Loud and colourfully clear!
By Mahmood Hossain
Dhiksha Sajnani (Instagram: @Dhikshadesigns) is an artist who never passes up the opportunity to express herself and her work. My impression when I met her was that she must consistently create, or cease to function properly. Her veins are pumping and fl owing with creative juices, her fingertips eager to jot down all her thoughts on paper, and she impatiently waits to find ways to convert those ideas into reality.
For the time being, however, Dhiksha tells me that she’s focused on a few running projects that let her creativity shine. She’s on the verge of launching a second collaboration collection with Phavini Kalra, another talented Thai-Indian fashion designer within the community, using Phavini’s original designs and Dhiksha’s original prints. This soon-to-be-released collection, aptly called Here Comes the Sun, represents the fun, creativity, and joy of modern Indian clothing – something that Dhiksha embodies. Additionally, Dhiksha is launching her very first hand-painted outfits, a collection that is a blend of casual/everyday clothing, with an artistic flair and an urban Indian undertone. Both the collaboration and her exclusive collections are now available at Phavini’s outlet.
With a degree in Graphic Design from the Savannah College of Art and Design, a Master’s in Education from Moreland University, and currently undertaking her Master’s in Art Therapy, Dhiksha aspires to become an art teacher and run her own art therapy studio.
Curious about what fuels her passion, I asked this big personality a few questions to get a clearer picture of her influences and the elements that make up her personal style.
When did you first start exploring the world of fashion?
I think I was born into it, in a way. My parents had a very big influence on me caring about fashion; it was so ingrained in me. I always saw my dad try different looks, one after the other, to see which he’d look best in, and which one would make a statement. Anyone who knows my dad, knows that he absolutely needs to make an impression.
Growing up, I had a hard time finding my style and what looks good on my body, as I’d say my body doesn’t fit the Asian aesthetic or form. Due to my frame, I started looking into what would make my figure look the best. I asked myself how I can dress in a way where I can make an impression. I think everyone needs to dress according to their body type, that’s the biggest piece of advice I would give to anyone trying to figure out how to dress themselves well. That and wear what makes you feel good, confident, and comfortable.
Is your wardrobe or the way you dress inspired by certain celebrities or style icons?
I actually don’t really have style icons; I tend to just experiment. I like to observe what people are wearing or what’s ‘in’ and go from there. I think fashion inspiration is everywhere, I take what I observe and make it my own.
If I absolutely had to choose a fashion icon, it would be Ashley Graham. She’s not only one of the most famous models in the world, but she also has curves! However, I don’t follow her religiously; I just like her aesthetics. Fashion is so personal; everyone can indulge in it and find what makes them feel good. For example, Desigual is a fashion label that I constantly feel inspired by, as they suit my style more.
On the more artistic side, I’m also inspired by Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Frida Kahlo. I love colours, but lately, I see myself gravitating towards high-contrast looks. In this phase of life, I’m all about the black and white.
I dress for comfort and I dress for what makes me look good and feel good. I’m not trying to follow any brands or particular trends, It’s very much a feeling for me. It’s very important for me to feel confident about my fit.
Quite frankly, there are two versions of Dhiksha. One is the artist in baggy pants and a sports bra in a studio, painting her life away. The second version is when I’m out and about in Bangkok, probably up to no good over the weekend, having a great time with friends – those are the nights I put in the effort to dress in my aesthetic.
How would you describe your wardrobe, and how often do you update it?
In one word: overload. I have too much, and honestly, want to work towards being more sustainable with my fashion. I realised while growing up that I didn’t pay too much attention to how these brands treat their workers, and now, I’m more aware of it. I would like to invest in outfits that will last me a longer period of time. I often upcycle my own pieces by painting on them, or cutting them in a fashionable way. I’ve been thrift shopping quite a bit and I want to start encouraging people to do the same.
What are your favourite brands/fashion houses?
I personally don’t really understand the fuss around these big fashion houses. Don’t get me wrong, I love a Louis Vuitton bag, so I only see myself investing in handbags. In terms of clothing, I normally purchase outfits from Popopilush, American Outfitters, and sometimes Zara (even though it is fast fashion).
A very big reason why I don’t indulge in high fashion labels is because most of the time they don’t treat their workers too well, or pay them a justifiable salary. I would like to eventually move fully towards only buying from sustainable/small businesses or fair trade.
These are some companies that use fair trade and I would highly recommend: Desigual, Reformation, and Patagonia. Any style tips for those out there hoping to upgrade their style choices? Dress in the way you feel confident; brands don’t matter. How the outfit makes you feel matters more than anything.
Any style tips for those out there hoping to upgrade their style choices?
Dress in the way you feel confident; brands don’t matter. How the outfit makes you feel matters more than anything.