One hostel room please.

When you’ve been in hostel a lot, without realising it, you begin to get inspired by it. So much so, that even your aesthetics assume a boarding school vibe.

Actually, what am I saying ‘you’ for? It’s me whose sensibility has been taken over by a hostelesque vibe. 1 single bed, 1 cupboard and 1 study table, please. Yes, leave those shelves bare. Yes, I know they’re ‘shelves’ but please do not stuff them with your belongings. Leave the counterpane on. And yeah, do pick up your shoes. (Joote-chappal-uthao-joote-chappal-uthao).

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I recently moved into a new house. A new room in a new house, to be precise. I wanted my space. I am almost 27. And I have been living with girls for far too long ( 18 years) to be excited by late-night-gossip and girlish banter. So, April this year, I decided to move to a place where I’d get my own room, my own privacy, so that after years of sharing room-space, finding wet towels on my bed and dealing with aesthetics that didn’t match my own (read piles of laundry fighting for space on the bed and cigarette ash competing for attention on the floor), I would finally be able to keep my room the way I always wanted to.

Turns out, my aesthetics (contrary to what I believed) are nowhere near that of interior decorators and people with supposedly “good taste” in high society. It’s more of a clinically clean, orderly aesthetic, with books stashed so neatly in their shelves that I hesitate before reaching out to read one. In the fear that I might upset the entire beauty of it.

My own room | Orange curtains from http://www.ebay.in/ and Fabindia bedcover from Snapdeal | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan

In anticipation of this shift, I got 4 paintings of mine framed. One of which you can see in the picture. As for the other? Well… well, turns out my landlady is so particular about her interiors that we aren’t allowed to hammer nails! *sniff* And to think that hanging my priced paintings up was one of the reasons to shift home…

Anyway, not to be deterred (since I had already moved in and there was no other option), I looked for ways to hang stuff without hammering nails and after reading one of those listicle-thingys (1o ways to…), I decided to ignore everything I read and just placed my drawings on a cardboard box masked as a table by putting a cloth over it (yes, as boarding school people, we do have a trick or two up our sleeves. “Jugaad” as they call it here), and lo and behold, I was satisfied.

My framed sketches placed against a wall on a makeshift table of cardboard boxes and cloth | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan

Yes. Even I don’t like the floors. It gives the room a hospital-hostel-bathroom feel and inspite of my acquired hostel aesthetic,  I am still a diehard fan of wooden floors, but yes, like I mentioned in a previous post, my salary wasn’t getting any higher, so I just told myself “beggars can’t be choosers”, packed my bags and moved in.

My very orange room with a messy bed and scattered books | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan

 

The first thing I did, was buy those orange curtains. I wanted my room to feel really bright, and welcoming and I read somewhere (I think it was one of those colour therapy articles) that orange stands for vitality and energy and people suffering from depression must wear orange underwear or something like that; and even though I neither own orange underwear (the only one I did got flicked in boarding school when I was in 10th std and irritated I was one entire semester as I really loved that one), and neither am I suffering from depression (even though there are days when I am convinced that I am), I still chose to go ahead and envelope my room in vivid splashes of oranges, yellows and reds.

But before I changed my sheets to orange, I had a blue and white check cover on it.

Weird, as it is, I only recently realised that my hostel room at MICA (the first image) is strikingly similar to my new room (the second image). So much so, that even the bedcover used is the same, not to mention the large window on the opposite wall and the bed on the left and the white tiled floors.

That’s why I changed my covers. Get it? Get it?

 

It’s almost subconscious I’d say, that I gravitate towards smaller rooms with single beds and large windows. Maybe it’s a desperate means to grasp my younger, freer days. Or maybe it’s a subconscious preference for clean, clinical spaces, thanks to 10 years of boarding school life. I really don’t have an answer.

However, it only came to light when I showed my friends the picture of my new room, and all they said was that it reminded them of their hostel rooms.

