How gender fluid fashion is changing the discourse in the industry

Fashion has conventionally been divided in two broad sectors – women’s wear and menswear. But talking about fashion and convention in one line itself is an oxymoron. Fashion has no form; it takes shape of the time it lives in with influence from cultural, social and political-scape of the world. No wonder then that gender fluid fashion has been creating waves in seismic proportions across the fashion and creative fraternity.  The clear demarcation between menswear and women’s wear is blurring. There is a new breed of innovative designers who have become the torchbearers of gender fluid fashion. They create unisex line of clothing while promoting a cultural revolution addressing the fashion needs beyond the binary customers.  Labels like Anaam, The Pot Plant, Antar- Agni, Huemen and Anuj Bhutani are leading the gender fluid fashion in India.

So what is gender neutral aka gender fluid fashion?

This is the latest entrant in the fashion vocabulary that creates unisex collections for all; not just catering to men’s or women’s line separately. But has the gender non-conformity happened for the first time in fashion? No. Androgynous fashion for women was first started by Yves Saint Laurent in 1966 when he created the first women’s tuxedo for evening wear. As the second wave of feminism spread across the world, women embraced the tuxedo as a symbol of rebellious evening wear.

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YSL – First women’s Tuxedo Campaign in 1966

Women wearing pants and shirts have been accepted as a form of androgynous dressing but the reverse isn’t true. Men wearing effeminate clothing, be it skirts or crop tops or slouch pants or sari, hasn’t been very common in current times.

Though the history recounts it otherwise.

One can’t forget David Bowie in the 70’s. He tried it all, from one-legged cat-suits, voluminous tie-dye suits to embroidered dress coats. Clothes were used to define personalities and make big statements. Remember Boy George rocking the peacock punk style and everything outrageous in the 80’s?  Back home in recent times, Ranveer Singh has been the ambassador of gender fluid fashion flaunting his devil-may-care-swag with long skirts, quirky floral print suits and earrings.

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David Bowie – Stardust Ziggy


“Historically, clothes never had gender.  Our mythology provides us with ample examples in form of deities who despite being the icon for strength had effeminate dressing style.  Clothes worn then were not divisive on the basis of gender. Be it Dhoti drape, skirt, pearl strings, beaded necklace or earrings, none of these indicated that these particular elements were meant for only men or women. It is only after the invasion of Mughals and the British Raj that there was a clear distinction of menswear and women’s wear” shares Sumiran Kabir Sharma, Founder & Creative Director of Anaam Label whose style aesthetics are highly inspired by Ardhanareshvar avatar of Shiva, an androgynous form of Shiva and Parvati.

Winner of the Woolmark Company’s Best Design Collection Award Portfolio 2013 and Woolmark Young Talent Award, Kabir’s labels’ ethos lies in its unique language — their silhouettes, drapes and detailing. Anaam as the name suggests, is a label that doesn’t adhere to any norms or rigid barriers.

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Janaaza collection – Anaam

According to Fred Davis in his book ‘ Fashion, Culture and Identity’, the dress of the European aristocracy changed in the 1800s when men’s dressing became a means of communicating economic success and women’s dressing continued to follow an elaborate dress code. As a result, men assumed a highly restricted dress code as the European aristocracy began to decline and the advent of industrial capitalism began.

George Bryan Brummell, better known as Beau Brummell was an iconic figure in Regency England in the 18th century. Known as the forefather of men’s modern style, Brummell was the first one to introduce the concept of bespoke dressing. He made slick tailored suits trending as opposed to elaborate dress coats of British aristocracy.

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George Byron Brummel

“The British invasion brought in the strict code of dressing divide. Erstwhile drapes were traded for modern day pants, shirts and jackets to fit in the working class in India” shares Himanshu Verma, Founder –Red Earth. He further elaborates on the history of menswear and adds ‘Before Mughals came to India, both men and women wore only drapes, either as dhoti or a sari. The concept of stitched clothing came in with Mughals.  Ornate Jamas and Chogas became a part of both men and women’s wear”.

Himanshu Verma, aka Saree man, has been the torchbearer of gender fluid fashion in India since 2006, almost a decade after David Beckham wore sarong and took the world by surprise. The Saree man moves around the country curating and showcasing saris from different regions, while being draped in his six yards. He wears handloom saris with eccentric shirt blouses while colourful nose pin and ear studs are his evergreen style companions. On the days when he doesn’t wear a sari, he opts for dhotis, almost always.

