Getting To Know the Style Icon – Priya Kadapa Shah

Hello everyone! Its that time of the year again. Durga Puja/Navratri/Dussehra is upon us and the entire country is gearing up for the festive spirit. The ten days of mad rush, a feeling of free-falling, of indulging in extra food, of bonding with families, of letting your hair down and becoming your best fashionable self. It’s time to welcome the Goddess, celebrate Shakti and unanimously unite together to celebrate the biggest festival season of India. And this time is again a reminder that even being of diverse cultures and traditions, we all unite under one big hood.

On the spirit of the occasion, WeekendTrivia brings for you a heart-to-heart talk with few ladies who are dynamic, beautiful, successful in their own ways and breaking norms and labels with their life-style and thoughts. They are the influencers of our times, who refuse to be labeled as such and yet are looked up by many. Gone are the days when the only style icons were the film/television celebrities and when we craved to look like them.

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These ladies have broken the barriers of ideas that fashion is only for celebrities, only meant to be done on certain occasions and definitely not at work! The rules are changing and these beautiful ladies bring a myriad of a fresh and positive outlook for you all. They are also explaining why we need to give up fast fashion, condone to handlooms and sustainable fashion more and become more thoughtful about our purchases. How we can look good with handmade. They are people like you and me, girls next door, bringing out their best self.

A teacher, a mother of two, a wife and a lady with the warmest of smiles, Priya Kadapa Shah can lit up any room with her bright laughter. She refuses to call herself an Influencer, rather a person who is a documentor of all things handmade. Having a unique sense of fashion and style, she brings for you experimental fashion with which she associates herself. Read on to know more about her.

But first, Follow her on Instagrampriya.kadapa.shah

P.S. All the pictures are owned by ©Priya Kadapa Shah and reproduction in any form, without prior permission, is prohibited

Q. Please introduce yourself.

 I am based out of Mumbai. I am a chartered accountant and teacher. I stay in a nuclear family set up with my husband and two kids. 

The Gorgeous Lady – Priya Kadapa Shah

Q. Would you call yourself a Style Blogger or an Influencer? What is the difference if any? Please share what is your Instagram profile all about and how did your journey start?

I wouldn’t call myself either of the two. I don’t really have a blog , nor do I think I am influencer. Rather I am a documentor of what I wear- a collector of handlooms and handicrafts – and I share the sources so that there is more awareness of from where to buy handmade products , and the creators get their due. I also write about upcoming events and exhibitions.

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I was always active on FaceBook, but Instagram being a visual medium connect me to more people. I actively started documenting on Instagram two years ago.

Q. Is being an influencer/style-blogger your full-time profession or are do you work elsewhere?

I don’t do collaborations in an official sense, I am happy to promote products I have used and liked and do shoots for designers who are friends and whose aesthetics match mine.

This is not my full time profession. I run my coaching academy and I teach accountancy and economics.

Q. What would you consider your biggest achievement so far?

That I have been able to change, in a small way, people’s perceptions of sarees and Indian handlooms. Every time I get some message from someone who is inspired to wear a Saree more regularly, I consider it an achievement.

Q. Your thoughts on the indigenous handloom industry of India and what can we do to protect it?

 There is so much scope to improve this sector. The craft-workers need more respect, and financial stability . We as consumers need to be mindful about buying , and when we buy a handloom, we are contributing directly to an ecosystem that is sustainable. We could consciously buy more Handloom products, not just clothes , use them longer and avoid the use and throw mentality and mass produced fast fashion .

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Q. How do you manage your family life along with other commitments and running an Instagram page?

It’s all about balancing the real and the virtual – needs a lot of discipline and time management. Sticking to a schedule, and meeting the timelines and not over committing is the key.  

Q. You have travelled far and wide around the globe. Which is your favourite amongst them all? What cultural, fashion or social differences have you experienced with those places as compared to India?

My favourite place is India for sure. But outside India, by far my most favourite place I have been, is Florence in Italy.

