Fashion- a means for confidence, self-expression, history, culture, and so much more.
Fashion is instrumental in communicating who we are to the world. Throughout history, fashion has been used to convey unity, rebellion, solidarity, and so much more. A few days ago, Kamala Harris wore a “Suffragette white” pantsuit in her first address to the nation as Vice President-Elect, which many believe was a nod to women’s fight for equal voting rights in America. This is just one example of how our fashion choices can make a big impact on how we feel and what we stand for. A rainbow heart on our shirts to represent our support for LGBTQ rights, a pink ribbon donned to support breast cancer awareness, or a pair of tie-dye sweatpants to convey our fight for comfort during quarantine Zoom-meetings. Everything we wear exhibits something about ourselves. I had the chance to sit down with fashion influencer Malvika Sheth not too long ago to hear about her take on fashion’s personal impact as well as tips on how we can all be more confident through the pieces that we wear.
Malvika, tell us a little bit about yourself!
Hi readers! I’m Malvika Sheth, and I’m a digital content creator who believes in the power of fashion and beauty to empower driven dreamers to unleash their potential. Stylebymalvika, my platform, started as a hobby in college, but I started to spend more time on my blog than I did focusing in class. Slowly I started to monetize, and I had to take a leap. I decided to graduate college a year early, and take on Stylebymalvika full time. This has to be the best decision I’ve ever made. I’ve been able to travel to fashion weeks across the world, work with my favorite hotels, and some of my favorite brands as well!
Have you always been interested in fashion and beauty? Do you have any early memories of experimenting with styles or looks?
I have! As a little girl, I was always infatuated with the makeup and jewelry my mom would wear, especially when she was getting ready for Indian events and festivals. Speaking of my heritage, my earliest memory would have to be wearing makeup for stage Indian Classical Dance performances. A quick, important fact: I’m a Bharata Natyam Dancer and have been since the age of 6!
How has your relationship with fashion and beauty changed over the years?
Growing up, I was a bit on the heavier side, had oily skin, and unruly hair. I used to look around me, and feel super insecure. I let what peers and family members say to me really impact my relationship with myself and my body. This body dysmorphia that I went through made me look to fashion and beauty as a cover of sorts–I figured if I could get people to focus on my clothes rather than my weight, hair, or skin, that would be better. Looking back, this wasn’t ideal at all. All the while I was looking to clothes to change how others perceived me, I also went through a period of unhealthy dieting and exercising which led me to faint twice and the first time, fall and get stitches on my chin. Today, I’m a changed person. I know the true potential of fashion and beauty is in the way it allows you to channel your highest self, and not in trying to fabricate something for others to see and accept.
What do fashion and beauty mean to you personally?
Fashion and beauty is a means of tapping into your highest self and bringing out a greater deal of confidence within you. It’s a direct tool that works towards manifesting your goals and dreams. If you dream of being a boss lady entrepreneur, wearing pajamas all day doesn’t necessarily align that well, and it doesn’t send a signal to the universe that will work in the direction of your dreams. Funny enough, all my career changing moments have been tied to some of my favorite outfits, and I’m sure it’s not a coincidence.
Do you have a go-to look that you wear to help you feel confident?
Blazer, crop top and/or sports bra, and high waisted jeans with some gold accessories.
Who are some of your fashion and beauty inspirations?
Both Audrey Hepburn and Iris Apfel. I like to consider my personal style as a cross between the two. Classy like Audrey and colorful like Iris.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who wants to embrace fashion and beauty more, but is hesitant to or feels that doing so would be out of their comfort zone?
The key to being able to express yourself freely through fashion and beauty is having a great relationship with yourself. When you’re comfortable with who you are, you’ll understand that fashion and beauty is merely a tool to bring out what’s inside of you–and the many facets you have.
What do you recommend someone wear for a virtual interview that they might be nervous about?
There’s no one-size fits all. Personally, my go-to look for confidence that I mentioned above works really well for me, whereas for someone else, it might mean playing more with beauty and a bold red lip–not really worrying about what they’re wearing. It’s honestly about what makes you feel the most comfortable and confident. If you’re not sure, experiment and play around!
Lastly, what excites you about the future of fashion and beauty?
What has always excited me about the industry is the intersection between fashion and awareness of super important topics. Fashion informs culture and vice versa, so it’s great to see that as our world champions for more diversity, sustainability, and several other important causes, fashion and beauty trends change. Too, it’s super cool to see how fashion and beauty brands’ actions can inform the masses, and inspire change within society. It’s really a cycle, and both a spectator and active participant in the industry, it keeps me inspired and on my toes.