So then I went and dug around for old college pictures. And, man was I surprised at the uncanny resemblance?

Which comes to prove that hostel life has indeed left a deeper mark on my subconscious than I have realised. From choosing a room that takes me back in time, to probably eating food that reminds me of school (Maggi), I am drenched in nostalgia so deep that I can barely even notice it.

And the fact that my new room’s scrubbed clean, single-bed, no-air-conditioning, clinical vibe is in fact inspired from my years living in different parts of the country, in no way should be taken lightly. It’s definitely worth a study, I’d say?

It’s weird, and I hope to discover other aspects of my personality that have been shaped by hostel life. And yes, I will definitely blog about them too (provided, it’s nothing embarrassing). 😉

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Anyway, it’s getting late. In case you don’t follow me on Instagram, do click here. You’ll find me putting up pictures of well-dressed people interspersed with some random out-of-blog shit like today’s post.

“Shit” you’ll like. (hopefully, at least).

Chalo, I’m going to read my book. Bye.

(Yes, guess I got the abruptness from boarding school too. We would just pop into another dorm and pop out saying,”Chalo, I’m going to read my book. Bye”.)

 

 

 

Great Design at wholesale price? That’s Thieve.

We all know buying straight from wholesalers is cheap.

But isn’t it too much effort in real? And too dubious online?

So what if someone swooped out of nowhere and applied a couple of filters to the process?

What if, someone went to AliExpress.com (China’s largest direct buying portal) and put the awesome-est, most reliable products in one neatly designed space?

That is exactly what Tim Scullin’s Thieve is doing.

Curated by bloggers, photographers, designers and other creative people around the world, Thieve brings you designer products at ridiculously low prices. Plus only those products with really good reviews have been selected. Which means zero fakes.

And FREE or low shipping costs on these already low-priced designer products, makes these cool products even cooler.

So you can get yourself a delightfully designed product that is genuine and cheap, easily!

Thanks to  Tim Scullin’s Thieve.

Here are some of my favourites.

(Once you go to the link, click ‘VIEW ON ALI EXPRESS’ to buy)

  1. Colourful Pendant Light Socket | Know more here.

colourful pendant light socket

2. Men’s Quilted Duffle Bag | Know more here

Mens Quilted Duffle Bag

3. Genuine Leather Macbook Sleeve | Know more here

Macbook Leather Sleeve

4. Bamboo Handle Toothbrush | Know more here

Bamboo Handle Toothbrush

5. Wood Leather Watch | Know more here

Wood Leather Watch

6. Bamboo Wooden Sunglasses | Know more here

Bamboo Wooden Sunglasses

7. Canvas Hanging Hammock Chair | Know more here

Canvas Hanging Hammock Chair

8. Gold Antler Ring | Know more here

Gold Antler Ring

9. Moscow Mule Copper Mugs | Know more here

Moscow Mule Copper Mugs

10. Youth Embroidered Baseball Cap | Know more here

Youth Embroidered Baseball Cap

 

I love all of these products. And more. Especially as these are indeed one-of-a-kind.

So I suggest you go to Thieve and shop for your favourite products. There are games, clothes, lamps and a zillion other things, all handpicked by creative people. So, yes, it’s all in good taste. 😉

Moreover, the website’s neat design makes shopping and scrolling a joy. It indeed feels like a walk into a designer’s personal website. Think bright popping objects on white background and all. Truly, love at first sight.

In fact, now each time I have to find a gift for someone, I’m going to go to Thieve. It’s got stuff everybody would like to receive.

If you want to read more about Thieve, click here.

You can make collections, swipe left or right like Tinder, and get directed to shop some really cool designer stuff.

I hope you love Thieve, as much as I do. 🙂

If you want to know what else I like apart from the above, click here

 

The 10 best dressed everyday showstoppers

If you follow Chai High on Facebook, you’d know about this. For others, Everyday Showstoppers is an album I created on Facebook. An album populated with pictures of the best dressed men and women.

