“My time at IFA Paris was the best part of my early 20’s!”
Indian freelance blogger Adhisa Ghosh graduated from IFA Paris with an MBA in Luxury Brand Management. Active observer of Indian trends, she became a freelance blogger in her country, analyzing all the changes and evolutions that count, by virtue of her subtle and sometimes brave and uncompromising comments.
Michel Temman: Adhisa, you are an Indian freelance blogger, you were confined for weeks between four walls like all Indians and you run a blog, The Moody Suburban Girl (1), on which you comment daily thoughts. We could also call your blog «A modern Indian novel». You write about society, relationships, here and anywhere, you also decode trends and talk about women, fashion, accessories… What is the story behind this active and lovely blog and what do you hope to achieve with it?
Adhisa Ghosh: «Take your broken heart, make it into art» wrote Carrie Fisher.
I think this quote best sums up why sometimes people with a creative binge, indulge in the things they do. As for me, my main motivation to start the blog was to address the uneven representation of Indian plus-size women, women of color and to depict the courage to flaunt individualistic beauty. I was at an age when I was interning a lot with fashion bloggers and the Indian fashion industry. I was growing painfully aware how women were selected under certain requirements. They were told to be a certain type, to look a certain way. There was rampant body shaming everywhere. However, I had been fortunate enough to never receive any kind of hate for being of a certain body type. I always had my own insecurities of course and used to be surrounded with girls who would get extremely influenced with fad diets, zero figure ambitions and to appear in a certain way, only to be attractive for others. There is also a «white skin» or fairness obsession that I have in my country and quite honestly, back in 2016-2017, social media was still welcoming the concept of beauty at any size.
M.T.: It seems that your blog is also a tool you created to emphasize education and women empowerment?
Adhisa Ghosh: Right. The blog was mainly an ambitious attempt to combine my passion and educational knowledge, take all the work experience that I had gathered over 7-8 years as a student and intern, and pour my heart out to make a space that influences women to embrace themselves. Embrace themselves loudly, with their scars and color, and find their own kind of confidence which was independent of anyone else's perspective. It was really an attempt to say my story out loud. To talk about mental health and address the issue of depression and how I battled with the same. I made the blog when I was at my weakest, dealing with anxiety and depression, yet looking forward to a bright future of my MBA abroad, at IFA Paris, and at the same time wanting to put my vulnerability out there and help people realize they are not alone in their struggles. That we were all together, that there is hope! Michelle Obama says in her book touring of Becoming: «Success isn’t success unless it creates a certain impact. Or else you are just a statistic. To not be a statistic, you need to have a story». I wanted to make an impact in my own way, without any kind of statistic element. I wanted to share my story. I am happy that over 2-3 years, the blog has grown like my baby and has been able to influence women, and men over the world, in the most personal of ways. I come to know about it when people write to me about it. That is more than enough for me. In the years ahead, someday, I would like to extend this into a brand of my own and make a wider space for women empowerment, inclusivity, representation and break stereotypes while at it. I would like to make women more confident in their skin. Intellect first!
M.T.: You have studied more than 8 years and specialized in fashion, marketing, communication and journalism. You have graduated from IFA Paris with an MBA Luxury Brand Management.. Can you tell more about your educational background and also few words about IFA Paris and about your studies there?
Adhisa Ghosh: I have a Bachelor Degree in Design, specializing in Fashion Communication from Symbiosis Institute of Design, Pune, India. It was a 4 years course, where I learnt various aspects of Fashion marketing, styling, branding and communications including visual merchandising and trend forecasting. It was a very intensive course, to say the least. When I graduated, I immediately went for my MBA in Luxury Brand Management. I recall, I was extremely fascinated with Istanbul and Turkey as a country, and back then, to get an opportunity through a course program to actually live in Istanbul, was a dream come true! My time at IFA Paris was split between Istanbul and Paris. How lucky was I! I lived the best part of my early 20’s and if I could go back and do it all over again, I would do it a thousand times over. So much of my key takeaways have happened in Istanbul honestly, I loved my introductory period there. I was swept up in a different world altogether. I have always enjoyed studying, and I think the whole duality of classroom and outdoor lectures at IFA Paris in Istanbul really added the zing to the whole experience. We travelled to so many places over the semesters there, much more than we did in the Paris campus because we were smaller in number too. It was a crazy time to be alive, enjoy the gastronomy classes, going to gorgeous vineyards, eating amazing cuisines, visiting industries and hearing their stories and touring the best hotels for our hospitality lectures – it was a grand time and the best experience of student life. Of course, going ahead even in Paris, it was a different affair. There was this romantic filter to life in Paris. Quoting Victor Hugo: «And when one says student, one says Parisian: to study in Paris is to be born in Paris.»
