Over the last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced all of us to make significant lifestyle changes. The all-pervasive change has been the wearing of masks that restricts our sense of smell, a sense that we usually take for granted. Pallavi Padukone, a New York-based textile designer and artist, is exploring the unique combination of scent and textiles. The idea of using fragrance for its therapeutic qualities and its connection with nostalgia and memory was one that resonated with her. Reinterpreting the fragrance industry, her experimental sensorial collection, Reminiscent uses natural ways to integrate and infuse scents into handmade textiles through weaving the fabric with fragrant yarn and embellishments.
Her initial source of inspiration was the calming effect of a small pouch of lavender while being cooped up in her apartment during the lockdown in 2020. This gave her the idea to further explore the concept of scents for wellness and how they can be expressed visually through color, patterns, and textures. Reminiscent, she believes, is her way of using textile art to condense time and distance and reconnect with nature, nostalgia, home, and identity.
Her current collection is dedicated to fragrances she associates with her hometown of Bangalore in India. The sweet-smelling jasmine from the flower markets close to her home, sandalwood scented talcum powder on her grandmother’s dresser, the smell of clove and spices wafting from the kitchen and the petrichor-like scent of the vetiver root (khus), reminiscent of Bangalore’s summer showers. As part of her research, she conducted surveys to record the relationship individuals had with fragrance and their link to memory, emotion, visual imagery, color, and texture.
Each chosen fragrance from her collection represents a different color palette and using pigments like cutch, turmeric, beetroot, walnut, etc., is translated through handwoven and embroidered wall hangings and tapestries. The idea of the fragrant yarn itself, she felt, opened more doors to possibilities regarding textile techniques. Collaborating with nature, through trial and error, she was able to develop a natural coating for yarn and beads to capture scents, using beeswax, natural resin, essential oils, and natural dyes. The testing phase for the coated yarn involved sampling weave structures and embroidery techniques that were best suited for the medium. She kept a record of swatches as a test of the materials’ durability and how long the scent and color last when exposed to heat and light.
Pallavi’s work is guided by culture and craft, using techniques of hand weaving and embroidery. She integrates hand-spun recycled silk sourced from old saris mixed with scent-coated cotton for her weaves and embroiders on organza silk. She is drawn to the way sheer fabrics interact with light to visually evoke the ephemeral experience of fragrance. With vetiver, she incorporates the fragrant root itself. It releases the most divine petrichor-like scent when activated with water. She has been inspired by the traditional Indian use of ‘khus’ as a natural air cooler, where it is matted and wet felted onto windows, using embroidery as a technique to tame the vetiver root while retaining its natural wildness.
The scents on these textile pieces in her collection continue to remain anywhere up to three months, depending on their exposure to heat and light. She finds beauty behind impermanence as a reminder of its completely natural state. Part of her ongoing exploration is also innovating with new ways of replenishing the fragrances. At a time when wearing masks is the new normal, and we take our sense of smell for granted, her textiles pay tribute to this powerful sensorial experience and its effect on mental and physical wellness.
Pallavi’s work was exhibited as part of New York Textile Month last year and was featured in The Times of India, Colossal and Mental Floss Magazine.
Dashing through the aisles, in a festive shopping spree, in the air, there’s a feeling of glee! The most wonderful time of the year is upon us, and what better way to spread joy than by curating a gift guide that celebrates diversity and creativity. Jingle bell, jingle bell, it’s time to share the cheer! Join us on a sleigh ride through the realms of home, fashion, beauty, food, and kids, as we showcase the brilliance of South Asian and minority-owned brands. The holiday season is more than just tinsel and lights; it’s a time to embrace the spirit of giving.
Dive into a world of premium artisan dried fruit-based products, seamlessly combining gourmet excellence with a commitment to a healthy lifestyle — 100% natural, preservative-free, and without added cane sugar. Elevate your festivities with these exquisite, guilt-free indulgences.
Explore the culinary magic of ‘The Chutney Life Cookbook‘ this season, a perfect gift for busy moms and curious cooks alike. A culinary treasure trove filled with anecdotes, love notes, and time-saving tips. Share the joy of flavorful journeys inspired by travels and Indian-American cooking traditions.
Savor the joy of the season with the ‘Milk and Cardamom’ cookbook — infusing every occasion with bold, unforgettable desserts inspired by Indian-American heritage. From Ginger–Chai Chocolate Pot de Crème to Gulab Jamun Bundt Cake, each bite is a celebration worth sharing. Get it here!
