starts with a narrative. It’s going to be me writing down a story; I’ll sketch, my team will make sketches and then we use those sketches to create a palette for the fabrics, for prints and textile. That’s when the artisans start to get involved where I’ll ask Aslam sahab (crafter) for suggestions on prints and designs that would fit into the palette. He’ll come back to me with his input and then we head to the weavers and ask them that this is the sort of texture looking for and what do they suggest should be done in order for us to achieve what we’re trying to achieve. So the design process is very collaborative. If you take even one person out of it, the whole thing would collapse. 

The entire creative process of a single piece of clothing is a collaborative effort between the artisans and the design team.

And how do you come around to selecting the quotes and phrases that one can often see in Rastah’s pieces?

We’ve made this a practice at work where I tell my team that if they feel there’s a certain quote that would make sense — it doesn’t even have to come from a famous person; it could just be something sitting inside of them, let’s put it on the garment because there’s probably a chance that a lot of other people are feeling the same way too. For example, the next collection has a phrase incorporated through out the collection. It says that even the emptiness within your heart has a sound to it. So together we just see and gauge what’s really sticking with us and would also make sense to the consumer.

About your comment on designers making promises and then not seeing them through. Would you call Rastah a ‘fair trade, fair wage streetwear brand?’

Yes, absolutely! What I’ve told my artisans who have been working with us that this is going to be a process over many years. Around three years ago, we met this weaving family in Kasur and the Master sahab told his kids that this is probably just temporary, he’s (Ahmad) come to get this little swatch made and he probably won’t come back again. But that three yards of a swatch turned into 30, which then turned into 300 and is now close to a 1000. So, it takes a lot of time to not only be able to build that level of trust but also be able to pass on the confidence to the artisans that they have ownership involved within the products.

The other thing is that because of the way we have priced ourselves and because of our higher gross margins, we’re actually able to bear artists on five to 10 times more compared to what a normal brand in Pakistan would be able to afford. What we pay the artisans is what a normal brand would be retailing their products at. Our price point allows us to set aside a cushion to pay them fairly. 

We are now incorporating an interesting element to the model. A lot of our artisans also have their own creations. It can be a tapestry, a rug, a tablecloth. What we are now doing is that we’re giving these artists a platform to sell these products on our website. The brand value allows them to sell these products for a lot more than what they would get locally and they get to keep the money. What it does is it instills this feeling of confidence and hope in a person’s abilities. It provides them another income stream.

Circling back to our discussion where you mentioned that fashion in Pakistan is relatively boxed. And even with Rastah coming out and so many other young talented artists pushing the envelope, we still haven’t reached that level of global appreciation as our other South Asian counterparts. What do you think is lacking in the industry’s as well as the society’s overall approach?

The mindset of mass consumers in Pakistan facilitates a certain kind of a business. A lot of our big, fast fashion brands cater to this mindset. The consumers want to see the very cheesy campaigns and the same trends. And it’s making designers tonnes of money so they don’t feel the need to step out of their comfort zone. 

The challenge is when someone in Pakistan tries to do something different they are completely disregarded and scrutinised, so challenging the narrative then becomes very hard to do so. In India, for instance, any start-up that comes up is championed locally before it gets championed abroad. Over here, it’s the other way round. Because we are still dealing with this post-colonial hangover, we first need to get the stamp of approval from the ‘white’ population before we get a thumbs up from our local audience. I don’t think Rastah would’ve been where it’s at, had we not been published in Vogue, had maybe Anil Kapoor not worn our clothes, had Riz Ahmed not worn our clothes or Karan Johar. All of these people have led to local consumers thinking that if they are saying it’s a cool brand, then it definitely must be. So we need to get rid of that mentality in order to make waves in the broader market. 

[Read Related: Designer Arpita Mehta on her Craft, Artisans, and 2021 Trends]

Rastah — drawn from an Urdu word meaning path or journey — is definitely making waves with its pathbreaking business model and approach to streetwear and its unique, personalised reinterpretation of Pakistan’s inherent craft. And with global affiliations already underway, it’s set out on this journey of making a statement for Pakistani and South Asian representation on the global stage. In fact, the brand’s latest collection doesn’t even feature models. The label, with the help of a local 3D company, has created a whole universe where digitally crafted models can be seen wearing the pieces and resonating with the brand’s newest, rather trippy idea. It’s the sort of evolution that the local Pakistani fashion scene has been yearning for. It’s not just connecting consumers with clothes, it’s giving them an avenue to express themselves, define their sartorial identity and form an intimate relationship with fashion. 