This post will compile the 10 best pictures of Everyday Showstoppers, Season I.

Those of you who haven’t been featured yet, don’t worry, Season II will be happening soon. 😉

 

  1. Me. Of course 😉 me2. Naina | Read the full article on Naina’s style herenaina3. Reemareema4. Azra
  2. azra_daily_style5. VedantVedant6. Sangeetasangeeta_daily_style

7. ShivendraShiv

8. Sarahsarah9. Rebeccarebecca

10. DipikaDipika

Well, with that we come to the end of the 10 best everyday showstoppers on Chai High.

Stay tuned for Season II.

🙂

 

 

The Indian trenchcoat by Shoulder Lab

When you think of a trenchcoat, chances are you imagine Burberry models huddled up looking at the camera straight in the eye, one among them the “latest face”  with dark natural-looking eyebrows.

Cara Delevingne. Emma Watson. Remember?

But how many of us have ever really worn a trenchcoat? And I mean the Burberry way. Bare legs, commando… get the drift?

Hmm… Not so many, huh?

The trenchcoat, at least the way I see it, is exciting. It’s covered. Yet there is a world of possibility concealed in its simple tie-up. One pull, and it’s a heap on the floor! 😉

So, don’t we deserve this garment?

Which brings me to the Indian trenchcoat.

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Designed by Aditi Holani of Shoulder Lab,  this trenchcoat is cotton-based and ornamented to suit different occasions in an Indian social circle.

 

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Most of these trenchcoats are reversible.  Some fall under holidaywear. And some can even be worn during weddings. You can choose to wear it with sarees, or as a light cover-up for strappy dresses.

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In fact, I think it would look good layered with a midi-skirt too. That is, if you want to stay up-to-date with the fashion weeks and trends of the world.

For the more classic among you, throw on the trench over a pair of black tights for an instant style upgrade.

And if you’re bold, you know what to do. 😉

We love how Shoulder Lab has brought the trenchcoat into India and made it look so indigenous!

I especially love the tie and dye ones. They’d look great with loafers and oxfords.

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In fact, here’s something really cool about this brand. Shoulder Lab follows a strict zero-waste policy. Which means they believe in sustainable fashion. And that they up-cycle excess cloth by crafting accessories and fanciful neckpieces out of it. Isn’t that amazing?

Also, they’re mad about experimenting. They have a separate sampling department where they try and create new surface techniques, and experiment using new materials.

Every. Single. Day.

In fact, if you see, even gota is used in the most unusual way in their collections.

 

 

All in all, if you’re looking for something different to wear in this mass produced, cluttered universe of ours, look at Shoulder Lab.

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Here’s a little something about the designer.

Aditi Holani is an alumni of NIFT, Kolkata and Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London. She has trained under Alexander McQueen and Sophia Kokosalaki among others, going on to debut at the Lakme Fashion Week as a Gen Next designer in 2013.

Her label ‘Shoulder Lab‘ experiments with cutting styles, surface textures, patterns and embroideries to articulate free-flowing individuality.

She is based in Mumbai.

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To get in touch, email her at: shoulder.lab@gmail.com

Or connect through Facebook here

Tata,

and Happy Monday 😉

 

Label of the month – Blankslate

Hello folks,

Today, I have something very interesting for you all. STORY OF TELL- a collection by recently launched label, Blankslate.

Conceptualised by designer Snigdha Seksaria, an alumni of NIFT Kolkata, this collection takes us back into the deep recesses of our mind.

Check it out. 🙂

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Outer world versus inner world, conformity versus resistance, society versus the individual.

This collection taps into the grey area between inner reality and outer conformism.

