Masoom Minawala’s latest appearance at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival got everyone talking. The content creator made India proud when she walked the red carpet looking beautiful in a Manish Malhotra sari.
Although she has emerged as a fashion icon today, Minawala’s journey started in an office in Mumbai, where she interned with a designer. During this time, she was also introduced to the concept of blogging.
“It was still a fresh path and a fairly new one in India. That was the time when I was completely intrigued with blogging and I went home to immediately set up my own website and began posting fashion blogs on it. It was an exciting experience, to begin with, and although it was a whole new ballgame as compared to today’s Instagram age, I’m glad I took it up,” she says.
Currently, Minawala has over one million followers on Instagram and it includes many A-listers: from celeb designer Sandeep Khosla to actor Neetu Kapoor. The bio on her page reads, “Taking Indian fashion to the world” and that is exactly what she has been trying to achieve through her work.
In an interaction with indianexpress.com, the global influencer and entrepreneur talks about her Cannes experience, love for Indian culture, and the joy of representing Indian fashion globally.
This was your second time at Cannes Film Festival. How different was the experience from the pre-pandemic times?
It was an experience that is incomparable and absolutely exhilarating! Although this was not my first time walking the Cannes red carpet, it did feel like that in many ways. The first time was marked by pure joy, but this time it was also filled with a sense of pride of wearing an Indian designer and standing for my country and its fashion. The festival required us to maintain certain precautions this time but it was definitely a breath of fresh air to be out and about like the old times.
What did you have in mind while picking your outfit for the red carpet?
Since I was representing India on the red carpet, I knew that I had to wear something that reflected my country and my mission of taking Indian fashion global. So, I was dressed in a pearl white saree, defined by silver sequin work across it. I couldn’t have asked for a better outfit that truly represented my vision for the festival.
How did the collaboration with Manish Malhotra come about?
Manish Malhotra’s final work reflected exactly what I had envisioned my red carpet outfit as. It was quintessentially Indian and carried that statement flair that the festival is all about. All in all, I couldn’t have asked for a better fashion partner for the festival.
From dahi shakkar to kala tika, you shared a video where you are seen following all desi rituals before heading to Cannes.
I’ve always been very vocal about how much I adore my culture and everything that comes with it. Especially as a Gujarati born and brought up by a classic Indian family, when I moved to Europe, I brought these values with me. More than habit, these rituals are also more about the belief they are attached with, and I regard them with the same importance I was taught.
You expressed in an Instagram post that you did not feel like you ‘belong’ at an event like Cannes.
I absolutely loved representing India and Indian fashion on the red carpet of the festival. I was in awe of the vibe that surrounded me there, the iconic personalities around, and everything that Cannes stands for. But, at the same time, I often felt a little out of place and I felt like I had to try too hard at times to fit in with the rest of the crowd, which made me feel like I didn’t belong. But, I am sure the next time I go there, I’ll be a lot more confident.
What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion to me is about expressing my personal style and just my overall personality. I believe my personal style is etched with comfort and at the same time, an experimental edge. So, for me, it’s all about exuding my personality.
Does Indian fashion lack adequate global reach/representation?
Although things are changing, there is still a long way to go for Indian fashion to reach that global representation. And that’s exactly what my motive has been–to empower and support Indian fashion as well as designers. Through my campaign, #SupportIndianDesigners, I’ve managed to help promote a lot of brands even on international lands and I hope to do better year on year.
Many designers are now focusing on sustainable fashion. What is your take on it?
Adopting sustainable ways and reusable fashion is not even a choice; it doesn’t have to be. It should be a need and an integral pillar of fashion. I feel that sustainable fashion is as much a way I can channelise my creativity as it is the need of the hour. If you look at it, recycling and reusing old clothes is a great way to express your creativity.
With most of us opting for popular clothing brands, do you think the handloom industry, traditional weavers are losing out?
Not at all! Today, all of us are becoming more and more conscious and introspective about our buying habits, sustainable fashion practices, and craftsmens’ welfare, too. This mindfulness is leading to more and more empowerment of our traditional handloom industry. Moreover, these time-honoured crafts are getting a modern spin to keep up with the ever-changing taste of the fashion industry, thereby receiving more spotlight. Through one of my campaigns, #IndiaIlLove series, I contribute to educating my audience on these crafts and making sure the community appreciates our crafts, handlooms and weaves as much as we appreciate our couture.