Photos Courtesy: Zain Ahmad

By Nida Hasan

Managing Editor at Brown Girl Magazine, Nida has worked and written for several publications in a journalism career spanning almost … Read more ›

BySimran: On a Mission to Make Minimalist Desi Jewelry for Everyone

desi jewelry

While growing up in suburban Pennsylvania, with little to no outlet to connect with her desi culture, Simran Anand always strived to stay true to her Indian roots. Fashion, which is almost the easiest medium to incorporate his or her culture, is something she and her mom enjoyed exploring. “Beauty needs no ornaments,” her mom always says. Beauty is something that is innately within us, and we can only enhance it with desi jewelry or clothing, makeup, compliments or “ornaments.” That is one of her favorite quotes. It serves as a building block for her personal style and the nature of her brand. 

desi jewelry
Simran Anand, founder of @_bysimran, wearing the iconic ‘Baby Jhumkas,’ ‘Moksha’ anklets, and ‘Just Pretty’ necklace.

As a fashion enthusiast, she often found herself scrolling through Etsy and Amazon to find the perfect desi accessories to match her Western outfits. While there were abundant options displaying intricate jhumkas to chand-balis, none quite matched the vibe she was on the hunt for. 

And, what was that vibe? 

“Versatile, indo-western, comfortable. I truly wanted pieces that reflect western minimalism and desi maximalism. I am on a mission to create the ‘desi girl aesthetic.'”

Where, oh where could she find those? Sure, the mini jhumkas are a cute addition to a Lucknowi kurta and jeans. But, what about putting a South Asian twist to the perfect white dress for your European vacation? Or, something minimal to pair with maximal Indian outfits?

That’s exactly when her ever-so-supportive fiancé encouraged her to make them! Desi jewelry that is made for both sides of our identities, South Asian and American, “because that’s who we are.” Easier said than done, of course. The quality had to be on par with the daily jewelry we are used to wearing. Since she wanted pieces that were wearable daily, creating jewelry that is nickel-free, tarnish-free, and hypoallergenic was the goal. 

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After countless hours of designing and kickstarting her brand, she received her first batch. Staying true to her mission of producing wearable desi jewelry, the original clasp on the jhumka was a bit too thick and that was something she was not “300%” proud of. Now, her pieces fit more like a “paper-like stud.” The material was one hurdle. The other ordeal was dealing with her imposter syndrome. Dealing with the fact that she started this venture, which to some, may seem like “just selling jhumkas” was something that she needed to overcome. 

So, how did you overcome that? 

[Read Related: Accepting my Cultural Identity Through Jhumkas and Bharata Natayam]

The universe has its way of having your back. “When I posted a video on TikTok, I literally woke up from a nap to see it go viral.”  As the feedback came in, her confidence skyrocketed. “Every no is a yes you do not know about,” she promises. Sales started pouring in and Simran noticed that many felt the same need for such pieces as she did. 

Months after her launch, Simran aims to build ‘BySimran’ stronger each day. Soon enough, she would like for it to be a household name and a lifestyle brand. We can definitely see her “Hailey Bieber Meets Desi Girl” jewelry brand on every girl’s aesthetic Pinterest boards. 


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Pro Tip: 

If you are a mono-chrome girly like herself, get a white button-down basic shirt with some medium-washed high-waisted jeans, and pair them with some kitty heels and a matching purse. And, do not forget to finish the look with the micro-jhumka if going out for brunch or running some errands. If you’re getting ready for a dinner date, go for the baby jhumkas. Do not miss the Sapna anklets, which come in a pack of 2, the true desi way.

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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 ›

‘BollyWed’: Toronto’s First-Ever South Asian Bridal Series is Here!

For the Singh family, Chandan Fashion has always been bigger than simply a bridal showroom. Located in the heart of Gerrard Street, a bustling Little India in Toronto, the bright blue and pink building can be spotted from a distance. Over the years, Chandan has garnered attention from customers from all over North America, even as far as California and Virginia.

For Chandan and Roop, who work alongside “Mom and Dad,” Chandan Fashion is a family business and a way to showcase the beauty of South Asian culture while playing a helping hand in allowing every bride and groom to feel special on their big day. Chandan is their legacy and one they hope to be able to showcase the beauty and intricacies of throwing that “big Indian wedding” on their new CBC show, “BollyWed.”