12715269_832594056885941_300268354892553866_nIt is a peek into an artist’s mind left free to roam in a fast-paced city, an inner battle raging on, the embroiderer’s machine whirring and zig-zagging, simultaneously capturing this frantic clash in hashes and cross hashes.12705417_827445604067453_6664202198503276434_n

Blank-Slate-spring-summer-collection-six-BongRongWhat I love about the collection is that the garments are very wearable. In the designer’s own words, “(she) aims to bridge the gap between high fashion and ready-to-wear, offering varied luxury products at affordable price points.”Blank-Slate-spring-summer-collection-three-BongRongYou have your signature white shirt, but with embroidery and detailing that takes it a couple of notches higher into the realm of handmade couture.Blank-Slate-spring-summer-collection-five-BongRongA passionate affair between the classic and the couture, its genius lies in the embodiment of this fantastic dissonance. One that brings to mind the gasps and breaths and racing minds of a stolen quickie in a pub stall. Brought to life on virginal silhouettes. The signature “lip” motif adds to the frenzied moment conjured by the artist.

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“The collection consists of comfortable separates for a fun twist on formal-wear, almost like a pun on the seeming seriousness of occasion wear. The colour palette is monochromatic and earthy with the objective of letting the graphics be the hero. There are occasional pops of colour in the form of the bright red lips as a signature element in the collection.”

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“…there is a lot of interplay between realistic visions and word/textual references combined with geometry-governed line art.”

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Blank-Slate-spring-summer-collection-eight-BongRong“Her interest in the arts, combined with her love for detailing helps her create eclectic clothes that reflect a fresh take on women’s fashion in India.”

 

12794454_840664976078849_8311726511367969064_nBlank-Slate-spring-summer-collection-ten-BongRongThere is something about designers who choose to follow an idea from start to finish. To continue the story from the first flashing of a light bulb right up till the silhouette is perfectly seamed and finished and tagged and steam-ironed, hung up on hangers in vintage stores, ready to perused by art-lovers and fashionistas alike.

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Embroidered art, almost a first of its kind on formal, classic silhouettes, brings to mind an edge where contrasting elements meet to create a story that is at once bizarre and beautiful. Of design that is inherently pure at its roots.

Like I always say, discover who you are. And wear it. Because we’re stories. Our pasts, our futures, our minds and our thoughts. And if we translate our mind into our clothes, we’re able to complete a narrative. To truly and honestly present ourselves as we really are. To package and brand ourselves as us and nothing else. The original, beautiful and one-of-a-kind us. And this thought, believe it or not, gives more credit to your mind and its infinite possibility than you’d ever think.

Just like your choice of career expresses who you are, so could your choice of clothing.

So open your minds to the work of artist-designers like Snigdha, who fabricate brilliant artworks from their racing minds, and then apply it to quintessential silhouettes.To create design that’s powerful yet aesthetic.

All in all, Story of Tell by Blankslate is a collection crafted in poetry from start to finish. An unabashed reminder of our minds and what happens in it as we struggle to fight the demons of instinct.

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Clients can get in touch here:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/blankslatedesign/

Email: info.blankslatedesign@gmail.com

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About the Designer

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Snigdha Seksaria forayed into the world of Fashion Design with four years of formal training at NIFT (National Institute of Fashion Technology). She graduated as gold medalist achiever at the top of her batch from NIFT Kolkata in 2013.

Armed with a bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design, she set out to fine-tune her skill sets through her work experience with veteran designer Anamika Khanna. Her previous stint with retail giant Arvind Lifestyle Brands gave her an insight into industry technicalities enabling her to grasp the various differences between retail clothing for the masses and exclusive couture designer-wear for individuals.

These experiences left a lasting influence on her aesthetics moulding her design sense to a new direction.

She launched Blankslate in early 2016 to pursue her love for wearable art.

Designing at the nexus of artistic purity and intellectual simplicity, her clothes put forward a compelling, strong and authentic brand narrative ready to be embraced by all.

 

Thank you and watch this space for more on new designers, thoughtful design, independent dressers and anything else that manages to move this mind of mine.

 

5 fashion labels to watch out for.

1. Jodi | Anything goes

So I was just scrolling through my news feed the other day, and this label caught my eye. Right from its distinct, minimalist logo in a gorgeous monochrome rendition, to the label’s clothing, a stark opposite with its vivid interplay of vibrant colours, I was enamoured.