Himanshu Verma

Himanshu Verma aka Saree Man

Resham Karmchandani and Sanya Suri’s love for fashion aesthetics are not restricted to gender. Their label ‘The Pot Plant’ believes in inclusive and comfortable fashion for all, regardless of gender. Their ensembles explore the possibility of moulding supposedly feminine fabrics like chanderi, silk and bandhani into garments that are just that – ‘garments’; a non-gender confirmative entity.

“For us working with gender fluid aesthetics has not been just about designing clothes that people would like to wear. We both have grown up with beautiful hand–me-down clothes irrespective of the fact whether they belonged to our brother or sisters or our parents. We wore our mother’s dresses and our father’s old shirts .So the idea of creating gender neutral clothes came naturally to us” says Sanya Suri on their ethos to create gender neutral clothes.

The Pot Plant

The Pot Plant

Reiterating the importance of hand-me-down clothes in Indian families, Kabir reminiscences his childhood and shares “I come from a middle class family from the hills in Himachal Pradesh. I was given clothes, be it skirts or floral pajamas, as hand-me-down from my elder sister. Since it was a part of my upbringing I never thought that these pieces were gender specific. Education and society conditions us to believe in these demarcations. My label Anaam is an extension of my belief in breaking these society generated barriers of clothing’

Kabir, who calls himself a silhouette artist, is influenced by his family in his style aesthetics. His mom was a teacher who proudly flaunted sari with sports shoes and wore his dad’s coat to protect from cold. It was a utilitarian approach more than a style statement. Gender conformity was never a question.

“If one may notice, kurta, Tee-shirt, Jacket and Jeans are gender neutral clothes. Shirts however have distinction in buttons. Women have buttons on left and men on right. Theories say it was because upper class women in Renaissance and Victorian eras were dressed by maids and hence for the ease, buttons were on left. At Anaam, we create clothes that are unisex. Buttons are on the same side for both men and women’ added Kabir on trivia of gender neutral clothes.

While the world is embracing this trend of gender neutral garments, there is still a resistance in customers in India. Bollywood celebrities like Arjun Kapoor have sported cowl-neck and draped pants by Antar-Agni, Sushant Singh Rajput has walked for Shantanu and Nikhil in a cascading draped kurta whereas Ranveer Singh has sported skirt. But beyond the celebrities endorsing the trend or models sashaying the outfits on ramp, labels see a marginal acceptance outside the fashion and design fraternity. Women have been acceptant of the androgynous fashion as a symbol of feminism in everyday life but men are still hesitant to try the drapes and unstructured silhouettes.

Arjun Kapoor

Arjun Kapoor in Antar Agni

“I think there has been a paradigm shift in the way people are now accepting fluid aesthetics. They are following the trend but we think there is still a long way to go in India. While there is more acceptance of women wearing androgynous clothing and men wearing draped silhouettes, I think we still have time when men will accept wearing dresses and women will wear ‘traditional’ menswear silhouettes” shared Reshma Karamchandani from The Pot Plant on market acceptance in India.

Kabir adds an interesting point on business aspect of unisex garments while sharing “In European markets, unisex clothes are very acceptable. There is an emergence of sustainable fashion believers who tend to invest in labels that produce garments with lesser carbon footprints. Unisex garment production is a sustainable way, both for designers and retailers. They do not need to invest in creating an inventory for both genders thereby reducing the amount of fabric used and resources spent. The acceptance in India is at a nascent level but I believe with Bollywood endorsing the gender neutral clothes, there should be a change in the scenario in future”

There is a rising population of youth that does not want to be identified in standard gender binary (male or female). They want to be gender fluid and not bracketed in one label. The society has become more acceptant of this Cultural Revolution. Gender Neutral trend is moving beyond symbolising its wearers’ identity or sexuality. World over it is now being accepted by the mainstream as more of a look both on ramp and high street. Will Indian fashion aficionados accept this as a mainstream cult or allow it to fade as a cyclical fashion trend is a million dollar question.

Until then, the silent mutiny of Gender Fluid Fashion continues; trying to be heard.


Forever in Blue Jeans

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Money talks
But it don’t sing and dance
And it don’t walk
And long as I can have you here with me
I’d much rather be
Forever in blue jeans
Honey’s sweet
But it ain’t nothin’ next to baby’s treat

And if you pardon me
I’d like to say
We’ll do okay
Forever in blue jeans

Neil Diamond 

Named after the city ‘Genoa’ in Italy way back in late 19th century, Jeans have retained the cult status of ultimate style staple for any fashionista worth her salt. The versatile fabric has been used in all forms of garment construction – be it pants, skirts, tops, shirts, jackets, dresses, jumpsuits and even sarees. Fashion experts have gone ahead and embraced denims season after season while designers play around with waistlines, hemlines and embellishments.

