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The Real Street-Style Winners People From Rural India: Stylist And Blogger Ashima Gandhi

  • IWB Post
  •  June 13, 2019

A cat mother for whom walking on the street is not just a cardiovascular activity but a major part of sourcing ideas. Meet Ashima Gandhi, a stylist, creative director, and blogger whose work is a reflection of art from the visual theatre of streets blended with her intuitive aesthetic.

A thrift shopper by nature, Gandhi finds love, solace, and magic in details. A broom? A tin box? A bathtub? There’s fashion, story, and value to everything in this stylist’s creative suitcase.

Dodging the mainstream world, she started her blog Stray Style about two years ago and paints the digital world through her Instagram page Stray Style Cat. She began with collaborative editorials and expanded her area of artwork with creative direction and now with photography.

We found out more about Gandhi’s work in an easy-breezy, candid conversation with her. Read excerpts:

We, through the name of your Instagram page, reckon that the cat plays a huge inspiration in your work.

Haha. So, my blog is named Stray Style while the Insta page reads Stray Style Cat. My cat Mayo, who walked into my life about five years ago in Goa, is a rescue cat. He plays a huge inspiration in teaching me things. Cats are fierce and self-loving, and that’s what inspires me about him.

These super evolved living beings that reset our body and mind. Lessons on self love, self reliance and curiosity from Mayo, the yogi. #internationalyogaday ________________________________ #throwbackthursday #straystylecat #yogapants #yogadaily #cuddles #catlady #tantra #goodvibes #catsofinstagram #hippybullshit #weirdos #mayo

255 Likes, 6 Comments – Ashima Gandhi (@straystylecat) on Instagram: “These super evolved living beings that reset our body and mind. Lessons on self love, self reliance…”

At the professional front, walking on the streets and absorbing its aesthetics – be it in terms of textures, people, or colours, is my biggest inspiration. I truly feel there is nothing more inspiring and no better way to understand a city than walking.

Your Insta bio reads culture curator and style blogger. How do you blend these two in your work?

I am really attracted to India’s art and culture and, through my work, I keep reviving the golden eras of the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s. For me, content is all about creating a story. It needs to have a concept, meaning, and purpose. In my collaboration with Alok Menon, an activist and artist from the US, we took inspiration from India’s dance form of Kathakali. We tried to discuss how the performance by a man wearing an attire resembling a woman’s aesthetics on the stage is free of judgement while in reality, it’s under the scrutiny of many.

Postcards From The Past // Feeling like royalty, owning my body unapologetically. Feeling like royalty, owning my culture lost in time. Feeling like royalty, owning my strength and poise. Feeling like royalty, agender; am infinite. —————— Read more. Link in Bio ~ Muse @alokvmenon Styling and Creative Direction by yours truly. Photography by @abhinavanguria ___________________________________________ #straystyle #royalindia #nogender #alokvaidmenon #borderandfall #fashioneditorial #fashionblogger #portraitphotography #styleblogger #fashionmag #culturemag #beauty #sareelove #fashionstylist

279 Likes, 8 Comments – Ashima Gandhi (@straystylecat) on Instagram: “Postcards From The Past // Feeling like royalty, owning my body unapologetically. Feeling like…”

Outsiders are not people who defy rules to create anarchy or turn heads for attention. They are characters from their own fantasies who transport us to a parallel world of possibilities. . Designs by @paramsahibclothing Behind the lens @nealbhaumik Styling by yours truly. . *Link in bio* . #outsiders #fashioneditorial #paramsahibclothing #straystyle #love #fantasy #colors #fashionstylist #styleblogger #indianfashionblogger #masquerade #fashiondesigner #designlove #conceptualfashion #instagood #fashionphotography #wearableart #womenfashion #beauty #straystyle

297 Likes, 2 Comments – Ashima Gandhi (@straystylecat) on Instagram: “Outsiders are not people who defy rules to create anarchy or turn heads for attention. They are…”

