Sunday, December 25, 2011

Bandagi Launch and a New Year Giveaway!

This Saturday was one of the most significant days in my life. I launched my own line of accessories. The brand is called BANDAGI – Bling Worship. Bandagi means Worship, and I see the brand as a bit of a rebel, a free-spirit out to explore and discover. My first collection was only hair accessories, as I feel the Hair can transform a woman. Also, we have an extremely emotional association with our hair. So I had a small launch event this weekend which did very well. What had started out as a personal passion is reaching out to many women and I cannot even begin to describe this feeling!

To celebrate the successful Launch of Bandagi, I wanted to have a Giveaway. This also gave me an opportunity to get to know one extremely talented lady, Aarti Verma, of ART MEETS FASHION. Art meets fashion is an independent label which deals with Handpainted and Handcrafted Fashion and Home decor Accessories. Every Product is a unique piece of art. Its founder and designer Aarti has done an Art Teacher Diploma from Sir JJ School Of Arts, and then pursued a crash course in fashion Designing. After teaching as an Arts Teacher for a year, she sought to do something more concrete with her inclination to blend art and fashion, and that was how her label was born.
Aarti believes that Art and Fashion have been the twin passions of her life, and every day she grows as a designer, absorbing new inspirations, rendering them into her colorful designs.

She launched Art Meets Fashion just about a year back with just a few handpainted totes, and already the label does tunics, sling clutches, and ceramic jewellery pieces. But Aarti does not want to get into mass production, and likes to keep her designs unique and rare.

For her designs, Aarti is drawn to Tribal Elements, and prefers doing human figures, very bold, Indian yet contemporary. She loves to fuse two opposite elements, whether in the colors, form or even fabric. While she loves color in general, her preferred colors are earthy tones, with brown and black being her favorites. She is also drawn to reds and greens, depending on her mood.

Aarti’s online presence poses the biggest challenge faced by all independent designers: Plagiarism. She continually tries to refresh and renew her designs in order to combat that, but laments the lack of control over theft of her designs.

While Aarti redefines the style platform for others, her own style is pretty eclectic. She loves to mix trends and isn’t afraid to experiment. In her closet, one would find chunky silver jewellery, skirts of all lengths, and a lovely little black dress! When not working, the young designer loves to travel, take pictures of her world, and gorge on Chinese food.

Currently, Art Meets Fashion is available at the unique multidesigner store, Bliss in Mumbai and Pune. The designs can also be ordered at

Aarti has given a beautiful, hand-painted bag as a Giveaway gift just for the Shotcouture readers.

To win this lovely Art Meets Fashion bag, you have to…
1. Be a follower of Shotcouture on GFC.
2. LIKE Art Meets Fashion Page On facebook

Once you have done that, just leave a message on this post with your name and valid email id. The Giveaway is open to international readers and will end on Friday, 6 January, 2012!

I can relate to Aarti on so many levels. Having just started my own line of accessories, my constant fears and challenges follow the same progression as her. I will be posting more about my label and accessories on my Facebook Bandagi Page. You can see the key pieces from the collection HERE.

Also, a special mention of my Design Da Paura, inspired by the lovely Rachel, of Capturingitaly. The design is crafted from a delicate fabric flower, and is available in two colors, black and purple.

I am so excited about the launch and keeping my fingers crossed that it would do well. Christmas this year has been memorable. I do hope to hear from lots of you on your plans for the New Year. And yes, don’t forget to take part in the Art Meets Fashion Giveaway! The beautiful, hand-painted bag could be yours!

Monday, December 12, 2011

So much! So much!

This is going to a picture heavy, long post. There is so much happening. My own accessories line, to start with. I launch in less than two weeks, and nothing seems to be in place! I am falling behind on my posts, as the day job is in full swing. Not that I am complaining. Love my job, love my people. And I absolutely love the fact that there is never a dull moment.

Spent this weekend with a dining group, "Pet Pujaris", literally translates into stomach- worshipers. We had a long, happy lunch at the newly launched restaurant "All Day 5", at the Apollo Hotel in Colaba, Mumbai. This colorful, young eating space, with an energetic, young chef is a must visit if you happen to be in Mumbai and are looking for a cozy, casual dining option. The drinks, the starters, the main course, and the dessert were absolutely delightful. Which perhaps explains why the lunch extended till about 5 in the evening. I had a Sangria to drink, and called for a Vermicelli crusted Basa, which was superbly done and perfectly flavored. Anyways, here are some pictures from the lunch.