“BollyWed” follows this tight-knit family through the joys and difficulties of running a multigenerational business. Throughout the variety of clients, discussions of new generation business practices versus old generation, many lehengas, and plenty of laughs, this is one whirlwind journey through the marriage industry.

Brown Girl had the opportunity to interview Chandan and Roop Singh, who were incredibly down-to-earth and a joy to speak to. Here is the interview down below!

What was the inspiration for opening Chandan?

Chandan: My mom and dad started the vision back in 1984 — they started the business. I have a store in India that was started by my grandfather which my father worked in as well, so it is kind of multi-generational of being within this industry of clothing and fashion. My father had a dream of starting what his father did in India, in Canada. While visiting friends in Toronto, my father knew that the Gerrard Indian Bazaar was the right place for them to start, it was the largest Indian market in the Northern America area. He rented a space for two years a couple of doors down from where Chandan originated and then in 1986 we had the opportunity to purchase the corner unit and grow it from one floor to two, to now a four-floor showroom.

Roop: And it should be noted that 1986 is also the year that Chandan was born, hence the name of the store. Chandan Fashion.

Many cities have their own versions of Little India. What was it like growing up/operating in Gerrard Street East? What do you think makes Gerrard Street unique?

Roop: It is funny you say that because even now when we have people traveling to Toronto, checking out Gerrard Street is on their itinerary. So we get a lot of clientele that are visiting from out of town whether it be visiting for the day or weekend. Some of them will sometimes get a hotel nearby for about a week and do their entire wedding family shopping with us.

Chandan has literally grown up in Gerrard Street, but I grew up in Toronto as well. I spent a good chunk of my own childhood in Little India on Gerrard Street. Growing up in the 90s, it was the only Indian bazaar in the greater Toronto area, so anyone who wanted to meet members of their community, have really good South Asian food, shop for upcoming events, or celebrate Diwali or Holi, this is where [they’d] go. This is where my mom would take me on the weekends and I remember popping into Chandan Fashion when my mom needed an outfit. In that way, our childhoods are connected over Little India and I feel like a lot of first-generation kids will sympathize with me, when we wanted to feel a little bit at home, that is where we would go.

How did you get the “BollyWed” opportunity on CBC? What is it like working with your family? What roles do you all play in the business? How do we get to see this in the show?

Roop: It has been quite a journey. It wasn’t necessarily such a drastic transition because already the family was very close-knit in the sense that they are working day in and day out. We do our social media together and our buying together, go to fashion shows. So naturally things we were already doing as a family were just translated to the TV. That is what I love the most about the show, it is just an authentic following of what we do on a daily basis as a family and as a business. It has been a great experience and something that we are super grateful for. It was actually seven years in the making and I’ll let Chandan tell you how “BollyWed” came to be.

Chandan: It started out in 2014. I was at a wedding show and I was approached by the executive producer, Prajeeth and we shot a shizzle. He had an idea of a wedding show with a family narrative and I had been watching ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ extensively. I knew that there was this really interesting market and this fascination with South Asian outfits and bridalwear given that it was so colorful and the beadwork was so ornate. There was a lot more interesting subject matter, especially if we tie that into a seven-day-long wedding and you tie that into multiple events and families. That is more prevalent in South Asian culture: what the mother-in-law thinks, what the mother thinks. But five to six years went by and we got 22 rejections over that period by almost every network imaginable. I was always excited that we were getting rejected because I knew that eventually, we would get a yes. Eventually at the end of 2021, around the end of the COVID era, the production company reached out asking if we were still interested in the show. I said it was never a question of ‘if,’ it was a question of ‘when.’ From the get-go, I knew that this show would be picked up, I knew it would be a success. In March 2022 we got greenlit. We had this amazing journey of seven months of continuous filming. It has been an amazing journey to be able to represent South Asians on television in a way that has not been done before. I like lighthearted programming and I am glad that we were able to influence the show because of our lives and make it a lighthearted family show that people can watch. But we still get to have important discussions.

Roop: I love that Chandan mentioned this. We get to showcase a lot of pivotal subjects in today’s society. For example, we made sure that inclusivity was showcased across all 10 episodes and that is something that I give credit to our directors and producers, they did a wonderful job showcasing how inclusive not just us as a business, but as a brand and as a family we are. These are values that have been instilled in us, that when somebody crosses your threshold and comes into your store, it doesn’t matter what their background is, their color, or their orientation, that is irrelevant. It is something that we don’t factor in, we just consider that this is the patron, the client. There is no judgment — not in our store, not in our family. And I love that we were able to share that on a big screen for everyone to see. That was one reason why it was so important to do this, but the other reason has a lot to do with Chandan and his childhood.