MIDNIGHT CARNIVAL~ Dreaming of a strange land of colourful dilemmas where one leaves behind the homogenous identities to discover something magical. But, does it exist? . LIVE! *Link in bio* . Designs by @parambanana X Behind the lens @nealbhaumik X Styling by yours truly. . . #paramsahibclothing #straystyle #midnightcarnival #outsiders #editorialfashion #conceptualfashion #contemporaryfashion #individualstyle #fashionstylist #fashion #fantasy #art #aesthetics #designlove #styleblogger #indianfashion #AW16 #indianfashionblogger #fables #prints #fashionphotography #fashioneditorial #love #womensfashion #instagood

335 Likes, 10 Comments – Ashima Gandhi (@straystylecat) on Instagram: “MIDNIGHT CARNIVAL~ Dreaming of a strange land of colourful dilemmas where one leaves behind the…”

And, how do you think culture from across the world shapes fashion?

With traveling and access to different cultures of the world through the Internet, fashion has evolved. It is fun to see the streets filled with diversity. As long as you know about the culture and ethnicity of the country and are respecting it, adapting the fashion requires no restriction.

While we’re at that, your recent trip to Japan has painted your page with eccentric styles. Tell us about the street-style tips you picked up from the streets of Japan.

I have fallen in love with the colour black after the trip. I have always been more into colors but the colour black is growing on me since I saw someone dressed in black from head to toe at the trip. Another best take away from the streets of Japan is its carefree attitude. Wear what you want and experiment without fear of judgement.

A lovely Maiko waiting to cross the road // Kyoto. Geisha started to appear in the pleasure quarters of Japan before the turn of the 18th century. Very few know but the first geisha were actually MEN, whereas the first female ones who appeared years later were teenage odoriko who were expensively-trained “dancing girls” or dancers-for-hire. As time passed on, being a geisha was mainly regarded as a female occupation. 📷 Moi. _______________________________________________ #straystyle #memoirsofageisha #secretlifeofgeisha #japanesegeisha #culturemag #japantravel #fashionandart #styleblogger #fashionblogger #alternative #kimono #kyoto #travelblogger #beauty #fashion #iphonephotography #vscocam

225 Likes, 3 Comments – Ashima Gandhi (@straystylecat) on Instagram: “A lovely Maiko waiting to cross the road // Kyoto. Geisha started to appear in the pleasure…”

How about the Indian urban street style? How do you think that is evolving?

We’re evolving but there’s a long way to go. Genuinely, I feel, I have found the best street-style inspiration in middle-class, regular, and rural Indians. They are the real winners. In urban space, we are still very confused and stuck with fast-fashion brands, which in the end make all of us look more or less the same.

Wearing a bindi and a lehenga on a regular day at an urban space will be a thing of an outdated person while denim or skirt will be a sign of modernisation. There are cultural elements of India that still need to be explored. They’re so beautiful.

Moving ahead, we’d really like to discuss the intriguing way in which you use objects.

The magic in details that I speak about lies so much in the objects that we come across daily in life. It’s just the way we decide to see them and rediscover their value. The more I look at these objects, the more I see magic in them. Depending on the way we frame them, it speaks so much about its variance as an object.

Tips from a thrift shopper for budget shopping, please.

So, the idea is to have basics that can be styled in various ways. Invest in layers, accessories, clothes of primary colours, and mix and match them to create a different look every time. Also, always invest in comfortable items of clothing.

And, before we sign off, how do we re-purpose our wardrobes?

I’ll share a phase that I am of late into. Even though I am a thrifter, I found a lot of clothes in my wardrobe that hadn’t been used for long. So, I decided to challenge myself. The challenge was to wear one top or pants for entire week and style with different accessories, or scarves, and create a whole new look.

Firstly, this will help you realize what you don’t need in your wardrobe and secondly, will activate your creativity.

Sometime reality is too complex. Stories give it form – Godard 🖤 ___________________________ #frenchlove #godardforever #blackandwhite #conceptualartist #storyteller #minimalism #1960s

205 Likes, 6 Comments – Ashima Gandhi (@straystylecat) on Instagram: “Sometime reality is too complex. Stories give it form – Godard 🖤 ___________________________…”

 

This article was first published on August 27, 2018.

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