Down the memory line

When asked about my early design influences by one of my Instagram friends, it immediately transported me back to where it all began…

Growing up in the enchanting and culturally rich city of Chennai, I was surrounded by heritage buildings and intricate temple architecture. This exposure to art and design gradually instilled a deep-rooted sense of familiarity and comfort within me.

Living in a joint family further contributed to this. As a child, I would often listen to English pop music playing on the car stereo, unknowingly developing a love for music. The likes of Backstreet Boys, Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, Venga Boys, and Spice Girls were my guilty pleasures. It wasn’t just their music that captivated me, but also the captivating styles showcased in their music videos.

I aspired to be like them so much that I started emulating their fashion. I distinctly remember my phase of being a Punk Princess (which, I must admit, is slightly embarrassing). I would line my eyes with dark kohl, wear black wristbands, and flaunt a rebellious chic look. I even went as far as drawing a heart and skull on my hand and painting my school shoes every day!

I didn’t fit in, and perhaps I didn’t want to. Most of my friends saw it as a passing phase and didn’t pay much attention. But my journey didn’t end there. As I entered college, my inclinations took a more divergent path. On one hand, I admired the outrageous styles of Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, and Lana Del Rey. On the other hand, I deeply appreciated the sophistication of Maharani Gayatri Devi and Audrey Hepburn.

I was a self-proclaimed “Pop-Punk Princess” on one side, while on the other, I loved Princess Diana’s elegance so much that I even got a haircut similar to hers before I even knew who she was!

While these celebrities had a profound impact on my fashion choices, my primary influence came from home. My mother herself had a fervent sense of fashion and dedicated a lot of effort and time to dress up her little girls.

All these factors, both within and outside my home, directly or indirectly sparked a love for all things fashion in me. They also instilled a sense of independent dressing and awakened my experimental side. Even before the era of styling or blogging had begun, I would play dress-up, explore different types of makeup and hairstyles. It was genuinely the most enjoyable and therapeutic activity for me when I was alone.

Sometimes, I would eagerly wait for my family to retire to their rooms, and then I would spend hours playing dress-up with my camera, long after the lights were out!

While this may sound peculiar to some, honestly, this is where I found my inspiration.

“I don’t expect to find inspiration. It just sort of comes. Sometimes you step on a bug and get inspired.” – Iris Apfel