Bring home the flavors of India with The Cumin Club’s ready-to-eat meals — a diaspora-inspired solution, crafted by expert chefs using regional ingredients for an authentic taste of comfort; perfect for the busy holiday season.
If you’re craving authentic chai that tastes just like what you’d get back in India, check out Kolkata Chai Co at either of two city New York City location or order from their online store. Their “Aunty Approved” masala chai is a must-try!
Sip the spirit of the season with Kola Goodies’ teas — crafted from high-quality, directly sourced ingredients that not only bring freshness to your cup but also empower the communities they hail from. Share the warmth of conscious sipping this festive holiday.
Are you a chai lover? If so, you need to check out The Chai Box’s fantastic tea blends! From the aromatic Masala Chai to soothing Green Tea, each hand-crafted blend takes you on a flavorful journey through the diverse regions of India.
Fuel your day with Transcendence Coffee, a brew that breaks free from traditional limits, merging specialty beans and all-natural flavors for a truly unique and exotic coffee experience. It’s not just coffee; it’s a flavorful journey connecting cultures and countries worldwide, starting with the founders’ roots in India and Algeria.
Embrace the sunshine spirit with a 7-year-old rum from the Philippines. Infused with tropical vibes, it boasts flavors of sweet pineapple, a hint of vanilla, and a pinch of sea salt — here’s some island bliss for the holidays.
Ignite your holiday celebrations with Naagin Sauce — an authentic tribute to India’s spice culture. Free from purees and high fructose corn syrup, these hot sauces are a versatile, high-quality blend, perfect for the true Indian palate. Bring the warmth and flavor of India to your festive table.
Sip into the holidays with Vahdam Teas, a favorite of icons like Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres. Indulge in premium teas sourced directly from India, elegantly delivered to your doorstep, making for the perfect gift or personal treat this festive season.
Delight in the holidays with Madhu Chocolate, a small-batch, award-winning chocolatier crafting unique Indian-inspired flavors. Indulge in handcrafted chocolate made with cacao from India and Colombia. Support a 100% LGBTQ+ and 50% BIPOC minority-owned business from Austin, Texas, making for a sweet and inclusive holiday treat.
Spice up your festive season with Diaspora Co. — bringing you the freshest, heirloom, and single-origin spices directly from South Asian farmers. Elevate your holiday cooking and add a touch of authentic flavor to your celebrations.
Wake up to the holidays with Ministry of Kaapi! This woman-owned, wildlife-friendly coffee haven is all about fine Indian coffee. Sourced, imported, and roasted with love — their super slow-drip Decoction proves that good things, especially coffee, take time. Cheers to festive sips!
Savor divine indulgence with Theobroma —’ Food of the Gods.’ From brownies to breads, their heavenly treats spread smiles nationwide. If you find yourself in India this holiday season, don’t miss the joy at Theobroma Patisseries!
Add some noise to your holiday cooking with Omsom, a Vietnamese phrase for noisy and riotous, just like our unruly childhood car rides. Crafted by two first-gen Vietnamese sisters, Omsom brings delicious sauces and saucy noodles in collaboration with iconic Asian chefs. Get ready for a flavorful riot!
Up the ante in your kitchen with Our Place, where kitchen essentials meet connections made across the table. Begin your culinary journey today with their Heirloom dinnerware, creating moments that last.
Bask in the golden goodness of Brightland — consciously crafted extra virgin olive oils and vinegar from California, containing nothing but fruit, love, and sunshine. Explore their mini bottles, the perfect stocking stuffers that bring a taste of the Golden State to your holiday season.
Awaken your taste buds with Driftaway Coffee — offering personalized, farmer-focused, and eco-friendly subscriptions, delivering a unique tasting experience. Keep an eye out for their Indian-origin coffee, adding a touch of warmth and flavor to your holiday sips.
Elevate your hydration game with Urja — 100% real coconut water straight from Kerala. Cold-crafted to retain all the nutrients and flavor, URJA is your go-to for pure refreshment. Stay hydrated and refreshed this holiday season!
Snack guilt-free with Asha Pops — offering healthy, vegan, and paleo low-calorie treats made from popped water lily seeds, known as makhana. These plant-based delights are not just low in calories but also delicious.
Elevate your well-being with Spicewell’s clean and delicious pantry essentials, blending ancient Ayurvedic wisdom with modern science. Their commitment to non-GMO, vegan ingredients ensures a guilt-free indulgence.
