Getting to know the Style Icon – Ankita Katuri

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 a 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 labelled 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.

There is only one word which comes to our mind when thinking about or following this person – ICONIC. Ankita Katuri is one of that quintessentially classical woman who is perfection unto itself. Her aesthetics, her sense of styling and the way she carries herself is something quite unmatched for and easily she is one of the most followed and admired person in the fashion community. But when we got to talk to her, we realised that she is so much more! She is a very humbling, warm-hearted, and adorable woman who giggles and laughs a lot. There is something very comforting in speaking to her and we are ever so grateful for being granted this opportunity.

The Beautiful Lady – Ankita Katuri

Clad mostly in sarees and posting headless selfies, Ankita has gone on to prove that how desi drapes can create a niche and statement wear for work wear on any occasion. How a simple shirt can be amped up into something extraordinary! And we haven’t found anyone carrying whites and soft pastels as she does! Read on to know more about her.

But first, follow her on Instagram@kitakaturi

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

Q. Please introduce yourself.

Hi, I am Ankita Katuri. So, I am originally from Hyderabad. I was born here but grew up in Saudi. And then I moved to the US for my college, and then got married and moved back to India.

Q. How has being an entrepreneur and a business woman shaped up your life? Please share some insights about Thesmarketers, what does it do and your experience of starting a company from scratch.

TheSMarketers is something me and my husband started together. I had a background in marketing and he had a background on sales and we sort of brought it together and we do a specialised form of marketing called account based marketing and that is targeted towards B2B technology companies. It’s been a great journey so far.

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 As both of us were considering the entrepreneurial route we recognised that there was a need of a marketing strategy such as this one and since there was already a need in the market our journey has been pretty smooth. We didn’t have too much convincing to do to get clients on board or to show them results etc.

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?

This is a great question because this is something I grappled with a lot. Of course, I was always interested in fashion or styling and things like that. How a person dresses themselves, is very intriguing to me because that is the one thing I notice. It is also a thing people use to express themselves. So, I have always been interested in that. I probably would have done a degree on styling or fashion, but well, that didn’t happen.

But then, since I have always been interested in things pertaining to fashion, Instagram has been my way of expressing myself and also sort of my creative outlet that was sort of missing from my life otherwise. So it was really a sort of diary of the outfits I have worn, and I really like doing that.

Firstly, because It gives me an idea of all the things that I own and secondly, it helps me see how certain outfits and accessories would look together so that I can keep a record of that and then repeat it in future, or come up with new ideas for restyling those pieces.

So, that’s how it started. But I wasn’t setting out to become a style blogger or influencer but somehow it has evolved to that. As much as I would like to say that no, I am not an influencer, and with the nice and interactive community that I have formed around Instagram, I do realise that I influence people’s buying choices. So, although I hesitate to call myself an Influencer, it has gone down that road. But for me, even to this day, it’s just a diary for myself.

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

I don’t know how to put it.. But a lot of nice things have happened to me over the course of my life, also around TheSMarketers or over Instagram. On Instagram, my favourite thing would be to get validation from the people I look up to. Although, it’s not critical to me, it’s a good feeling when people whose aesthetic you really admire also admires yours.

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But I wouldn’t call these an achievement. I am a very laid back person in the sense that I am not a very competitive person so I am not looking to achieve as such. I would continue to do what I love to do and if that helps me to build nice relationships with people and build a positive community then that is all. I am not as much success-driven as I am Joy driven.

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

I really love how everyone is warming up to the handloom industry, and the crop of new designers are using sustainable fabrics which is amazing and their creations are gorgeous and so beautifully comfortable and lets your skin breathe. I think it’s a beautiful change that we are experiencing now.

As far as protecting it goes, I already see there is a huge spectrum of change, I think that there is a great future for the handloom industry with contemporary designs incorporated to it.

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

As I have said earlier, I am driven by joy and I have never really worked as much on building a profile or being a mega influencer. That has never been my goal so it has never been too much effort. The effort, if at all goes into how I dress as long as it makes me happy. As you have seen on my page, I rely mostly on selfies, because that’s the most convenient for me. There isn’t too much commitment or time-consuming management on that front. And thus balancing Instagram along with other stuff has not really been challenging. I basically just shoot my selfies in the morning and head to work. 😀 Also I have two very adorable puppies *giggles* and they are very low maintenance!

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?

Very tough question! My favourite continent so far has to be Europe. Last March I went to Spain. I absolutely loved it. There is something much laid back and very warm with people and the kind of relationships they have with each other. I mean, there is warm weather and everyone is just sitting outside, in roadside cafes, sipping wine and just chillax! There was a really nice vibe and I love it when people take out time to enjoy themselves.