We bring you the top picks to style the denims in six different ways.

  1. Embroidered Denim

The 70’s flare is back and how. Gucci’s collection of butterfly, snake and flower-adorned denim is definitely the must-have item for the quirky fashion lovers. Decorated with hand-stitched appliqués, the jeans are cut in a flattering flared silhouette – perfectly in tune with the label’s retro-inspired aesthetic.  Pair it with a plain white tee for the eclectic vibes. If you are the DIY kinds, get kutchi embroidery done on your old pair of denims and give it a funky new look.

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Denim Trends SS 2018


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Amal Clooney being the 70’s goddess

2. Jacket

Layering is one of the biggest trends for 2017. Buy a classic blue over sized denim as the staple for layering. For the boho chic vibes, opt for patch-work embroidered back. Lay your hands on the spiked jacket for the cool biker look. For the sustainable fashion lovers, there are brands that create upcycled boro denim jackets. Wear it over a dress or throw it on as a cape. For the stylish edge, wear your jacket backward front.

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Harper Embroidered denim distressed floral jacket

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June Chapters Denim Jacket by Nidhi Lodha

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Boro Cape

3. Jumpsuit

Started as a fashionable trend by Coco Chanel in 1920’s and having later gained popularity as the ‘rosies’, denim jumpsuits have a polarised fashion view. Some love it, some hate it. But we say, one can never go wrong with a denim jumpsuit. Style it with basic white tee for or wear it over a turtle neck cardigan. Wear a peasant top for the bohemian look or style it with crisp white classic shirt for a Friday dress-up.

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Ruffled denim Jumpsuit Sea Resort Wear SS 2018

Denim jumpsuit Ajio

Denim Jumpsuit – Ajio

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Denim Jumpsuit SS 2018

4. Dress 

Move aside LBD. Say hello to the denim dress. Opt for 50’s midi denim dress for the poised feminine look.  Keep the hemline short, crisp and suave for a dinner date. Wear the easy denim shirt dress for the weekend lounging. Long maxi dresses with patchwork are the new norm for resort wear. Dress it up or down depending on the occasion.

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Denim Midi Dress – co-resort-2018


Denim Maxi Dress

Koovs denim dress

70’s style bell sleeved denim dress

5. Skirt

Denim mini skirt has been a classic wardrobe staple since decades. The lengths of the skirts have altered cyclically. The current trend is towards midi length denim skirts, a trend reminiscent of the 50’s. Style it with blouson tops with bell sleeves for the hippy look. Comfort fit lovers can get a long flared skirt for the extra twirl and be ready to rule over the kingdom of bohemia.

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Vionett Long denim skirt


Olivia Palermo in pencil denim skirt

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Dakota Fanning in classic blue denim mini skirt

6. Saree & Shirt 

Textile designers are pushing their boundaries while incorporating the denim fabric while retaining the softness of the saree so that the garment drapes well. Go stylish by opting for denim saree and team with floral blouses or opt for denim shirts /crop tops to add some cool quotient to that six yard drape.

Denim Saree - Fashion Market LK

Saree from Fashion Market

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Classic Denim Shirt

(The Original article was written and published in Femina Gujarat magazine – October 2017)

How are you styling your denims ? Care to share in the comment box ?

8 ways to boost hair growth


In the fast paced maze of urban lifestyle, one inevitably faces the dreaded issue of hair-fall and hair thinning at one point or other in life. Detailed introspection in terms of dietary intake, hormonal imbalance, drug side effects, pollution and stress levels needs to be done to deduce the causative factor for hair loss which leads to stunted hair growth. Whether hair growth can be boosted or not is debatable, but there are certain tried and tested ingredients that can aid in increasing blood circulation of the scalp thereby stimulating the hair growth phase.

Hair growth cycle comprises of 3 phase – Anagen, Catagen and Telogen. Anagen phase is the hair growth phase wherein hair grows by ½ inch every month. It lasts for around 2-6 years. Catagen phase is the transition phase lasting for about 10 days. Telogen is the last phase in which hair falls from the bulb. It typically lasts for 5-6 weeks. At a given point, each hair is in different phase of hair growth cycle. Thus losing 80-100 hair per day is considered to be normal; anything beyond that is termed as hair loss.

So what are the easy remedies to boost the hair growth?

  1. Onion – Onion is rich in essential nutrient sulphur- a building block for keratin content of hair. Sulphur is known to stimulate the anagen phase thus aiding in hair growth. To try this remedy, cut a few slices of onion, squeeze out its juice and apply it on your scalp for about 10-15 minutes. Rinse it off with a mild sulphate and paraben free shampoo for healthy hair. Alternatively, one can try potato juice in the same way.