South Asian-American fusion snacks made with guilt-free ingredients? Yes, please. Their holiday box comes with their staple offerings: Black Truffle Masala, Chili Chaat Popcorn, Mint Chaat Popcorn, and a bag of their Black Truffle Masala-Oven Roasted Peanuts and Chili Chaat Oven-Roasted Peanuts.
A slow fashion handmade brand that brings timeless elegance to your holiday season. Crafted using traditional methods, their durable sandals are inspired by the classic Kohlapuris’ blending of conventional and modern designs for a unique touch.
The pioneers of Desi food-inspired jewelry — from jalebis to pani puri — their quirky-themed earrings make the perfect holiday gift for co-workers or your secret Santa group. Add a sprinkle of fun and flavor to your festivities!
A small batch, Indo-Western swimwear boutique bringing you unique, desi-inspired designs crafted for beach comfort. Make a splash this holiday season with distinctive swimwear that stands out on the shore.
Tia Bhuva is a pioneer in game-changing saree silhouettes that offer maximum comfort, efficiency, and effortlessness. Beyond sarees, they curate great ethnic options with the intention of helping you look and feel your best, hassle-free.
Houston-based slow fashion studio merging South Asian art with contemporary design to create bold and beautiful garments. Seize the opportunity to add their unique pieces to your collection this holiday season!
Wrap yourself in the warmth of State Cashmere — crafted with generations of expertise from Inner Mongolia’s cashmere heritage. Improve your winter style with luxurious pieces that bring comfort and sophistication to your holiday season!
Founded by three in 2013, Dagne Dover creates problem-solving bags – for all the problem-solving humans out there. An eco-friendly brand, Dagne Dover bags keep up, stay organized, and look good doing it.
Dive into the unique world of Warp, a Pakistani-made contemporary brand reshaping fashion norms with high-quality, abstract forms, and minimalist accessories. Discover non-conformist aesthetics and support the reinvention of leather craftsmanship.
A Los Angeles-based brand, intricately weaving traditional Indian textile techniques. Crafted in Gujarat by local artisans, their designs are not just stylish but also embody fair labor practices, time-honored craftsmanship, and a touch of holiday flair!
An innovative brand founded by a mother-son duo, seamlessly blending traditional craftsmanship with modern technology. Morni’s subscription-based platform revolutionizes the fashion landscape, promoting supply chain transparency and radical self-expression.
Explore the intersection of sustainability and luxury with Gundi Studios, a brand redefining the connection between traditional Indian textile techniques and contemporary silhouettes. Crafted by women for non-traditional women,.
This is a brand that epitomizes contemporary chic with a touch of traditional elegance. Gift the joy of bold prints and fashion-forward designs to your loved ones, encapsulating the spirit of celebration in every outfit. And calling all brides-to-be, don’t miss out on exploring Masaba’s first-ever bridal collection that debuted this fall — a blend of modern sophistication and timeless charm for your special day!
If you’re looking to indulge in some sonu (gold) this holiday season, check out Sonu Company for fine jewelry. As seen on the latest season of “Indian Matchmaking,” this brand is 100% Seema Aunty-approved!
A Jaipur-based fashion haven enriched with the essence of rural India’s historical textile techniques, HARAGO seamlessly blends tradition with modernity. By crafting contemporary clothing, this brand contributes to the preservation of ancient crafts, empowering traditional artisans to share their legacy with a global audience.
A brand crafted with a vision to amplify the artistry of South Asian craftsmanship — and operating between the vibrant streets of Delhi, India, and North Carolina — Sani brings to life clothing and accessories inspired by the rich cultural tapestry of South Asia.
Get ready to chill in style with Monday Chill! They’re all about bringing you the comfiest bamboo loungewear that’s both budget-friendly and downright luxurious. Say hello to effortless everyday coolness!
Add a cozy touch to your space with House of Amu’s exquisite cushions. Plus, enjoy a free 30-minute consult to discover the perfect pillow combination that suits your style and elevates your home decor.
If you’re feet are constantly cold, The Kushie keeps you warm year-round.Available in picture worthy prints like plaid, chenille, rose and blush, you can be sure to find one for you or someone you love.
Celebrate the season with Nayana Design Studio, where each hand-illustrated pattern is a whimsical blend of global inspiration and Indian tradition. Gift joy, magic, and meaning with their unique and vibrant creations.
Unwrap the essence of South Asian culture with Shop Kishmish’s hand-poured candles and thoughtfully designed paper goods. Each product preserves the charms of tradition, offering relatable and nostalgic delights for the festive season.
Toast to the festive season in style with Rayt’s vibrant glassware, adding a pop of color to your celebrations. Crafted with high-quality materials, these glasses are perfect for clinking in joyous moments that last a lifetime.