So I found the link to their website, and in between my day job, took more than a couple of minutes off, to check this fascinating label’s work.

Well. I was impressed.

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Check  out their entire collection here

My personal favourite? This gorgeous choli top with a front tie. Buy it here

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The best thing is that the prints are all hand-block printed. So if you buy their products, you’re wearing something that encourages the craftsman to hone his or her skill. So, in other words, you’re supporting India’s fabulous heritage.

2. THREE | Borrowing Papa’s wardrobe

This label is for all the minimalists out there. Boxy silhouettes, unexpected cuts in patterns and a straight-out-of-prison or daddy’s-nightsuit chic sensibility. Oversized, comfortable and breezy, this collection is designed for all the no-nonsense, comfort-seekers out there.

Here’s a sneak-peak from their SS16 collection.

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Follow them here on Facebook.

My personal favourite is this gorgeous charcoal grey skirt.

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Available at Second Floor Studio, Khan Market, New Delhi.

 

3. Anavila | The democratic saree

So, with everyone trying to fit into the signature black Zara leggings/tights/jeggings (yeah you know what I’m talking about), here’s a designer whose broken out of the mould by doing the seemingly obvious. It’s so simple yet so glorious that you can’t help but wish you’d done it first. She’s created the first linen saree. A saree that shatters your perception of the, well, saree.

No longer is it the dreaded 6-metre-long fabric threatening a wardrobe-malfunction, should you choose to trip or fall or get caught in a nail.

She’s made the saree low-maintenance, no-nonsense and oh-so comfortable, you wouldn’t want to wear anything else. Yes, she’s made the saree compete with lazy boy pyjamas and the LBD together. Like it was even possible. “Ek teer se do nishaana”, if you may.

Ladies, say hello to this fabulous innovation. Handwoven by men and women in rural India, sustainably manufactured and beautiful to look at, you’d want to ditch your favourite blue denims for these.

Do take a look at some of her fabulous work.

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My personal favourite? The second saree from the left. Isn’t it just dreamy?

She also does amazing blouses. Like this.

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I love everything about her collection. I mean who would’ve though, sarees could look so comfy? And could be worn with something other than a tiny blouse? A blouse that you need to prep days in advance for?

By teaming sarees with loose-fitting kurtis, she’s definitely brought the whole 6 yards back into daily dressing.

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P.S: I love her kurta-pyjama combos too.

To get in touch with her, click here

To shop for Anavila, click here for Ogaan, and here for Pernia’s Pop-Up Shop

4. Mogra | SID or the Sexy Indian Dress

By this time, you must have a clear idea of my aesthetic sensibilities. It’s natural fibres all the way. So, before you yawn or snort or turn up your nose at this edit, take a look at yet another designer who’s making waves with her seemingly-simple yet beautiful approach to design. Sheena Roy of Mogra.

She takes your traditional handwoven sarees and indigenous Indian textiles, and makes gorgeous dresses out of them. Dresses you can wear on and off duty.

Her boho-chic aesthetic coupled with sharp western silhouettes brings in the surprise to every creation. Take a peek.

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To see more from Mogra, click here

5. Jappi | The Kitsch-Kitsch Jacket

Last but not the least, is Jappi. The brainchild of Parineta Borah, this label brings together a kitsch sensibility with a distinct urbane touch. From sarees to mekhlas to beautifully bizarre jackets, this label is not for the faint hearted.

Parineta experiments with embroideries and traditional Assamese silks to create outfits suited for India’s burgeoning audience. Think eye-popping hues, contrasting textures topped with a swag, only a true desi can pull off.

 

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Check out the rest of her collection here

To follow Jappi on Facebook, click here

Well, that’s all for now. Hope you enjoyed reading this post. And do spend the rest of the week checking out these very talented designers and their very-covetable clothes.

Love,

Shivani