  1. Hibiscus – This flower is rich in amino acids and vitamin C, both of which are essential for hair growth. It is one of the best home remedies used for hair growth. It prevents the pre-mature aging and improves the thickness of the hair. One can mix coconut oil or sesame oil in hibiscus flower paste and apply to hair. Rinse the hair with mild shampoo after 15 minutes for to get the bouncy locks.




  1. Fenugreek– It is an age-old kitchen remedy for hair growth issues. Fenugreek contains proteins and nicotinic acid which is known to encourage hair growth. Additionally it also adds shine to the hair owing to lecithin. Add a tablespoon of soaked Fenugreek seeds and water in a grinder till a smooth paste it formed. Mix coconut oil to it and apply the paste on your hair and scalp. Wash it off with a mild shampoo after 30 minutes. Repeat this process every week to see results.



  1. Amla – Amla or the Indian Gooseberry is rich in Vitamin C and anti-oxidants. While Vitamin C accelerates hair growth, anti-oxidants keep hair follicles healthy by fighting off the damage-causing free radicals. One can mix 2 teaspoons of amla powder with equal amounts of Shikakai powder and mix it with water to form a paste. Apply it to the scalp and hair and let it dry for 30 minutes. Rinse it off with some warm water. Shikakai acts as natural cleanser whereas amla aids in hair growth.


Despite there being kitchen remedies, most women opt for salon treatments either due to lack of patience or lack of time. The salon treatments give quicker results and bring about a sense of relaxation. No wonder high frequency treatment, Mesotherapy for hair loss, keratin treatments, Organic spa and Moroccan spa are ringing the cash registers at salons.

  1. High frequency therapy – It is a type of intensive hair treatment to cure dandruff, hair-fall or alopecia, carried out by treating your hair with high-frequency infra and ultra rays. A comb that emits infra red rays is used on various portions of the affected scalp. This is process is done for two-three minutes, followed by a thorough oil massage for about 20 minutes, followed by hair mask, steam and UV ray exposure. If done for 5-10 sittings, this treatment gives considerable results while boosting hair growth.


  1. Mesotherapy – It is a non-invasive technique based on superficial microinjections. Mesotherapy is a treatment that stimulates the mesoderm – middle layer of skin, approximately 1 mm deep.The solution injected can contain a wide range of minerals, vitamins, amino acids, nucleic acids and co-enzymes that can be tailored to each patient’s individual needs to boost hair growth. The treatment itself takes between 10 and 30 minutes depending on the area being treated. Usually minimum of 10 sessions is required to stimulate hair growth.

Contrary to the popular belief of selling innovative hair treatments to increase hair growth, Hair research expert Saloni Mehta shares, ‘Hair re-growth is debatable topic in hair industry. It is not possible to re-grow the hair; it is possible to stimulate the scalp, improve blood flow and nutrients. It will aid in pushing more hair follicles in growth phase. It is important to maintain a healthy PH balance of scalp between 4.5 to 5.5. Healthy scalp means healthy hair follicles and better hair growth. It is also important to watch the micro-nutrients in your diet and get your dose of vitamins to maintain a healthy mane’.

She adds,”Start by getting yourself checked for vitamin B12 and D3 deficiency. In case one is suffering from thyroid imbalance or PCOS, hairfall is bound to happen. In such cases it is important to first solve the systemic disorder. Second step is to check on the stress levels and dietary inputs. It is important to maintain healthy diet full of micro-nutrients and essential amino acids to have a healthy scalp and hair growth.”

There are other salon treatments available in market for boosting hair growth and softness. Frizzy hair leads to lot of breakage and hair loss.

  1. Deep conditioning treatments are done with an aim to increase blood circulation through massages while hot steam aids the penetration of products in the scalp. Loreal, Schwarzkopf and Matrix have a range of deep conditioning spa that boosts hair nourishment and in turn improves hair growth. In the premium segment, sulphate and parabene free products are on an up rise.


  1. Organic Spa from Amsterdam based brand like Keune is the latest craze in the hair industry. 911 Quinoa from Biotop Professional is another product that is selling like hot cakes for the ones interested in organic hair treatments. Quinoa based products are like life-line for dry, damaged and lifeless hair as they contain natural protein.


Last but not the least, stay hydrated always. There is no better remedy than a healthy meal and happy sleep.