As far as beauty is concerned, it does sound cliché but I think Santorini was one of the most beautiful places that I have seen. Maybe it’s because one of the recent places that I have travelled to but Spain has a special place in my heart. I loved the south of Spain, I loved the tiny little villages there and it was almost surreal how laid back and beautiful they were.

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

I love listening to music. I spend a lot of time discovering new music, new bands and new genres of music that I haven’t heard before and seen if my soul relates to that. I really enjoy doing that. I also love reading books but I am very eclectic in my choices of selecting books. Lately, I have been enjoying reading travel journals. I enjoy people’s fresh takes on their travels.

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

So far the experience has been very smooth. I am selective about the brands that I work with. I choose to work with brands that fit into my aesthetics. I absolutely love discovering new brands and sometimes I feel that the more brands I am introduced to, I find that there are so many beautiful garments in the world, it’s sometimes very hard to know where to put a stop. Once a garment is on you, so many things tend to look good.

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

For festivities of any sort, I would recommend more than any specific brands. Go for things which have long term value, classic pieces that will serve you for a very long time. I am really into solid colours lately but with nice classy borders. Because those can be re-styled in a lot of different ways and can be paired with a lot of different jewellery. I really love Chanderi and Maheshwari as well for festive looks. I enjoy anything that is light weight and comfortable because I don’t believe in buying extremely blingy or heavy stuff just to look festive for a night and then discard those garments. I would recommend people buying garments that can be re-worn in many different ways.

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?

This is a great question because, this was one of my biggest worries! But to be honest, I haven’t had too many bad experiences and this is probably because I do take a lot of care to weed out creepy people. I am always on a blocking spree. I have blocked thousands of accounts of random men or even women that have appeared to me even slightly shoddy.

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I don’t want a huge follower count of people who is not engaging in a genuine way. So, I make sure to filter them all. And given the nature of my selfies, it’s easy to assume. I have 90% of my followers who are women and 10% men and given the kind of styling I do, there is a very specific audience that is going to be interested and I make sure that my community comprises only of that. Sometimes it does get difficult to keep track of every single person but I consciously try to keep the quality as high as possible.

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?

As much as I want to say no, I think that there is a little bit truth to it. But also, its because the amount of content that people are consuming from social media are probably not sorted enough or secure enough to be on a social media platform. Because I feel, this platform only amplifies existing insecurities.

I am not claiming to be an expert on this or make any scientific claims about this but from what I have noticed, people who are already secure of themselves and their lives, do not look to social media for validation and that makes a huge difference on how it affects you.

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

Of course! There is a huge amount of potential. I just love the self-publishing nature of social media now, because everyone has an opportunity to showcase whatever their talent is, hone it and share it with the world and that’s just amazing! That is an opportunity that we have never had before.

Because as I said I wanted to do a degree in fashion and styling and garment making but that never happened but now I have a chance at that. I am not pursuing it, but if I wanted to I could have.

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How to not get lost amongst masses – I think to stay authentic, and staying true to yourself always brings appreciation for people who stick to their originality. As the saying goes “Always be a first-rate version of yourself rather than the second rate version of someone else” and that has always been a key for me.

I have also been through phases and my style has evolved over time but through it all there have always been an essence of me that has stayed true over time. I didn’t want to do photo-shoots but just ensembles that I put together. I have been very real and people that follow me can also put together.

Style to me isn’t catching on to the latest trends or buying the most expensive things. One of the my most favourite things is a plain ivory saree from Suta Bombay, and that just cost me around 1000 bucks but that literally is one of the most classiest sarees I own. So, I think its important to find that unique element that makes you YOU and just focus on that and never try to become anyone else. Take inspiration, Take ideas but always add your element into it.

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

I absolutely love the way that my page has shaped up. I love the community that I have been able to become a part of. 99% of people are very supportive, very encouraging, very sweet and I love being able to share a little part of me and have so many people to be able to relate to it. It brings me a lot of happiness.

I don’t have any future plans for it. As I said, I am not a very ambitious person, I am a very go-with-the-flow kinda person (giggles some more). For this to have even worked out, is because I feel I have never tried to be famous and even if only 10 people were following me, I would still continue to post, and with whatever followers I have, I am still posting. I really don’t have any plans.

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

Always stay true to yourself, there is always space in this world for enough unique voice and every person has something to say that is important and pertinent to anything. And it’s important to recognise that and value yourselves and stay true to your voice.

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

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