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Namita Sunil

Sunday, August 19, 2018 10:53:52 PM Asia/Calcutta

Model. Designer. Student. Activist


Have you heard the story of Moana? The first ever disney princess with dusky skin and curly hair. In clearer words, our first step towards the acceptance of dark skin. But that’s a story, right? Do such warrior princesses really exist? The story that you are about to read, is of a girl named Namita Sunil, who was denied of what she deserved because according to the stereotypical norms of society, she was “too dark” and thus not “pretty enough”. Let’s go back in time and see how things turned out to be for her.

"My town is very small as compared to Delhi. I was very nervous before moving here"

One of Namita's fondest memories as a child, is of dressing her best friend up for imaginary fashion shows. She has been deeply interested in fashion since childhood. She would sit in front of the T.V for hours admiring women who looked like her with dark skin, wild hair, a skinny physique. In spite of what people made her feel about herself, a part of her knew that there is a place for her out there. She dreamt of making clothes for women who were never told how beautiful they were. She wanted to study fashion because of how inclusive the industry is and bring a change. After completing school, her parents agreed to let her appear for the NIFT entrance exam. She qualified the exam and her rank got her admitted to the Delhi center. She was nervous but knew that it was all that she had ever wanted. From the small, coastal town of Kochi she moved to the busy, fast-paced capital of the country, Delhi.

"Vantagold started with promoting the tints and shades of brown and making people realise how beautiful the colour actually is"

Namita has always loved Delhi. There is a place for her in this city, she believes. She had to fight for this place though, like any other person. The modelling team of NIFT always fascinated her. She wanted to be one of them, walking the ramp someday. She auditioned to be a part of the team, and got selected. It hadn’t even been a month since she had joined the team, when she was asked to leave. When she asked for a reason ‘they’ told her that she didn’t have the “right face” to be a model. This crushed her from within. The confidence that she had built over time, bit by bit, in spite of all the struggle that she had to face for the way she looked, fell apart. More than anything else, it made her furious. Why was she being treated in a certain way because of something she was born with and had no control over?

In her summer break, after the first year of college got over, Namita started an instagram page called “Vantagold”. It was a medium for her to reach out to people, to say the things that she had felt all her life, out loud. Not only did she openly spoke against the struggles that come with dark skin, but also body-shaming, gender in-equality and whatever she thought was wrong in the society. With this brave step, the world around her changed.

"If I ever meet my high-school self, I am gonna ask her to hang on and appreciate the small things in life"

Today, Namita has not only shot for several well-known brands but also done editorial shoots with magazines as prestigious as the Harper’s Bazaar and Verve. The girl who was once having a hard time finding a place in the college fashion team, is now a big name in the industry. Namita also hasn’t gotten deviated from what she came here for. She models, designs, goes to college and illustrates. Sometimes she has to make tough choices, but she has her priorities set right. She doesn’t want her dreams to be confined to a profession, she has bigger goals in life. Her pictures in magazines and billboards do make her very happy, but not as happy as a message from a teen thanking her for being there does. Namita has touched lives in several ways. She has made little girls realise that they shouldn’t believe in what others ask them to believe. They should have a belief system of their own and stick to it, no matter what. All she wants is to be happy, and keep adding a little bit of herself to the world, in small ways.

Fashion, to Namita, is only about what you are and what you think will look good on you. It has got nothing to do with trends. It’s an expression that has always helped her be whoever she wanted to be. It has given her the chance to explore the depth of her identity. She believes in bringing sustainability to fashion and making more space in the industry for people like her.

In her story, Namita Sunil, is truly the warrior princess, the gold to her vanta.