( This article first appeared in Femina Gujarat)

Budget Shopping – All under 5000

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Haven’t we all fashion lovers drooled over the latest runway looks while secretly wishing for a genie to grant us the wish to own all of it? If it was a movie, Richard Gere would have come to the rescue in best case scenario or on not-so-sunny days, one would have gone broke like Rebecca Bloomwood from ‘Confessions of a Shopaholic’.

But real life is a tad different. One struggles with the dilemma of avoiding the credit card bill nightmare while consciously pushing away the nagging feeling of being unable to shop that ‘Oh so Diva-esque’ look.

What if we gave you a cheat sheet to shop smart and look glamorous – all under 5000?

Yes, under 5000 only. 

It is actually easy to build a stylish wardrobe without spending a bomb.

First step is to divide the budget into five categories that create a complete look – Top, bottom, shoes, bag and fashion accessories.

  • Tops

Most of all online fashion portals have a section dedicated to products under 500. While you may need time and eye for details to find the right one, you can definitely purchase a classic piece under 500. In case the top that you are eyeing for isn’t under 500, we say wait… The stocks recycle every quarter and you will be able to buy the same top at discount after a month.  Penny saved is penny earned, isn’t it?  Buy from trusted portals to ensure the fabric quality though.

Check – Stalkbuylove, Bhane, Ajio

  • Bottoms

Women have multitude of options in bottom wear – be it a denim, jeggings, slacks, cotton pants, long skirt, denim skirt, flared pants or culottes. Trust us, all these can be bought under 999 if you care to search it well. Fashion Retail sector works on discounts in India – there is either a festive discount or seasons discount or long weekend discount. Wait for one, always.

Alternatively government handloom stores are the best bet for high quality handloom fabric and affordable rates. You know where to buy your next cotton skirts, culottes and flared pants from now, don’t you ?

Check – Gurjari, Rajasthan Emporium, Cotton World, Fab India

  • Shoes

The point about shoes is that they ought to be comfortable besides looking chic. Multi-retail format stores offer the best range of footwear in budget range. Opt for the rad white sneakers or comfy espadrilles, boho chic kolhapuris or classic ballet flats – all under 899. Certain online fashion portals offer 2 pairs under 899, quite a steal deal, right? If you choose to order online, do measure your foot size correctly to avoid returning of products.

Check – Streetstylestore, Ajio, Keri , Westside

  • Bag

Bags are best bought during your travel trips to different destinations. Udaipur sells the quintessential tan leather satchel bags under 1000. Streets of Delhi and Mumbai offer quirky embroidered jhola bags under 700. For the suave ones, check the clearance section of high street stores like Promod, H&M and Zara. They have mind boggling deals. Our shoestring shopper advice – pick them in all colours, if on discount, certain product are for keeps.

Check – Colaba Causeway, Janpath, Promod, H&M, Zara

  • Accessories

The best way to buy accessories in budget is through smart street shopping. Head on to the old city and be prepared to rummage through the treasure trove of the street vendors.  Do bargain, always. Also, there are interesting Facebook groups like Urban Tribal where sellers from across the country share their products along with price. Owing to competition, prices are very modest. One can buy the latest design statement neckpiece in german silver along with nose pin, earrings and finger ring, all under 1500. For the quirky ones, always check out flea markets in the city. You will bump into a new designer every time who is creating interesting jewellery.

Check – Pipa Bella, bylanes of old city, flea markets

If you dont believe this, check out my Instagram page here for daily style inspiration in budget fashion ( Well that one is almost always less than 2000) – Falguni Patel ( TheF_world )

( PS – This article was originally produced for and published in FEMINA Gujarat Edition. This is the unedited version)

Summer of 2017


While there are endless summer songs that paint the summers as the vacation season by the beach side, enjoying the sun and sipping martinis; the reality in India is far off from the music composers’ picturesque summer. The sun shines in its full glory raising the temperatures to 45 degree and beyond.

In such a situation, it is but prudent that comfort rules over fast-forward styles. Come summer and the fashionistas gear up for the sacred ritual of revamping the wardrobe as per the seasonal demands. The idea is to check the basics from the past stock and add few seasons’ delights to create a brand new summer wardrobe.

Fabric selection should precede the form of the style. Soft mul cottons, breathable khadi and classic linen are the go-to fabrics for the harsh Indian summers.

Summer fashion evokes the photographic images of girls wearing frilly peasant blouses and denim shorts in the green fields. But summer fashion is more than that, isn’t it?

We recommend these 5 classic staples for the summer of 2017.

  1. Surreal White

The quintessential white enjoys the prime spot in summer fashion since centuries. Classic white peasant top in flowy cotton is an absolute must-have. Add some drama to your whites by opting for tops with bell sleeves, billow sleeves, puff sleeves or off shoulder cut. Detailing on the sleeves is the new wave of fashion this year.

