One of my favorite things about blogging is being able to connect and work with emerging South Asian brands and designers. Not only do I get to see my hyphenated identity come to life in innovative designs I can wear, but I also get the unique opportunity to work with creative entrepreneurs whose life experiences often mirror my own.
As we push for representation in Hollywood and the government, how can we manifest that same push for representation in our day-to-day lives? One way to do that is to support young South Asian brands. As South Asian millennials continue to embrace their roots, I've been truly blown away by the energy, innovation and fashion coming out of the diaspora. Ranging from streetwear to couture fashion — you can add a dash of culture to any outfit you want. Here are some of my favorite fusion designers to watch out for this year!
ReeMat Designs is definitely my go-to jewelry brand. There is a perfect blend of East x West cultures, as well as an air of elegance that cannot be paralleled. And the cherry on top is the incredible CEO and designer of ReeMat Designs, Reena Mathur. While her stunning designs quite easily sell themselves, her one-of-a-kind sweet and bubbly personality keep you coming back for more. If you ever catch yourself eyeing my jewelry on my Instagram, there's a 99% chance it's a ReeMat design!
What inspires Reena's brand: I draw endless inspiration from the female strength and beauty around me. Our collections are created and curated for the fashion-forward women who want to make a statement that uniquely defines their style. | Follow ReeMat Designs on Instagram
Desi Streetwear is the fusion ensemble you never knew you always needed, and Handsome Brown Guy has this niche on lock. I never thought I'd see a varsity jacket with a desi twist, but I'm definitely not complaining. You'll find Handsome Brown Guy's signature elephant being ridden by a Raja on most of Asif Quraishi's pieces, which include sweatshirts, t-shirts, and amazing strapback caps!
What inspires Asif's brand: As South Asians living in the West, the silhouette of the elephant rider represents our hyphenated identities. Our heritage undoubtedly makes us who we are, but at times is only visible to those with a keen eye. | Follow Handsome Brown Guy on Instagram
Why yes, I absolutely do need my loungewear and sleepwear to have a South Asian touch. I'm always most in my element when I'm home in a robe, so why not add a splash of my roots to my at-home look? Lucky for me, PajamaSutra is making this brown Sleeping Beauty's dreams come true! From beautiful henna-inspired printed robes to adorably cozy matching PJ sets, CEO Sarena Udani has all of your loungewear needs covered. And if you look hard enough, you may find one of your favorite contestants from the international 2017 Miss Universe pageant wearing the same robe as you. ;)
What inspires Sarena's brand: The PajamaSutra brand is all about celebrating the special moments in our lives as women - both the big moments AND the everyday moments. We love it when brides wear our robes on their big day…and love it even more when they tell us they wear their robes every day since. We’ve been humbled when we see a new mom wear her PajamaSutra bridal robe while cuddling her newborn, and she tells us that wearing it reminded her of when she felt her most beautiful as a bride, and it brought her comfort and made her feel even more beautiful as a new mom. | Follow PajamaSutra on Instagram
House of Naveda is made for the chic, modern South Asian woman. CEO and designer, Amy Devan, specializes in creating unique pieces that take our favorite aspects of South Asian fashion, yet mesh seamlessly with any ensemble! While my closet is brimming with Naveda pieces, this beaded crop jacket is by far my favorite. I've styled it so many different ways, I think I've lost count. If you're looking for versatile wardrobe staples that work with both Indian and Western ensembles, House of Naveda is about to be your new favorite brand.
What inspires Amy's brand: The NAVEDA woman has a deep appreciation for travel and the arts. She embodies a subtle edge reflective of her yearning to take risks and approach life in her own distinct way, while appreciating glamour and luxe details that make a lasting impression. She is creative, uninhibited, curious, a global nomad and enjoys exploration that takes her mind, body and soul on an escape. The mission is to combine hand-craftsmanship with timeless silhouettes that are versatile, allowing for both classic and fresh elements. each NAVEDA piece is globally inspired, carefully and thoughtfully hand-crafted using legendary artisanal dying, beading, and embroidery techniques. | Follow House of Naveda on Instagram
5. The S Movement
I saw this jacket and immediately fell in love. It seems like the most effortless way to express my hyphenated identity, and it can literally be worn with any outfit. And my favorite part is how authentic it is to traditional South Asian prints and fabrics. Added bonus? If you're ever looking for edgy ways to style these jackets, founders Sree and Smrithi have DOPE fashion inspo for you on their insta!
What inspires Sree and Smrithi's brand: We started @thesmovement page because we wanted to explore the fashion and beauty world through our Western and Indian cultures. As we gained more momentum, we realized we wanted to create something of our own that fused both cultures together. We had the idea of making denim jackets with saree prints because it incoorporated our love for both cultures. Seena Bazaar was created to explore our love for Indowestern aesthetics and to share it with others that loved it just as much as we do. Being able to showcase our passion through fashion has been an absolute dream of ours and we are so excited to be able to share it with everyone. | Follow The S Movement on Instagram