Decked out in the latest fashion, but she’s still Tina from the block!
By Mahmood Hossain
“The devil is in the details,” says creative professional Tina Khanijou, as she gracefully reclines in her chair amongst the vibrant art throughout Chim Chim Restaurant at Siam@Siam Design Hotel Bangkok. The opening statement is an old idiom, referring to something that may seem simple but actually has a myriad of hidden elements within the details. This multi-talented mother of two embodies those words and applies them to every creative pursuit she has ever ventured into, from her early years as a journalist to her impeccable wardrobe suited for every occasion.
Tina’s personal style exudes confidence, an effortless waltz from one end of the fashion spectrum to the other. Each outfit is a stark contrast from one look to the next, befitting her attitude and an aura easily mistakable for the Bronx Bombshell, Jennifer Lopez (J-Lo), who coincidently happens to be one of Tina’s style inspirations. But more on that later.
Tina’s love for fashion and her countless wardrobe changes has always been rooted in her ferocious curiosity, the passion to explore, and the capability to be inspired by anything and everything the world has to offer. “It has always been a part of me, ever since I was a little girl. My imagination would run wild when I would spot a dress, a bag, or any other aesthetically pleasing item around the house,” says Tina. “I would add an extra element, change or recreate the entire look, and style things up differently. This process developed over time and evolved over the years. I realised I had an eye for detail, beyond a good sense of style or aesthetics. I was never professionally trained in a traditionally creative field, but I had a natural knack for balancing colours, paying closer attention to symmetry, and manipulating silhouettes. This affects the way I dress or present myself.”
Anyone who has properly met Tina would immediately notice her authenticity; her work and the way she carries herself come straight from the soul. “You feel happy when you create,” adds Tina. “I’m an artist at heart, putting my all into any project. It has to be detailed, thorough, and organised. I go the extra mile oftentimes and do it well. It can’t be rushed and done with for the sake of it.”
Self-taught in many ways, Tina now owns and runs her art studio called Creative Club BKK, dedicated to celebrating the various forms of art and instilling the younger generation with the values and appreciation of the creative world. Like her style icons, J-Lo, Beyoncé, Deepika Padukone, and Priyanka Chopra Jonas, she is more than what meets the eye. At times, people tend to fail and realise that style is a projection of one’s personality, while fashion is an essential tool in the construction of each image.
“It’s not just about their beauty and fashion though,” Tina shares about the aforementioned celebrities. “These women of colour are of substance, talented, and possess enigmatic charisma. They are more confident because of the things they have achieved so far, and it shows. They are absolute stunners; simply iconic!”
Tina also reminisces on past red-carpet moments, such as JLo’s fantasy-induced, barely-there green gown by Versace at the 2000 Grammy Awards. Again, confidence and feeling comfortable under one’s skin have been a theme for Tina for most of her adult life. Being bold is character development, taking years of experience, and getting to know who you are and what you want.
Elaborating on her personal style, she says, “I’m quite individualistic. I don’t really follow every fashion trend. I pick and choose what works for me. These are things I think everyone should embrace: stay true to your own aesthetic sense and authentic self, what compliments your body and add a dash of your personality to it. That’s how I present myself. I make it mine; make it my style.”
She also emphasises the importance of adaptability and dressing for the occasion: “I choose comfort over being fashionable, for example, when I’m working extensive hours. But when the occasion calls for it, and I need to dress up, I dress up! However, I always make sure to follow the 3Cs: cloth, colour, and cut. I make sure I get my clothes fitted to my size and shape, then I can focus on how each pair of shoes or accessories complement the entire look.”
In an era where one’s identity has become a key topic of discussion, there remains an underlining character challenge for many. Tina is a walking example of owning your look and a reminder to others, young professional women in particular, that investing in yourself is the foundation of an evolutionary trajectory that can surpass the surface-level decision-making in the way you look.
“Ultimately, be you. But also keep your heart open to reinvent yourself from time to time. Go for what accentuates your body type and own what you wear. There is nothing like feeling good in what you wear. To follow through with this, taking care of your body is essential. I believe in sticking to the basics – exercise,
proper sleep, eating healthy, and constant hydration. I cannot stress how crucial the basics are in your life and how you feel. It’s good to remember it’s about how you carry yourself, not just what you chose to wear. The poise, the confidence, and the energy you carry it with.”
Tina is always in touch with her creative side by owning and designing statement jewellery and accessories for her brand @navara_jewelry. Additionally, she owns and runs an art studio @creativeclub_bkk consisting of DIY craft sets & supplies, packing & wrapping gift hampers, party props, and décor, among others.
Hair by: @mossymosbeautiful
Makeup by: @auguss_makeup
Wardrobe: Tina Khanijou
All photos taken at Siam@Siam Design Hotel Bangkok.