For the classic fashion lovers, opt for chikankari long kurta and team it with pastels or citrus hues depending on your mood of the day.



  1. Flirty Florals

More often than not, fashion is inspired by nature, no wonder, summer bloom and florals go hand in hand. 70’s fashion has made a huge come-back since two years now and the flower-child-decade inspired fashion is here to stay. Why not add in some 70’s floral print dresses with bell sleeves to add sepia tones and retro vibes to your polaroids? Opt for floral maxi dresses for quick brunch with friends and short shift dress for an evening party. Tangerine orange, Mint green, sea blue, woody brown, lime yellow and bubble gum pink are the colours to watch for.





  1. Boho Skirts

Long skirts make for a perfect ensemble for indie fashion lovers. Nomad inspired bright floral prints, ajrakh print, tie & dye, bandhani, ikat or leheriya – choose from an array of Indian crafts skilfully used in this easy breezy silhouette. Team it with long kurta or pair it with crop tops. For the fashion forward squad, add in a denim patch worked jacket to amp the boho-chic summer quotient and revel in the 70’s summers. Candy pink and canary yellow are the two colours to add in your boho -inspired summer wardrobe.



  1. Khadi Saree

Handloom sarees have made a huge come-back with an ever -increasing brigade of new age designers creating contemporary drapes. Cotton handlooms from Kolkatta, Ikat from Orissa, Chettinad South cotton from Tamil Nadu, Ajrakh block Print from Gujarat and Dabu print from Madhya Pradesh are perfect for cotton drapes. These are soft breathable fabrics, flowy and easy to carry through the day. Team it with denim shirts, off shouldered top or linen crop tops to add a little chutzpah to the styling. For the ones who love arty fashion, khadi linen sarees in neutral tones like beige, ivory, grey, blush pink and pale blue are a must have this summer season.


  1. Bottom basics

With the ever evolving fashion scenario, we have umpteen options to select for bottoms other than denims. Summer definitely calls for shorts in cottons and linens. Team them with nautical striped tee-shirts or pair with solid coloured loose cotton blouses. Eccentric prints in shorts are the new cool. Avoid body hugging denims and embrace dhoti, palazzo and harem pants in fluid drapes for the warm summers.  Androgynous fashion lovers can opt for cargos in olive green, navy blue, khakhi or taupe.


With these wardrobe staples, add your personal touch by styling with different scarves, vests, cover-ups, bandanas and hats.

We have got your basics right, haven’t we?

( PS – This is the unedited version of the article originally published in Femina Gujarat) 


Tame your summer frizz with 5 hair oils


Since centuries, potions were made at home with secret recipes for beauty routines. Each family had their own unique formula of packs and oils made as per availability of ingredients. It is only since 1900’s that the market started getting flooded with concoction of shampoos, conditioners and hair oils infused with hibiscus, amla, aritha and bhringraj. The regionally available oils were used not only in cooking but also as a part of beauty enhancement routine for skin and hair. The coastal areas thus used coconut oil, Mediterranean population used olive oil, Mexicans used jojoba oil and North Indians used mustard oil.

The benefits of using this naturally abundant resource were many, ranging from easy availability due to favourable climate to its quick reception by the genetic structure of the body. Hair oils and nourishing packs have become essential in the weekly beauty regime of any woman who loves her mane. At the centre stage of these wholesome potions are the primary hair oils namely coconut oil, olive oil, jojoba oil and mustard oil.

Coconut oil has been the most affordable and easily available oil in India. Its molecular structure is made up of small and medium-chain fatty acid that allows it to penetrate the scalp and hair shaft more deeply and faster than other available conditioners, thus keeping the hair nourished and moisturized. Mainly used as hair growth oil, it can also be used as a leave-in treatment to repair split ends, moisturize scalp, and add a healthy glow to the tresses. For the best results, warm the coconut oil in a pan and then apply it on the scalp and hair-shaft till the ends. Leave it on for an hour and shampoo it off.  You may repeat this twice a week to improve the texture and bounce of hair.