Your ultimate online plant shop, catering to plant enthusiasts of all levels. Whether you’re a budding plant parent or searching for the perfect green gift, The Sill has you covered with a variety of plants, resources, and delightful merchandise!
Dive into the world of cultural crafts with Hamesha Project’s enchanting kits. Each kit is a celebration of slow regional crafts from South Asia, offering a mindful and joyful crafting experience for kids and beyond.
Founded by the sister duo Taran and Bunny, the brand was created to make self care easier and healthier, while destigmatizing normal things like acne, puberty, periods and sex ed. We’re here to protect and nurture, and shift the narrative away from perfect skin and towards healthy skin.
Powered by science, backed by tradition, AAVRANI honors the founder Rooshy Roy’s beauty and celebrates her duality by uniting my worlds: clinically-proven, modern-day routine and ancient, all-natural rituals.
Spice up your holiday gifts with Teak Beauty’s lip products, a nod to the beauty of South Asian traditions. Crafted by Telugu sisters Nupoora and Pooja Reddy, these lip essentials bring a touch of glamour inspired by the intricate Teak wood doors of our homes. Perfect for adding a pop of color and culture to your festive season!
Treat yourself — or a loved one — to the beauty of Ayurveda with Forest Essentials. Indulge in organic facial, body, and hair care for a truly rejuvenating holiday pampering. Stock up on these cult favorites for a luxurious and wellness-filled season.
Your mother’s wisdom comes to life in Ghlee’s products, harnessing the goodness of ghee. Their lip balms are a godsend, especially during harsh winters, and make for the perfect gift. Not to mention, they smell divine!!
Transform your skincare routine with Ranavat, uniting luxury and Ayurvedic wisdom. With a cult following, their Mini Rituals Set is the perfect gift for a skincare enthusiast, promising indulgence and radiant results this holiday season.
Discover thoughtful beauty crafted with deep understanding and care for diverse skin types. With a goal of promoting healthy skin for all, Sachi Skin brings you skincare solutions that cater to your unique needs.
Indulge in the goodness from the Indian forest with Soma Ayurveda. As featured in VOGUE, ALLURE, and VANITY FAIR, their products offer an intimate way to experience fragrance and embrace each season with skin that shines.
Experience inside-out nourishment with Kanya. Their products, rooted in ancient yogic Chakra Balancing and Aromatherapy, go beyond skincare. They leave your skin supple, hydrate your body, elevate your mood, and work on internal imbalances through distinct chakra-focused essential oil blends.
Immerse yourself in the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda with Pure Alchemy Beauty. Rooted in this 5,000-year-old Indian healing system, their handcrafted products embrace every Ayurvedic principle, ensuring a holistic approach to skincare.
Redefining beauty standards, Mudita Earth is on a mission to bring clean beauty to women of color. Embrace skincare that empowers without compromise, providing a toxin-free path to glowing, confident skin.
Ever wondered how to make your daily skincare routine more exciting? Enter Nopalera! Their body products, infused with prickly pear and cactus, add a touch of Mexican freshness to your self-care game. give it a try!
Seeking a skincare routine that caters to diverse skin needs? Plantkos has got you covered! Their clinically-inclusive range addresses common concerns, ensuring effective results for all skin types and tones.
A South Asian haircare brand that needs to find a spot on your beauty shelf ASAP! Their Back To Your Roots Scalp and Hair Pre-wash offers all the benefits of a deep hair oil massage without the hassle of greasy strands.
On a mission to bring the wisdom of her foremothers, the secrets they held dear, and the natural ingredients they trusted, each tube of Aks Ubtan is a testament to this legacy. Enriched with Ayurveda’s power, their skin polish is a harmonious blend of nature’s most potent ingredients, such as Turmeric, Honey, Lactic Acid, and Jasmine Flowers.
Celebrate your unique beauty with Smart Melanin™ Beauty! Created by women of color, for women of color, Eadem offers science-backed, inclusive skincare that embraces, rather than alters, your natural tone. Redefine beauty standards with skincare made just for you.
Let’s make this season merrier by supporting these unique businesses and delighting our loved ones with thoughtful treasures that reflect the rich tapestry of our world. Happy holidays, and may your festivities be as bright and beautiful as the gifts you give!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ever since we can recall, the Cannes Film Festival has been a merger of movies and glamour. On one side, there are hand-picked films — ready to premiere and make their mark in the world of entertainment — and on the other, audiences and paparazzi alike are served epic moments in fashion.
