Blogger Spotlight:’Plump to Pretty’

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Neelakshi Singh is one to enter a room and own it! When you wear your attitude ,your outfit  ,your physical attributes all  become a prop to  highlight ‘YOU’.  Which is why this plus-size blogger’s confidence inspired me and I can still remember thinking how cool she was. If there’s one thing that hasn’t changed over the years, it is the fact that she is still as cool and as confident as ever.

Take a look at the conversation with the ‘Plump to Pretty’ girl who puts the phrase “rules are meant to be broken” into context.

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How do you approach fashion? Is it a form of art, or fun or a different ideology altogether?

“I really want to say art but it is just a form of self-expression. It is in fact the only form I understand and know of. A lot of cultural inputs do come to me through the different eras and the art movements, but it was only when I studied them that I became aware!

What I really identify with would be the pin up girls, with my cultural heritage seeping through.

For me fashion isn’t limited to just my clothes but to the way I interact with people around me, the way I teach my students(as a visiting faculty at Pearl Academy) or the way that I compile food on the plate on a day to day basis! I want to be a part of the bigger picture with what I wear, how it affects the people around me, and how they take inspiration from me and make it their own.”

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When and how did the idea of ‘Plump to Pretty’ come around? What are your greatest sources of inspiration today?

“Identity is always such a tough and weird concept to me because there are so many things we identify as — be it our backgrounds, how we’ve created ourselves, or what we do, especially in this society where what we put out there is equivalent to who we are.

Even with all the naysayers (who predominantly were people very close to me and started with “Oh it’s baby fat, it will go away” to “Lose weight nobody is going to marry you”), I’m yet to come in terms with my own body. No amount of love, education and gratitude takes body shaming away. No matter how well dressed, educated, worldly wise or active I am, I’m never good enough; all I am is a big blob of fat.”

I’ve never expected indigenous visibility, but instead body positivism to every girl who refuses to wax her stache, or wear modest clothes for the heck of it or who suffers secretly from Bulimia when her weight refuses to reach our ideal standards. For me a more positive step would be when people leave the women and their bodies alone- too fat, too thin, dusky needs to be bleached, curly needs to be straight; it’s almost like we are in a vague need to create a clone factory. I wanted to destigmatize everything and I felt the very need to start my blog. My ex-boyfriend really helped me by not only encouraging me to jot down about the way I feel, but also named the blog. I remember writing in the very beginning of 2012 where my virtual world held me strong when everything else failed. Today I’m at a space where I’m happily preparing for my PhD in Design (body positivism) and taking along every modelling assignment I can!

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It’s an ever-changing scenario today when it comes to fashion, with different ideas and trends floating around. How much do trends affect you and your sartorial style?

I take the word sartorial very literally! As a big woman, my choices have been very limited and I’ve always had a mend and patch here and there kind of a style. Even an important event that I would have prepared for will go through some tedious last minute changes. Trends very honestly do affect my decision making when I buy clothes or even when I’m making them. I absolutely make it a point to go further and lookout for the fashion forecast. I imagine all the possibilities when I make a piece of clothing and in how many ways and times I could wear them. In fashion every detail is always borrowed and we run in this vicious cycle through the eras and try and recreate them, and for me it stands true.

Essentials we will always find in your closet, the year round, no matter what.

I don’t acknowledge my glasses enough but they play such an important role in framing my face that I actually work my wardrobe around them. At any given point of time, I will have 3 types of glasses with me to change the way i feel, alternating with contact lenses as well!

A black dress in every form of mini and maxi is inevitable!

Also I need black leggings, blue denim, array of waist cinching belts and strapless bra. I have come to terms of getting my basics right and then work around them depending on the occasion.

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There are so many young people going through issues relating to their body image and appearance, their dilemma of fitting in and being perfect. What would your advice to such individuals be?

My only advice here is: Don’t be a bitch to yourself, you don’t deserve that! Anyone of any size can look fierce. It’s all about letting yourself know you’re fierce and believing it. Don’t be afraid to wear what you want and be who you want.

3 people who are impeccably dressed while being true to their style?

I have to name four please! Gayatri Devi,Frida Kahlo,Marlyn Monroe and Leandra Medine from Man Repeller.

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The greatest movie or documentary you’ve come across?

Oh God there so many that I would want to name here!

I absolutely love ‘The Dressmaker’ from the recent times for its awkward narrative and how it portrays the femme fatale with vengeance. The thought that a dress could be so effective in elevating a personality is just too captivating to watch.

Another one would be ‘The True Cost’. In the world of fast fashion, it’s absolutely heart wrenching to understand the true cost of bargains that we happily tuck in our shopping bags. The advocacy documentary totally details the devastating effects on the people in third world countries who produce the cheap clothing and are essentially treated as disposable cogs in a cruel machine.

I love ‘Coco before Chanel’ and it’s so convincingly played by Audrey Tautou. The movie helps me relate with the fact that struggle is a part of everyone’s life and how going on tastefully but adamantly is the key.I cannot forget but mention a cliché in the end; ‘The Princess Diaries’ & ‘The Devil wears Prada’ for it opened doors for me to perceive fashion and the societal expectations of beauty.

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The major fashion weeks just wrapped up. Who would you term as a ‘game changer’ in fashion, based on what you’ve seen so far?

Honestly, I can’t really identify with any of the fashion labels or houses any more.  Growing up with the idea of Sabyasachi ,Anita Dongre and Manish Malhotra would account for that perfect designer worthy dream!

New labels that have popped up in the recent times as Ekam, House of Milk, Galang Gabaan, Amrich,Ka-sha and Antar- Agni are doing really well in their genre and have carved a niche market for themselves, but I found the association of Kutch artisans coming along so well on the ramp and that would be a game changer for me.

You have had the coolest hair for over an year now! Any advice on color theories, styling, hair care? Anything at all !

I absolutely have so much to say here! I know it looks amazing but one needs to come to terms with the upkeep. You really need to take care and calculate the aftermath of colouring your hair before you dive in. The key is to find the right hairstylist and the regular maintenance. I have to colour it every 15 days, use Moroccan oil treatment and get hair spa done regularly. So getting your hair coloured might be easy but it is the maintenance cost that really sweeps you off your feet(not in the right way).

Always get the colour that will match your undertone; anybody can rock any colour as long as it’s their right shade.

Images courtesy- plumptopretty.blogspot.in

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