Coconut Oil 

‘Stress, faulty lifestyle and negligence can lead to hair fall and thinning of hair. Most women come with complain of hair fall and dry lustreless hair. Either they do not apply any hair oil or they keep hair-oil for 2-3 days on their scalp. Moderation is the key word. Oil nourishes the scalp, hair roots, promotes hair re-growth, and increases hair density. Regular use of hair oil will prevent hair-fall and premature greying of hair. We have created a unique potion of hair oil using essential ingredients to address these issues of hair wherein coconut oil, sesame oil, hibiscus oil and liquorice oil are used as base oil’ shared Dr. Aanal Kangad, dermatologist and founder of vegan and natural cosmetic products – Happy Flowers 

When mixed and heated with curry leaves, coconut oil prevents premature graying of hair. Curry leaves are rich in antioxidants, proteins, beta-carotene and amino acids. They moisturize the scalp, prevent hair loss, thinning and help strengthen follicles. The vitamin B content present in curry leaves helps prevent premature hair graying and as a result hair retains its colour and lustre longer

To make this tonic, pour the coconut oil into a pan and add a handful of curry leaves to it. Heat the oil until the black residue is formed around the leaves. Once the tonic has cooled down, strain it and store it. Gently massage the scalp with the fingertips while applying the oil concentrate to get the best results. Repeat the routine 2-3 times a week to see the visible results in hair quality.

Jojoba oil, derived from the seeds of evergreen jojoba shrubs, is native to Arizona, California and Mexico. It is one of the most nutrient rich and expensive botanical oils that has long shelf life and exact molecular structure as that of sebum produced by hair scalp. Its molecular structure makes it the product of choice to be added in shampoos, conditioners and oils as an active ingredient that moisturises the scalp and hair. Jojoba oil is an excellent choice for deep conditioning treatment.


Jojoba Oil 

“It is the extensive dryness of scalp that leads to dandruff and hair loss at an increased rate. Jojoba oil is capable of moisturizing the hair without leaving any residues. It can help hair cells to reproduce themselves at a rapid pace” added Aanal on the benefits of jojoba oil.

Olive oil, popularly known as liquid gold, is rich in Vitamin B & E, magnesium, zinc, sulphur and calcium. It aids in hair growth by preventing hair loss.  Used earlier by the Mediterranean people, olive oil is now globally used in the cosmetic & hair industry. Primarily aimed at curbing hair-fall, olive oil gives best results when applied twice a week.


Olive Oil 

The inexpensive option of olive oil is the ‘Sarson ka Tel’ from the nearby kirana store.   Abundantly found in India, mustard oil is a rich store of antioxidants, essential alpha fatty acids, and multiple vitamins like A, D, E, and K, and minerals. It directly helps in hair growth. The essential alpha fatty acids help to condition the hair generously. If your hair is dry, nothing can be more beneficial than mustard oil. Mustard oil is effective in preventing premature greying and darkens your hair naturally. Thus, instead of dyeing hair, you can massage your hair with mustard oil every night to see the result.


Mustard oil aka Sarson ka tel 

Dr.Vandana Shah, senior dermatologist of Ahmedabad shares, “In dermatology practice, we mostly opt for pharmaceutically made oils to cure hair-fall, premature greying and dryness of hair. The base ingredients are indeed oils like coconut, sesame, mustard and olive. Castor and olive oil give strength to hair shaft whereas jojoba gives nourishment without any greasiness.’

Be it olive, jojoba, coconut or mustard oil, massaging the scalp with hair oil improves blood circulation and thus the flow of nutrients needed for hair-growth. To get the lustrous mane, make a promise to pamper yourself this year with regular hair oil massages.

(Please Note – This Article was first produced for Femina Gujarat Magazine. This is its unedited version) 


Home Remedies for Shiny Hair


Historically, lustrous tresses are considered to be the crowning glory of women. Be it fairy tales like Rapunzel and her fabled long hair or media advertisements like Crowning Glory soap featuring Dimple Kapadia in her shiny hair; we are made to believe that long shiny hair is an essential check list for a woman to be considered beautiful. With the change in mindsets, we are now growing out of the ‘long’ and ‘beautiful’ criteria. However, every woman wishes to have shiny mane, be it long or short, straight or curly.

In case you are not blessed with the specific gene code that naturally gives you shiny hair, you will rush to the fanciest salon in the town to get the hair-conditioning treatment done and spend a bomb; because hair spa are available in different categories (Indian & international) & your hair stylist will convince you that your hair just doesn’t have it in them.

Do you find this situation familiar? Oh well, most of us have experienced it.
With weddings & parties round the corner, the frequency of using styling products increases. Hair is robbed off its natural moisture due to excessive usage of products and iron. To restore back the healthy locks, would you rather love if we gave you tested and tried kitchen remedies that would save you a fortune?
If yes, then sit back with a cup of coffee and read on to know ten not-so-secret recipes from your kitchen.
1. Yoghurt

Yoghurt can be used in multiple ways to restore the hair shine. It is rich in vitamin B5, Vitamin D and proteins. It is also packed with lactic acid that can clean your scalp and treat dandruff.


