Shivangi Lahoty is a full-time fashion designer, fashion blogger and off-lately a Youtuber as well. An award-winning graduate from NIFT Mumbai and FIT New York, her blog “With Love Inaaya” is a personal styling space where she articulates what does and doesn’t work for her in fashion. It is centred around fashion along with a little bit of everything else that comes with it. Through her reach, time and again, she attempts to address some important issues most millennials face.
The unique feature of her blog, she believes is in creating content that she herself would like to read and the products she would find comfortable to use, hence putting herself in the shoes of her followers. Unlike most blogs featuring everything that comes their way, she prefers personal screening before publishing anything. Each outfit or look is created with the utmost detail, keeping in mind that her audience includes working women who won’t doll-up to work every day but need daily fashion ideas to use their existing wardrobe as a resource, mixing and matching it to up their fashion game.
She has been using her blog to address some bigger issues in the last few years, namely depression, self-doubt, self-love and body image issues. These are the issues all of us fight inside our heads but accepting them is tough. When you have someone you follow or like discusses these issues in an open space, you realise everyone is vulnerable and hence you can find a recluse in the other person, she says. This makes you shed your inhibitions and talk. Being a NIFT alumni, she has recently started a segment called “Weekend Fashion Classes with Shivangi” where she addresses students’ queries about NIFT and fashion education. This adds a touch of educational and professional aid to her blog as well.
Her style statement is largely inspired by her Maa, as she has grown up watching the way she dresses up in a starched cotton saree worn in a prim and proper way daily. She’d sometimes tie a scarf around her hair when they went out, or put on a pair of Mommy jeans and team it with a button-down shirt if vacationing. Over the years she has realised her knack for all things vintage and retro, a style influenced by her mom, nothing maker her happier! She likes to dress gracefully, a saree or a skirt, she gives it a retro twist!
She loves Jenny Cipoletti when it comes to blogging, for effortless style and Tara Milk Tea for her beautiful Instagram feed. In her life, it is her mother who is her biggest inspiration. A major encouraging and driving force is the need to create and innovate various styles.
She began with creating content in 2011, but her full-fledged fashion blog came into existence in 2015. She was then involved in a research on the ‘Rise of Fashion Bloggers’ for her college and she interviewed Bryan Boy, Tavi Gevinson, Aayushi Bangur, Gia as well as some other fashion influencers. Two months of research and she knew she wanted to do this. It may sound unbelievable but Shivangi had a lot of body image issues and she had built herself over the years to the persona she is today. Once unsure about putting herself out there for the world to criticize, in 2015 she began her journey of blogging.
For Lahoty, blogging is a beautiful way to meet new people and reach out to a larger audience with your style and more. She runs a full-time fashion label: Inaaya & Co. It gets exhausting at times: managing all the bills, the tailors, the embroiderers etc. “Honestly, blogging is my escapade”, she mentions. It is therapeutic. Creating different style looks and answering questions for teenagers who want to pursue a career in designing or women who want recipes of dishes she posts pictures of online makes her happy!
Her blog name ‘Inaaya’ is her pseudonym. As she mentioned earlier, she was quite sceptical about putting herself out in the world of social media in the past hence she used ‘Inaaya’ as her disguise, which made her feel secured yet confident. She believes there’s an ‘Inaaya’ in all of us, a side which we are hesitant to show to the world. With her blog, the idea was to basically embrace her other side. She has myriad of age-range in her audience, but mostly, she has a generous number of working women looking at someone making their lives easier by helping them decode wearable looks. A huge number of young followers who follow her due to her academic background from NIFT and FIT and also thanks to all the sessions at Fashion Colleges in the past year and her YouTube channel. She also has a section of women in her audience who follow her for her Indian aesthetic towards fashion – a more sustainable approach.
She is admirable of how ‘Inaaya’ has grown in the last couple of years and the small community she has built along with her followers. In her future, she wishes to focus more on the fashion educational segment.
For vlogging, she uses a Canon G7X Mark II and for blogging her photographer has a Canon Mark D IV. For pictures on her Instagram feed, she puts her iPhone 7 to use.
As a blogger, she wants the audience to know that ‘the picture perfect 9×9 grid’ is not a reality so one must not feel pressurized to maintain a socially acceptable persona. One should love oneself, embrace their body for what it is and not let apparent ‘social media standards of beauty’ pull them down.
She asks the aspiring bloggers to do what makes them happy and do not let other people’s work affect their growth.
Words by Laveena Behl
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