Of course, with my first accessories collection just around the corner, there is lots to do. So Saturday was spent working and reworking the designs, and things seem to be falling into place now. For those who think blogging is easy and frivolous, well, blah! It has changed the course of people's lives. Mine, for sure. I am excited and a bit scared. I can only hope that my designs will be liked and the accessories will be bought. Right now, I am working on branding and Packaging, and it seems like nothing will get done on time. But that's the fun bit!

So yes, I used denim to beat the Monday morning blues, and as usual, took some pictures. How was your weekend? What special things are happening in your life?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Giveaway Winner, a pretty cake, some colorful socks and new shoes...

Thank you all for taking part in the Shotcouture Mish Mash Giveaway! And the winner of the hand-painted bag is - Jenny Benny of Jenniferfabulous!
I had a lovely weekend. Was working on Sunday, but that too was a lot of fun as we had all met for a brain-storming session for an upcoming project. On Saturday, I managed to pick up a couple of pairs of new shoes from Tresmode, and also met my brother who had gone to our home town Agra, and brought back an amazing pair of green boots for me. Also, I happen to love colorful socks, and have quite a few pairs. So can't wait to sport some new footwear.

Last week has been a busy week. Work is progressing well on my hair accessories collection, and it gives me so much satisfaction to see things take shape. After a difficult phase, my life is getting back on track. Soon, I will be able to share my collection with you all.

Today is a friend's birthday, and we brought it in with a lovely cake that a co-worker's wife had made. She has just started making these fabulous cakes, and I just loved her work, and decided to buy one. How was your weekend? Did you do anything special?

My co-worker, Noopur, and I were sitting on the office terrace and clicked some pictures fooling around with the camera.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mish Mash Design Giveaway!

Sorry for being missing for so long. Lots of work, and some really great news. I have started work on my own line of accessories, and will share them with you really soon.
Also, I did not want to have a run of the mill Giveaway for Shotcouture, so that took time. And I am glad to share with you, the Mish Mash design Giveaway, along with an interview with the brand's talented designer - Abhilasha Jain.

I first discovered Mish Mash Design on Facebook, when the young designer, Abhilasha, initially started promoting her hand painted bags and cushion covers through the social networking platform. I bought my first Mish Mash cushion cover from Abhilasha’s stall at a popular store’s flea market. The lovely colors on the cushion cover placed in my living room promptly started getting me compliments. More and more friends and acquaintances wanted to know where they could get one. Meanwhile, Abhilasha was introducing one fabulous design after another, giving Mish Mash Design a unique identity, increasing her buyer’s base, and generally bringing a spot of happiness in many lives. After a few months of chasing, I not only managed to tag the super-busy, shy designer for an interview, she even offered an amazing Mish Mash Bag just for the readers of Shotcouture!

Here is the interview with Abhilasha...

Q 1.When did you first discover your passion? How did you start?
A. I was always interested in Art, in particular art on Indian culture,tribal based themes & vibrancy in bold colors always attracted & inspired me. My mom is a very good artist and has been the key in. However the passion actually turned in to a profession quite accidentally. I had been working in the Jewellery industry for the last 8 years. A few years back as a hobby,I used to hand paint bags and cushion covers for my friends & family. Appreciation from friends and the thought of doing something I loved led me to start Mish Mash Design. On all practical grounds , it was a crazy decision to leave a well set position in the Jewellery industry and build something from nothing.However for me this is exactly what I wanted to do.

Q2. What are the challenges you face as an artist?
A. For a creative person, you may be good at your skill but it takes time to understand the market, how it works & approach the right clientele. On an operational level, the hardest part which I have faced so far has been to find skilled labor to do the production as per my designs, imaginations & requirement.

Q3. How do you think your Art has changed over the years?
A. Honestly, these are still the initial years for Mish Mash, so I don't think I really can answer that. But I could say most of my work illustrates simple subjects like life, human beings and nature and here I aim to blend colors to bring about a lively mood. Like in any other field, as an artist you keep learning and evolving, so the focus is to constantly take inspirations from life and try to create something that can bring cheer to the end user.

Q4. What are some of your favorite designs?
A. Altough I love all my designs but my all time favorite designs are: Jodha akbar cushions, Tribal beauties bag, Rangeela Rajsthan Silk Bags,Boho Chic hand bag series & Fashionista bag series.

Q5.How well do you think Social Networking sites like facebook work for Independent Artists?
A. I feel nowadays social networking sites like facebook can be an amazing platform for independent artists.The biggest advantage is its ability to help artists engage and build their own audience across the globe. The artist gets immediate & direct feedback from his/her audience which helps artists understands their customer’s needs.

Q6. Where do you see yourself in a few years from now? What future plans do you have as an artist?
A. Right now I am going with the flow and totally enjoying this phase :).I currently have a small studio at my house where I create and paint stories. I am Retailing at a few stores in India and London and also available on some online stores.
In the long run, I do wish to create a niche for myself in the market by creating unique hand painted home decor products and fashion accessories accessible to as many locations across the globe!