M.T.: As a freelance writer, for which other medias or social networks did you and do you collaborate? What are your favorite topics?
Adhisa Ghosh: Well, I am actually not a freelance writer anymore. Although I started writing when I was just 16 years old. Before I knew it, I had completed 200 articles in the The Times of India. All these articles had been published and my urge to write only grew in leaps and bounds. However, I knew writing alone wouldn’t satisfy my workaholic soul. With further education, I cultivated my skills, unearthing my creative side and the knack for brand building, business, storytelling, strategy and executions. I have collaborated and worked for offline and online publications, homegrown brands and their social media channels (in 2014-2015, Instagram and Facebook ads were just kicking off). I like to think that I had recognized the trend of social media in the earlier days, when influencer activities were still catching on, with a big game changer coming. Hence, with conviction, I had fought hard during my college graduation years to specialize in the digital field, when most of the students were probably busy picking up conventional majors. My favorite topics would be fashion, history, history of fashion, art and literature, beauty/skincare. I am also an ardent lover of poetry, and from time to time I like to read up on physics, various theories and my own Bengali Literature. I am a traditionalist in that manner. I believe we can modernize and yet keep our roots alive so that one day it can be passed on.
M.T.: In a way, you always wanted to combine style, lifestyle and the necessity to testify, to comment?
Adhisa Ghosh: Yes, undoubtedly. I think fashion is still largely viewed as a shallow world. Ironically, it is funny how people don’t realize the influence of culture, revolutions, modernization, advancements and lifestyles that contribute, or the stories that add vigor to fashion every decade. It is so much more than just a piece of clothing or to look good. Fashion happens to be such deep and integral part of our lives. So how do I not spin a story around it? I think I am kind of a person who would want to appear in a certain way that depict my moods - unknowingly conveying a story through my choices a lifestyle, which most of us subconsciously do as well. The only difference would be, I knowingly admit it and write about it. Look around you, every emotion translates to fashion. Every choice has a dress code and a lifestyle!
M.T.: You mainly use digital media. How do you consider recent trends in fashion media and journalism? Globally and in India? Any favorite fashion and lifestyle magazines/online medias worldwide that you admire and follow constantly?
Adhisa Ghosh: I think dialogue, awareness and mass consumerism of fashion media and journalism has grown exponentially in the last 5 years. I think globally as well as in my country, we are all going through the next evolution of fashion: sustainability. The next decade would bring with it the new challenges in itself as we head towards sustainable fashion from a mass consumerism point of view. A few favorite medias that I admire are - Vogue (Spain, Brazil, Middle East, Paris, USA, Italia), Harper’s Bazaar, Hello! UK, InStyle, Glamour, Allure and Elle. Also, People and The Sartorial. For non-fashion content, Thought Catalog is my favorite for the mix of millennial content!
M.T.: We hear so much about India. What about its actual fashion scene now? Between the traditional scene and the luxury brands market, do you witness the rise of any promising Indian fashion designers and creators?
Adhisa Ghosh: Currently, the entire country still happens to be in extended lockdown so a lot of fashion-oriented buzz has been less. Even brands haven't had the chance to make new collections for Spring Summer 2020 as the Indian fashion calendar works a bit differently. Sure, India is always in the news, we like to think we are mysterious. But we are not the way Hollywood, western movies or Netflix has portrayed us. No, we don’t wear traditional clothes always at home. Majority of Indians who live in the cities have a westernized lifestyle and choice of clothes. Fashion in India is so diverse. You cannot sum it up in one word. Every part of India has cultural reflections in their choice and style of clothing. But yes, the Indian fashion industry became more woke. There has been a rise in promising Indian designers that have brought home the concept of homegrown luxury brands. They try to preserve our heritage while combining it with modern trends and have been able to get massive exposure on the international front. A lot has changed since the notion of luxury fashion has also become ingrained in the country, and to be honest, the concept of luxury has always been viewed very differently in Eastern countries like India. So yes, we do have many influential designers now who are dressing up internationally and bringing fame home, to name a few would be absolutely unfair!