Chandan: So for me, I was born and raised in Toronto. I went to a very small school where I was the only South Asian for a long time in that school. I was the only Punjabi kid, the only kid with a turban, and eventually the only one with a beard, so I noticeably stood out compared to all my peers. My father with his best intentions sent me to a really small school, a private school, that he could not afford to pay for. Where at times the check would bounce every month, but he had a very strong belief that if he provided me a quality education [so] I would keep something really dear to him —keeping the belief in religion — I wouldn’t cut my hair, I wouldn’t cut my beard, I wouldn’t conform to society. He wanted to give me the best chance to succeed as is, [but] the unfortunate truth was I was bullied, I was picked on. I wouldn’t tell him, but people would grab my jurra, my turban, and my hair. And as a kid I would just let it go because you do not want to go home and tattle to your parents, but also because I knew how sensitive of a topic it was to my dad. And I think that my experience would have been different if people didn’t ask me every month, ‘How long is your hair? What do you keep under that?’ All these questions made me feel really uncomfortable, but the other kids also asked because they had never seen anyone like me. If I had grown up with a show like this, I would not have felt so alone, such a strong desire to belong. This is one of the reasons I really believed in the show, I really wanted to have representation. Even if there is just one other kid who watches this show and grows up in a suburb where there aren’t many South Asian kids; if he is able to turn the TV on and see my dad with such a thick accent — English isn’t his first language — but he still owns it so confidently. Or they see a guy like me with a turban and a beard and see that frankly he still has such a hot wife.

Roop: But beyond that, this gentleman with a turban and thick accent, they are such normal people. They love takeout, they like to play tennis, and they could be your neighbor. Other than their outward appearance, they are very much like you, very similar.

Your support in styling Priyanka for their drag performance was inspiring and refreshing to see. How do you change your styles/designs to foster inclusivity?

Roop: I think that goes back to what I was saying about how Mom and Dad have fostered this universal approach to our clientele. We do not look beyond their needs. I think it is also important to note that some people had thought that we had Priyanka come onto the show to make it more interesting, but their relationship with the store spans over the past five to seven years.

Chandan: Twenty years. Priyanka and their family have been shopping at the store for the past 20 years since they were kids. When Priyanka started exploring the world of drag, they came and said they needed a costume that they would be designing. It also wasn’t even any of my peers or me that made that connection with Priyanka, it was actually my dad, the older generation. He said, ‘Don’t worry beta.’ He actually corrected himself and said, ‘Beti, we will be there for you.’ And he got them a really nice sari and lehenga which they converted into a costume that won the first season.

Roop: And Priyanka put their own spin on it and created something amazing. Only because we were the designers of those pieces could we tell that that is a piece from our lehenga. They did such a fabulous job with it.

Chandan: I think we sometimes think of the older generation, like our parents, as being more conservative, but I think that it is a one-sided narrative. Not all of the older generation is as conservative as we think. And my dad just took it as a paying customer is a paying customer. It doesn’t matter what their orientation or beliefs are, and that just naturally unfolded into the story that we are sharing. He did not treat it as a big deal.


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For our readers currently planning their weddings, do you have any pieces of advice on how to balance all the heavy details of wedding planning without losing sight of why they are doing it for?

Roop: One thing for the bride and groom is not to lose sight of themselves in all of this. I’ve been there and done that. You plan this extravagant seven-day affair, you have all these people flying out to your wedding, and you feel this really heavy responsibility to make sure that all these guests are taking time out of their lives to celebrate your union. And like myself — and I am guilty of this, which is why I want to tell my fellow brides — [you] tend to make it less about [yourself] and more about everyone else who is attending. And yes, of course, everyone is important and I owe them respect for joining us. But remember what you want in the heart of heart, if you want a small wedding, go for a small wedding. If you want a big wedding, go for a big wedding. If you want the seven-tiered cake, go for it, if you just want cupcakes, go for that. At the end of the day don’t forget what makes you happy. Don’t lose sight of it, just be authentic to yourself.