Check out some of the Mish Mash Design products. It's hard to pick a favorite. You can check out more of Abhilasha'a work on HER BLOG.

Love her work already!

Great! Because like I mentioned, Abhilasha very sweetly offered one of her fabulous bags as a gift, for one lucky Shotcouture reader! The contest is open to readers across the world.

To win this fabulous bag, you have to
LIKE the Mish Mash Design page on Facebook.
Follow Shotcouture through Google Friend Connect

For additional entries, LIKE the Shotcouture Page on Facebook

Once you have done this, just leave a comment on the blog, stating you have followed the required steps.

This Giveaway Ends 2nd December, 2011.

And yeah! Started posting on Lookbook. Check out my profile.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pinwheel Mornings...

Lots of new followers. And lots to share. I have been blogging on and off now for five years. And the past couple of years have been the most eventful years of my life. I have seen way too many ups and downs, the kinds people get to see over several decades. I lost my Mother to hemorrhage, lost my dad to cancer, had to leave my loved pet behind, got divorced, permanently injured my knees, and started life practically from scratch.

But the going has been good. I have found out who my real friends are. I have discovered my strengths. And I have found some really inspiring people on the blogosphere. I am learning to respect myself, so I can expect the same from others. I am learning to put myself first. Thanks to your inspiring presence in my life, I have started work on my own line of hair accessories too! There are some women on the blogosphere who I have been following for a while now and who use this medium for far more than posting pretty pictures of themselves. They have relentlessly pursued their passion, travelled extensively, achieved what other keep day-dreaming about, and managed to bring just that little ray of sunshine to the lives of others. Even though I have never met them, I have learned to read between the lines and see the true grit that lies at the core of a woman. My this post is to honor a small handful of them. There are many more, and it's not possible to mention them all here, but in some small way, you all have helped me through a very difficult time in my life.

So, I'd like to give my very own "InspiraciĆ³n Award" to the following beautiful women.

Rachel of CapturingItaly

Anna of IHOD

Anya of Couture Millinery Atelier


Mimi Bleu of Bonjour Romance

I also want to share a few random things about myself.
I love pinwheels.
I love quiet, happy breakfasts.
I love flowers, candles, and beautiful things.

Leaving you with a few pictures clicked around my house on a lazy Sunday morning.

And yes, there is an Awesome Giveaway coming up soon. Watch this space!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A first in five years!

Can you believe this! I have been blogging for five years, and this is my first ever outfit post. Oh well, there is always a first time for everything. So here goes.

This is what I wore to office today. My workplace, and my job profile as a writer does not require a formal dress code. I dress up for comfort, as Mumbai is an unpredictable city, and many a times, I have to walk home in the evenings. So footwear has to be comfortable on all days. I often carry a "shoe bag", or a flat pair of shoes to wear on my walk back home.

Bolero : A shop in Colaba, Mumbai
Tank : Zara
Bangles : From a streetside vendor in New Delhi
Jeans : Levi's
Shoes : From an export surplus store in Agra

Oh, and since we are doing Firsts, I am five followers away from 100. How about a 100 Followers Celebration Giveaway? What say, bloggers?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Life. Music. Rockstar.

I woke up today and fell in love with life. I had a light but lovely breakfast, and then meditated for a while. There was no rain, and I had some good music. I know very well not every morning can be like this, but why let that come in the way of celebrating life today? The weekend is here and I am really looking forward to meeting my brother and his family. They will be spending the weekend at my place. There shall be some great food cooked and some awesome music listened to. Some board games are going to get played. Can't wait for the weekend to begin!

Meanwhile, if any of you like Indian music, do treat yourself to the music of the Bollywood Movie "Rockstar". Composed by A. R. Rehman, the music will soothe your soul and feed your dreams for days to come.

Monday, September 26, 2011

More from Vienna and Budapest

I made a little blooper in my last post. I hope you remember that I mentioned that Roseanne and I had a relaxed lunch at the SAPA Restaurant in Vienna. And I posted a couple of pictures of my gorgeous best friend without captioning them. So now, many among you thing that the lovely girl in the pictures is me. Nope, I am the bespectacled geek sitting across her.

So sharing some more pictures from Vienna and Budapest. I can feel that I have been bitten by the travel bug. I now want to travel to Greece. And then back to Austria, this time for a longer duration.

Will resume the fashion posts next week. I have a lot of new things happening in my life that i am just dying to share with you all. More on that later. To avoid any confusion this time, I am the tall woman in the yellow singlet. Have a great week ahead, my lovely blogging friends.