Namita is donning 'La Vie Sheer Shirt' dress

Namita: @vantagold
Photographs: @pritiza7

Posted By Nitin Mehrotra

Nitya Uppal

Monday, July 23, 2018 5:31:27 PM Asia/Calcutta

Assistant Editor - POPxo


Conviction is a virtue, hard to find. But when Nitya Uppal speaks out, you can almost feel the amount of confidence attached to each word. Nitya, the assistant editor of POPxo, claims to be a shy and awkward person. Instead of initiating a small-talk, just for the sake of it, she would rather go for a long and meaningful conversation. Her busy schedule oscillates between work, books, TV-shows, work-out and bit more of the same. A lot of who she is today comes from her workplace. POPxo, as she believes, has given her the freedom to shape her thoughts in whichever way she fancies and also the opportunity to offer other women the same kind of liberty through content. It is also the stress free and fun environment that keeps the enthusiasm ever growing. She is, in every sense, a strong-willed woman who never doubts herself. If she wants something, she claims it in her gut, and gets it.

"One thing that I was obsessed with as a teen, was FASHION MAGAZINES"

Nitya was born in Delhi. She spent all her school life in one school, with a closely knit circle of friends. Nitya had immense interest in Psychology and knew that one day she would want to study the subject in depth. Her career-counsellor though had something else planned for her. Nitya was a teenager who loved reading magazines, watched almost all the hep TV-shows, and was aware of most of the things happening globally. Clearly, she was made for media, an option she had never given a thought to. It made complete sense to her though. After school, she got a call from both, a reputed college from the Delhi University and Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication, Pune. She was supposed to make a decision that would have chosen the course of her life. She believed in her gut, and went for what changed her life; Media and Journalism.

"If I am writing, thinking or making any content for women, it's going to be for Indian women."

After spending a few days in college, Nitya knew that she had made the best decision of her life. She loved going to college and attending her classes. The energy of her classmates and their eagerness to know more inspired her everyday. Though Nitya was not completely aware of what she wanted to do after college, she knew exactly what she didn't want to. After eliminating a few options, she worked as an intern for Cosmopolitan and later for Marie Claire India. This gave her further clarity on what she wanted to do. Fashion Journalism it was. Nitya, as excited as she was, got a job right after college. Nine months after the job she realised that there is a bigger market out there about which she needs to learn more. She applied and eventually got an admission in the London school of Fashion. There, she studied global fashion and the difference between diverse markets and how to cater them. By the end of her post graduation, Nitya had become a person with strong work ethics and a fondness for perfection. All she wanted after that was to exploit these virtues to the fullest, for the women who were the residents of her own roots. Thus, she came back to India.

"Women have to speak louder, they have to step in."

After taking a couple of months off, Nitya got a job at a tech start up as the head of content. She did not only produce quality content but also led a team of writers. It turned out to be one of the most exhausting, yet fruitful experiences of her life. But what came next made her discover the perfect place for her.

She was appointed as the assistant editor of POPxo, a women-oriented media platform. According to Nitya, it just felt right. Even the busiest days don’t exhaust her. It is something that comes naturally to her: talking about fashion, clothing and women in general. She heads a team of amazing young female writers. It is usually hard for a woman to be taken seriously in this patriarchy driven society. However, in her one year and eight months long journey at POPxo, never has Nitya ever felt less powerful that any man. Her team stands by her in all her decisions. They all believe in having each other’s back. It is a company for women, by women. Each day spent at the POPxo office strengthens her sense of liberation.

Conviction, thus, takes you places unexplored. Places within, and outside and Nitya Uppal is the living testimony of this statement.

Nitya is donning 'Dots Obsession' dress

Nitya: @nityauppal
Photographs: @pritiza7

Posted By Nitin Mehrotra

Preeti Singh

Monday, July 16, 2018 5:21:52 PM Asia/Calcutta

Miss Wheelchair India 2017- 1st Runners Up


The road not never taken.

Many people came up to Preeti, pointed at an image that they had built and said, "Preeti, this is what you should become. Don't worry, we will make sure you get there". Preeti curiously asked, "But why?", to which they answered, "Why? Because that's how it works". Preeti looked at the image once again and said, "Umm..I have probably come down the wrong road". And Preeti being her usual rebellious self turned her wheels to the opposite direction and NEVER LOOKED BACK.

