The co-founder of British Asian Fashion Week and South Asian fashion expert, Sheetal Agheda rounded-up some of the upcoming talented UK Asian bloggers for an interesting meet-up at Le Pain Quotidien in Central London.
I was glad to see lifestyle bloggers, The Desi Dossiers back from their holiday all tanned, as always dressed for the occasion in mocha jumpers and big hats. All we soaked up was rain water while they sipped on cocktails! :D
Once everyone has arrived and settled Sheetal started the session with introductions as most of us didn't know each other by face but only by the blog. Everyone sat waiting to start and it felt like starting school again.
Once the formalities were out of the way we really got down to fashion blogging business and indeed the intriguing conversations flowed over a cup of latte, tea and fresh fruit smoothies. Well, after pushy waiters being in a huff and puff interrupting the session pushing us to take our orders.
Sheetal shared her fashion secrets, bloggers opportunities and next steps to improving the UK Asian fashion scene. She wanted to get our opinions as respected bloggers in the industry and talks of ways British Asian Fashion Week could help us bloggers.
I'd met with Sheetal on previous occasions for a quick bite to eat and l was astonished to see the sheer determination of this incredible woman trying to change the UK Asian fashion industry.
I noticed most of the media, bloggers and Asian fashion outlets tend to forget about the needs of real women living in the UK. In this day and age (7% of UK's population being South Asian), it's not all about bloggers being self-absorbed and blogging about luxury garments most people can't afford. Not all women have ££££ (or want) to spend hundreds of thousands yet want to look different and feel empowered. It spans from all different religions to cultures and it's time we all came together to move the industry forward by listening to the public and giving them what they need.
Personally, I like to strike a balance, yes l need to know about the high-end brands as that's where the pre-season fashion trends originate from. Whereas, l always think of my readers e.g. what's missing in the UK fashion industry, what's needed and what l can give them to improve the industry e.g. passing on my fashion expertise. Blogs should be educated unbiased opinions and for me it's mainly helping people who encounter the same issues in their everyday wardrobe. That expert advice includes, building a British Asian fashion identity, more fashion real women, affordable with everyday fusion fashion and l won't lie it's far from easy as the bloggers and l acknowledged in the BAFW Bloggers Forum.
No wonder I've had more than one coffee with Sheetal prior to the bloggers forum, she seems to understand my passion of trends, fusion fashion, affordable fashion, insight into British Asians and shares her vast knowledge. Sheetal has gained over researching and working in India for three years with the fashion greats. She even excited me about everyday fashion in India and the fashion scene in South Asia we need to take lessons from to succeed in fashion.
It's true things are changing in the industry and British Asian bloggers seem to be the key and hub of a new fashion movement. Watch this space!
P.S. l refused to pay the 10% service charge at Le Pain Quotidien, why pay for bad service. Especially after the waiter asked me twice 'was it bad service?' I'm not afraid to express myself and voiced my sheer disappointed with the service - particularly the service provided by him slamming cups on tables, disrupting the session and being moody. I won't be visiting anytime soon!
I hope you enjoy reading the magazine, as much as I loved sharing the hidden fashion gems and supporting women promoting their fashion business. I'm always on the lookout for inspirational women running or thinking of starting up a fashion business. If you're one, please get in touch and you can join me at one of my exclusive meetups for women with fashion businesses.