Chandan: Oftentimes in the wedding industry, people are really looked down upon. Like, ‘Oh my gosh, you are spending so much for this wedding!’ Or, ‘You are obsessing over these details!’ If it is important to you, it is okay. I would not let judgment get in the way of doing what you want whether it be a small intimate 20-person wedding or a having a 1000-person wedding. This is your moment. The biggest thing I hear is, ‘Oh, it is only for an hour.’ But, if you have a photographer, nothing is for an hour. It is for a lifetime. Those moments last a lifetime. If it is something that you hold near and dear to you, you will cherish it. I wish people would stay true to themselves.

Roop: Yeah, agreed. Be mindful of what sparks joy in you and let that be your compass. The most important piece of advice though: At every function please request that your caterer create a to-go container of the meal at the event for you and your partner to enjoy after because often, and it is so sad to hear this, the bride and groom will eat last at their own event or not at all. And you spend all these months planning [an] extravagant menu and then you don’t even get to eat your own wedding cake. Hah! That happened to us!

Do you have any future plans that you feel excited about sharing with Chandan?

Chandan: Yeah! I would say concrete plans are in the pipeline. In the first episode of ‘BollyWed’ [you] see that we come to the realization that there is just not enough space and we would love to expand into another space.

Roop: And this is where you get a lot of the new generation, old generation beliefs. Because mom and dad believe that the family should stay very close-knit and together to run the one location. And Chandan has the belief that [the] true success of a business is when it is scalable, and has multiple locations nationally, globally even. In Episode 10 you get a conclusion, but we will let the readers watch it for themselves!

You can now watch the inaugural season of CBC’s “BollyWed” on CBC TV every Thursday at 8 p.m. EST or stream it for free on CBC Gem! And that’s not all from the Chandan Fashion team! They’ll soon be featured in an Instagram LIVE chat with Brown Girl Magazine, so stay tuned!

By Vashali Jain

Vashali Jain is a medical student at Virginia Commonwealth University. In her spare time, she likes to experiment in the … Read more ›

3 Tips on how to Rock Viva Magenta, the Pantone Color for 2023

The results are in — the Pantone Color for 2023 is here — and it looks like Viva Magenta will be ruling runways, the streets, and (even) your wardrobes.

Viva Magenta is a deep shade of red, and Pantone describes it:

Brave and fearless.

It’s meant to be celebratory, and joyous, and encourage experimentation. If you were thinking of toning it down a notch with your wardrobe in 2023, it’s time to think again. It can really be your time to shine in something bright and colorful!


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But, for anyone who’s used to wearing neutrals, Viva Magenta can be daunting.

How do you incorporate this vibrant hue into your everyday looks?

Where can you find just the right pieces?

How do you rock the color without going overboard?

Well, popular South Asian designers and maestros of color are here to answer all your questions.

[Read Related: Decoding Dopamine Dressing This Summer]

Aprajit Toor, Arpita Mehta, and Rahul Khanna break it down for you — what to wear, how to pair, and everything in between. Their takes on the Pantone Color for 2023 are simple but they’ll help you make a bold statement anywhere you go!

Take a look at what they have to say.

Rahul Khanna of Rohit Gandhi + Rahul Khanna:

Viva Magenta is a color that suits all skin tones. It’s a color for all occasions; women and men can both wear this color with [the] right styling. Cocktail saris, jumpsuits, and reception gowns are some great options for women whereas, for men, the color has started picking up a lot lately. Men have started experimenting with their looks and we as designers have more options for men as well. Recently, we made a custom-made silk velvet fit for Ranveer Singh in the same color. Apart from your everyday clothing, Viva Magenta is also going to be the ruling shade for the upcoming wedding season.

Arpita Mehta:

The best way to do Viva Magenta in your everyday wardrobe is to go top to bottom in [it]. Be it in co-ord sets or a kaftan or any comfortable outfit. It’s such a bold & beautiful color that it looks the best when it’s self on self rather than teaming it up or breaking it with another color.

Aprajita Toor:

Viva Magenta is a very powerful and empowering color that descends from the red family. It is an animated red that encourages experimentation and self-expression without restraint; an electrifying shade [that] challenges boundaries. One can easily incorporate this color by picking a statement footwear, bag, or jewelry in Viva Magenta which can be paired with neutral or monotone colored outfits.

And there you have it — three ways you can easily take a vibrant hue and turn it into something you can wear every day. Take cues from these top designers on how to wear the Pantone Color of the year and get started! We’d love to see how you style Viva Magenta!

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 ›