What I love is their design sensibilities, their inherent style and the way they buy classics and recycle key pieces. Looking good and being well dressed is considered good manners and they would rather invest in one classic piece than buy many trendy ones. Their colour and texture palette changes with the season and they know how to make a statement using that one accessory which will stand out .  They are so proud of their history and they have preserved it so well , and their modern life runs along side the past – I feel their fashion is something similar. When a senior citizen takes pride in his or her appearance , and it’s that elegance which is so attractive.

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We need to learn a few things from them- especially how to do bling tastefully and not being wasteful in our buying.

Q. What other activities are you a part of apart from your job and as an Influencer? What are your hobbies?

 I am an avid reader, and part of a few book clubs. I love to travel and collect memories. Listening to Hindustani Classical Music is one of my favourite things.. I cook to relax and love to call friends over.

Q. Please share your experience with different brands you have worked with?

Without being an official collaborator, I have had the chance to work with Vinay Narkar, Manas, Leena Das, Naksha, Aavarna, Prathaa, etc and it’s been such a great experience. To be in contact with these creative minds is in itself a treat. The way they are inspired and how they implement it is an art! They have trusted me with their babies and given me full freedom to style and shoot in my own way and pace.

Q. As Durga Puja and other festivities are knocking around the corner, could you please suggest certain looks which will go well with the occasion and brands where to get them?

I would suggest being comfortable and fashionable. Don’t suffer for fashion, there is going to be a lot of standing, walking and moving around in crowds. Also, it may be hot and humid, out for breathable fabrics.

Opt for looks that will make you stand out, without looking like a fashion victim.

If wearing a Saree, experiment with drapes – so you are free to walk and your hands could also be free. Instead of traditional blouses, try crop tops, Kurtis or tees. Try to use belts, brooches and buckles to add some fun element to your drape and to cinch in your waist or draw attention to some part .

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For some occasions, go all traditional- but in your way. 

Play with stoles and dupattas, get bags in Kutch or lambani embroidery, accessories that are bright and experiment with different types- like fabric or shells or wood.

I personally loved what Prathaa has done this season – she has a traditional puff sleeved blouse and a super fun exaggerated bell sleeves blouse. And of course her bindi jamdani sarees. So much potential to play around!

Q. There’s a lot of shoddy people on social media who either try to discredit others or stalk them. How do you deal with such people or negativity in general? Does it bog you down or affect your mental peace?

No- I don’t really allow these things to affect me. If I am doing something with a clear conscience, I can sleep peacefully. I can’t stop people from speculating or discrediting – but truth does prevail. 

Yes, one ought to be careful and it’s better to block or unfollow accounts or people who are toxic.

Stalkers definitely to be reported and blocked. And have a pool of people as our safety net always – your sounding board and your looking glass . 

Q. “Social media and Influencers creates a fake world and it is affecting the youth in a wrong way” – is this a myth or there’s truth behind it? Your thoughts?

It’s a complex issue and a combination of both. It definitely influences the youth, who look only at the glossy surface and not the grit behind. An influencer who’s made a mark has struggled hard to reach there and it’s no cakewalk maintaining the position. But an influencer also has to be very careful about what he or she is portraying – spell it out ifit’s sponsored content or not. And use their influence for socially relevant issues too.

Q. Can becoming an Influencer be taken up as a profession for future generations? How to not get lost amongst the masses? Any tips?

It could be, but being a chartered accountant- I will take a prudent approach . Have a back up ready or plan to shift gears when needed, maybe in the same sphere but in a different role . Keep adding skills, diversify and build a strong network .

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Be honest about your work, don’t lose your individuality ever. Bring your personality to the fore, that crooked tooth or that scar will add so much more than being perfect in an artificial way, right! Your online persona can’t be an antithesis of your offline – so try to be as real as possible and keep being creative.

Q. What are your future plans for your page and profile? Are you happy with the way it has shaped up?

Since I never planned for it professionally, I am humbled to see so much appreciation. I will continue my journey of documenting and spreading my love for Sarees and handlooms. 

Q. Lastly, any word for our blog? Thank you for your time!

Keep up the good work . It’s commendable to see your in depth analysis and diverse topics covered . Kudos and all the best.

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Thank you Priya Maam, for taking out time to talk to us, and having such wonderful and heart-to-heart conversation. We look forward to your continuously bringing more positivity and gorgeousness to our feed! Happy Durga Puja!

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