"I hadn't seen the world beyond cantonment. For me people were either Army folks or civilians"

Preeti, like any other kid who is born with a disability in India, went to a special school. It didn't take her long to prove that she was, in fact, not like 'any other kid'. As soon as she reached the third standard, her parents were advised to admit her to a regular school. Being an Army officer's daughter, she spent most of her school life hopping from one city to another. As high school arrived she decided to study commerce. Preeti had made the best of all the opportunities that came her way till now. It was though, high time for her to ask herself, 'What next?'. The answer, against all odds, was SRCC. Her father, who was earlier apprehensive, later, saw no reason to stop her from doing something she was so confident about. Soon enough, Preeti got an admission in SRCC. That was the point where her life took a dramatic turn. And Preeti, being her usual fearless self, had nothing to say to it but 'BRING IT ON'.

"To me, I am the prettiest of all" *giggles*

Life was going great. Everything was going according to the plan. 'The plan' was to one day become a Chartered Accountant. Preeti qualified her CA exam in the first attempt. She got a job, a good one. Something was still missing. All those efforts only to yet feel incomplete in some way or the other? Was that it? Well yes, everything did go according to the plan, but OH WAIT! There were slight alterations here and there. Preeti had been following Miss. India Wheelchair for quite a long time. She had always been a person who loved to dress herself up. This also seemed to her like a chance to make people question their definition of 'Normal'. And Preeti, being her usual spontaneous self, decided to GO FOR IT.

"An incident is not enough to change your life. It is you and what comes from within that make all the difference"

Every part of the pageant journey turned out to be a new experience for Preeti. This opportunity gave her a chance to travel in a flight, see a new city and experience a lot of things for the first time. Preeti became the first runner up of Miss. India Wheelchair 2017. She knew that this achievement would mean nothing if she doesn't exploit it to the fullest to inspire other people like her. She had been writing for a long time. Preeti's was a story that deserved to be told and shared and she was aware of its importance and potential to inspire. From blogs to articles and questions to answers, she made sure that her voice was loud enough to be heard. Soon, one of her articles was published in Scroll, a reputed platform for liberal voices. And Preeti, being her usual candid self, wrote every word with HONESTY AND PRIDE.

Preeti's life has been a track full of hurdles. But she is a stubborn being. When life gave her lemons, she did not only make lemonade, but added every flavour she could think of and turned it into a mocktail of her choice. Undoubtedly, she made the right decisions by always choosing TO BE HERSELF.

Preeti is donning 'Grass and Butterflies' Shirt

Preeti: @singhpreeti_17
Photographs: @pritiza7

Posted By Nitin Mehrotra

Vidhi Khandelwal

Sunday, May 7, 2017 1:12:44 PM Asia/Calcutta

Founder, The Ink Bucket
Dreamer. Believer. Doer

Growing Up - Path always taken

Vidhi, was an obedient girl. No craziness, no surprises for her parents. She wanted to do something serious like all her other friends. "I want to be a doctor or an engineer, maybe", she thought. She even took Science in high school with that intent; safe, tried and tested. She joined all the tution centers to help her prepare for all the million academic entrance exams she thought she'd take. She couldn't do it though, couldn't get herself to get through the class, the tution, the day.

Her mother, an extremely cretive person herself, soon became Vidhi's muse and helped her ignite a curious fire in her heart and thus began an inclination towards a creative persuit.

Well Standard XII was about over and Vidhi had to make a choice. She just took one entrance - National Institute of Fashion Technology.

NIFT and beyond

Vidhi cracked NIFT and started her course in textile designing at NIFT, Delhi. Four years of hard labour, multiple projects and crazy sleepless nights.

Her decision to not take the 'safe' path was validated after she topped her college in the first year. College got more competitive with each passing year. But so did her will to excel. While at school she always felt out of place, NIFT was her territory, her safe zone. Now, her life.

Well, life is full of surprises, isn't it? For her final year project she interned with an export house helping them with their home décor collection. She spent her evenings sketching and making illustrations. That is when realization knocked on her door. She liked her evenings more than her days. She didn't want to be a textile designer and this is essentially what she studied to be these 4 years.

She didn't know what to do next. She felt stuck.

Job after job and Myntra

Vidhi didn't plan on giving any job interview at all. However, after being convinced by her college teachers that she was wasting her life she took an interview, started working and quit.

She quit. Four jobs. Consecutively. She couldn't do it.