The festival, aimed to preview upcoming films from all over the world, invites a wide variety of guests that span the film fraternity, of course, but more recently, has opened its doors to many digital content creators, including renowned South Asian creatives.
With a more vast guest list comes a more recent debate: Cannes is a film festival and not a fashion showcase. Kickstarting the debate this year was none other than ace Bollywood director, Nandita Das, who in an Instagram post shared:
Sometimes people seem to forget that it is a festival of films and not of clothes!
In short, Das wants Cannes’ narrative to continue to focus on films.
But of course, there’s been a paradigm shift in the guest list over the last few years; this shift has allowed talents from various industries — including lifestyle content creators, entrepreneurs, etc., who showcase their work in fashion and beauty like fine masterstrokes — to walk the carpet and represent their craft, making space for others in their industry.
Influential names like Dolly Singh, Kaushal, Diipa Buller-Khosla, and Shivani Bafna — all of whom made a raging impact on the red carpet this year — weigh in on the significance of representing South Asian artists/influencers on the red carpet, and how they feel they’ve been part of this paradigm shift at Cannes Film Festival.
I believe that each step we take at events like Cannes sends a powerful message of diversity, cultural richness, and artistic excellence. Representation matters, and the presence of South Asian creators on the red carpet at Cannes helps broaden the narrative of beauty, talent, and creativity. It allows us to showcase our unique perspectives, narratives, and contributions, ultimately contributing to a more inclusive industry. By actively participating and making our presence felt, we help create more opportunities and spaces for South Asian creators, encouraging others to share their stories with the world.
Since 2015, the first time I walked the red carpet, till this year I have always been invited by L’Oreal Paris, one of the main sponsors of the event. It has always been such an honor to be invited to the festival through the makeup brand that I have been using for almost two decades, and, before my social media career began. Personally, I feel a sense of acknowledgment from such a prestigious brand, and its head office teams that sponsor Cannes Film Festival, and value the work I have done and continue to do as a South Asian content creator within the beauty space. Makeup, hair, and beauty will always play a big role within the film industry and it’s something I have always created my content around which is why I am proud to attend.
This is a proud moment not just for me but also [for] my peers and the entire content creator ecosystem given that we have reached such new global stages and presence. Of course, as you said, such film festivals, once considered as an exclusive hub for a congregation of the finest acting talents have, in the last few years, opened their arms to more people from the entertainment industry.
This is not just a sudden phenomenon with a burst of Indian creators at the festival this year but there is increased participation from non-film and non-South Asian celebrities across various spectrums from different sides of the world. Along with the many filmmakers, actors, producers, etc I also met some amazing influencers and entrepreneurs from other sides of the world. It’s amazing to represent India and celebrate and champion the advent of the digital ecosphere on such a prominent platform.
The confluence of actors and creators signified the amalgamation of traditional cinema and new-age digital influence, highlighting the transformative power of creative expression and how festivals like Cannes have become more forthcoming and progressive in their approach.
Cannes, like any other prominent festival, boasts of a red carpet that is synonymous with fashion and glitz, and I wanted to use this opportunity to represent all the amazing Indian fashion designers on the carpet besides, of course, attending the screenings. As someone who is just not an influencer but also an actress, I thoroughly enjoyed all the red-carpet screenings and meeting like-minded film talent from around the world at the event. At some point in the future, I would like to be attending Cannes for a film I’ve featured in.
Creators are often placed into boxes of where they belong and the rooms they can be a part of. Being on the red carpet dismantles the ideology that there’s a cap on how far we, as creators and as a South Asian community, can go and what we can achieve.
The Cannes Film Festival has always been viewed as the epitome of a glamorous event — everyone who attends looks like they’re living their best lives. I used the platform to share an authentic message of what the experience felt like for me. To represent all of us who doubt our potential, experience imposter syndrome, and are nervous to find their place, yet continue to push through to achieve their dreams!
As the first Indian American influencer to walk at Cannes, I hope I can inspire young women to confidently ask, ‘Why not me?’
There’s no doubt that the Cannes Film Festival is centered around films, and continues to be a unique space for the global film fraternity to bring their art and showcase their aptitude. But, creators like Bafna, Singh, Buller-Khosla, and Kaushal — a special shoutout to Raja Kumari for being instrumental in paving the way as well — have their own set of responsibilities to fulfill upon their invitation to the prestigious event. Their will to represent their South Asian identities, celebrate their industries, and continue to hold space for their peers makes their presence at Cannes more than just clothes.
All images in the featured photo are from the influencers’ Instagram feeds.