Yoghurt mask
1 cup yoghurt
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Whisk the ingredients thoroughly and apply to the hair scalp and shaft. Let it settle in for 30 minutes and then wash it off to get soft and manageable hair.
2.Apple Cider Vinegar

If you do not have apple cider vinegar at home, we totally recommend purchasing one. Apple cider vinegar is one the best known hair detangler across the globe. It helps in removing the dirt and build up of styling products on your hair.


Apple cider vinegar Rinse (ACV Rinse)

Mix 2 spoon of ACV in 2 cups of water
Rinse your shampooed hair with it
After 10 minutes rinse it with cold water for shiny soft hair

To eat or to apply is the million dollar question when mayonnaise is the ingredient. Mayonnaise works wonder for dry and damaged hair, especially coloured and treated hair. Since it is made of egg yolk, olive oil and lemon juice, mayonnaise is rich in amino acids and antioxidants.

Mayonnaise hair mask
Apply and massage mayonnaise to the damp hair
Cover it with a shower cap for 20 minutes
Wash your hair with shampoo for soft hair

Beer is known to be a happy drink; well it seems not just for us but also for our hair. Along with vitamin B, the proteins found in malt and hops (which are active ingredients of beer) are said to repair damaged hair. The sucrose and maltose sugars present in beer tighten and strengthen hair cuticles for enhanced shine. Don’t throw away the left over beer that has lost the fizz yet; use it on your hair to get lustrous locks.

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Beer rinse

Use beer to rinse hair after shampoo and let it settle for 10 minutes
Rinse with cold water


Did you know that Russia depended on vodka for most of its home remedies? Starting from rinsing mouth in morning to curing hair loss, vodka translated as ‘dear water’ in Russian, is the divine solution for all skin and hair needs. Try this rinse once a month to get a healthy mane.


Vodka Hair rinse
Mix one tablespoon of vodka to two cups of water
Rinse your hair with this mixture after a proper shampoo and let it stay


A hair tea rinse is simply brewing a specific type of tea and allowing it to cool prior to pouring it over your hair. Tea is rich in caffeine that stimulates hair growth. Various types of teas will give different types of result.



Boil the pre-selected tea in two cups of water and let it cool
Rinse the hair with the tea-mix and allow it to dry naturally
Black Tea rinse is used for shiny hair. It also renders dark colour. Green tea rinse stimulates hair growth and increases shine due to its high antioxidant content. Chamomile tea rinse brings out the natural highlights in your hair owing to its lightening agents.


Traditionally, fenugreek seeds have been used as a condiment to promote better health and as a potent hair potion. It can be used in multiple ways to increase the growth of the hair and add shine to the dull hair.

Fenugreek Paste
Soak two tablespoon of fenugreek overnight and make a fine paste
Add one cup of yoghurt, one tablespoon honey , one tablespoon lemon juice and one tablespoon olive oil
Apply this mask to the scalp and hair and leave for 45 minutes
Wash it thoroughly with shampoo


Eggs contain all the major essential vitamins, minerals and proteins that promote hair growth and condition the hair. Lecithin in the egg yolk helps in reducing frizz and helps in making hair smooth.


Egg pack

Mix one full egg with one tablespoon honey and one tablespoon olive/coconut/almond oil
Whisk the paste well and apply it to the scalp & hair
Wash it after 30 minutes for smooth hair


Bananas are rich in Vitamins A, B, C, and E, which makes it a perfect ingredient to fix damaged hair. They also contain emollient that moisturises the hair shaft and makes it soft. Making a banana hair pack at home is easy.

Banana pack

Mix one ripe banana with one tablespoon honey and one tablespoon olive/coconut/almond oil
Add one cup yoghurt and blend it
Apply this mask on your scalp and hair and leave it for 45 minutes
Wash the hair thoroughly to remove banana from the hair

10.Aloe Vera

Aloe vera contains proteolytic enzymes that repair the dead skin cells on the scalp. It also acts as a great conditioner as it composed of 95% water. It has been used in hair care for a long time as an ingredient that battles dandruff, moisturizes, and boosts hair growth.


Aloe Vera pack

Extract 1 cup fresh aloe vera gel from plant. You can use readily available gel as well
Add one teaspoon of castor oil and mix the ingredients well
Apply the mixture on hair and leave it for 45 minutes
Wash it off thoroughly with shampoo

Besides indulging in these kitchen remedies, do take care of what you consume. Healthy gut is the sign of healthy skin and hair. Pamper your tresses with these simple home remedies to get those lustrous locks this season, that too in budget.

Please Note : This article was first produced for Femina Gujarat. This is the original unedited version.