Post that she took a research project at an infrastructure company and had it not been a three month contract she would have quit it too. On a boring day at work, she stumbled upon a Fashion incubation programme by Myntra. Myntra was inviting applications from fashion aspirants for a one year programme with them. They were offering financial aid and other expertise to help selected people conceptualize and build a brand, and providing them with an established platform for a brand launch. It was the last day to apply for the programme and Vidhi was running out of time. She decided to give it a shot and that was the beginning of her Ink Bucket Story.

The Ink Bucket

She conceptualized The Ink Bucket during her stint with Myntra. She doodled her heart out and her hand-drawn beautiful illustrations and scribbles found place in beautiful laptop bags, wallets, sketchbooks and what not.

The Ink Bucket, an extension of Vidhi's personality, has an old school charm like her. Fresh and innocent, it takes us back to the times when people weren't, well so millennial. It emphasizes on the important of personal touch and fills your heart with positive thoughts.

The Ink Bucket and Vidhi have a thing to tell us, you just need to keep at it. Do it, even if it's the last day of application. Try, even if you think you aren't prepared. "Life is so full of surprises", Vidhi says and gets back to sketching while listening to 'Blank Spaces' by Taylor Swift, a song she is so embarrassed to admit she loves.

Posted By Vidhi Khandelwal

Ruchi Mann

Monday, February 27, 2017 5:43:49 PM Asia/Calcutta

Associate Director, Corporate Communication, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)

Winner of Economic Times Young Leader Award 2016
Workaholic. Hyperactive. Lover of Poetry and Coffee.

What is exactly that you do?

I lead the internal communications, alumni and the design team of PwC India. In layman's language I am responsible for all communication circulated internally in PwC. My main focus is on the communication that flows from the leadership, whether it's in the form of blogs or mails to the employees.

And the cliché question, do you like what you do?

I absolutely love what I do. I am always driven and working and that too by choice, not because of any compulsion. I am working as enthusiastically at 2 am as I am at 9 in the morning. The reason I am able to do that is because I always have and I still am enjoying this. I don't think I would not have had it any other way.

Tell us about your childhood, something that would make us smile

Well for starters I remember having a lot of shoes growing up. Lots of them. I would always play dress up and walk with certain panache, even when I was little. My neighbours used to call me princess (now that sure as hell makes me smille).

My dad has been a big influence in my life. He is a disciplinarian and has some typical lawyer tendencies. I remember, he used to give us dictations and maybe that is somewhere where I developed an affiliation towards the English language.

I wanted to study economics in my undergrad and was aiming for SRCC, LSR and the likes but as fate would have it I didn't score well enough to get into these colleges. I decided to take up journalism instead. What I thought was my back up turned out to be the best decision ever. It was later during my masters at Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communications (SIMC) that I realised that corporate communications was probably something I could think of pursuing seriously.

Winner of ET Young Leader Award, how is that, achieving so much, so young?

I feel if you channelize your energy into doing something you love, you can achieve anything. Also, as far as the award is concerned, when I won it I couldn't fathom that it was such a big deal. It's only after people around me started talking about it that I was like okay, I'll pause and take a moment to celebrate this.

Now lets talk about love.

I met my husband while we were both working at American Express. He tells me now that he always knew from the moment we met that I was 'the one'. But well, I took my time. I told him once that I liked poetry and from that day on he would learn a new poem every day and we would discuss the 'poem of the day' over coffee, which over time became coffees. Poetry and coffee ended us up together and they have been a constant since. Dhananjay. DJ, as we call him brings balance and romance in my life.

Ruchi gleams as she quotes Elinor Glyn, "Romance is the glamour which turns the dust of everyday life into a golden haze."

Currently Reading

The rise and fall of nations by Ruchir Sharma

Favourite Movie(s)

Shawshank Redemption, Pretty Woman and K3G (just because, too many memories)

Favourite Holiday Spot

UK and Rome

Free time fancies

Reading and working out

Support system


Can hog on

Chocolates and some more chocolates

Fashion Mantra

Be a classic dresser, always have just one statement accessory

How do you like dressfolk

Easy and very breezy

Posted By Ruchi Mann
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