(September 9, 2021) Her Instagram is a delight for any fashion aficionado. If her stunning wardrobe is to kill for, her love for Indian attire makes one fall in love with saris. Meet Belgium-based fashion influencer Masoom Minawala who is making fashion accessible with her sartorial choices. With over 1 million followers on Instagram, Minawala is a woman on a mission — to take Indian fashion global. Her mantra in fashion is a perfect mix of culture and style.
The 27-year-old is one of the few Indian fashion influencers who is a regular at the Paris Fashion Week, Milan Fashion Week and London Fashion Week. With her initiative #SupportIndianDesigners, she is promoting homegrown brands and designers on the global platform. For someone who began her journey as a blogger a decade ago when it wasn’t so mainstream to making it to CNN’s 20 under 40 list, Minawala has come a long way.
Tomboy to fashionable diva
Born in Mumbai to Gujarati parents, Minawala was anything but fashionable in her teens. A complete tomboy who was the captain of soccer team at Bombay Scottish School, dressing up was the last thing on her mind. But in high school, her perspective on fashion suddenly changed and she soon found herself making some chic sartorial choices. This was the beginning of Minawala’s fashionable journey, but little did she know then she would end up creating a career that is influencing millions today.
It was serendipity that took her to an internship with Brand Marketing India where she stumbled upon fashion blogging while doing a research project. Such was the impact that Minawala knew that this was something she wanted to do, and soon started her own blog. Within months, her followers grew incessantly and she found herself getting more involved in the process. It was then that Minawala realized that she wanted to find her niche in fashion blogging: so she packed her bags for London to take up diploma courses there. Upon her return, Minawala started Style Fiesta, one of India’s first fashion e-commerce portals, with a little financial help from her father. When Minawala dipped her toes into blogging, it was at its nascent stage, but she knew how to drive traffic and convert her readers into potential customers.
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While Minawala was steadily climbing the ladder of success in the pre-Instagram era, she had her share of struggles in finding acceptance as a fashion blogger. Being one of the first runners in the industry, with no mentors to look up to, Minawala had a hard time figuring out a lot for herself. Not the one to back down, she learnt at every step of her journey, and soon became a brand in herself – her collaborations with luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Dior and Bvlgari are proof of it. For years, she kept building her brand with every post and collaboration. With Instagram boom on social media culture, Minawala found herself at the center of welcoming opportunities and a strong following of 1.1 million. In an interview with MissMalini, she said, “While creating any content, I always follow 4 principles for my audience- Educate, Help, Inspire and Entertainment. This has helped me build a great connection with my community for which I will be forever grateful.”
A Global Indian journey
2019 brought with it a plethora of opportunities that screamed that Minawala had arrived and how. She took the center stage at the Cannes Film Festival red carpet, becoming one of the very few Indian fashion influencers to achieve that feat. The same year she saw herself making her debut in the list of CNN’s 20 under 40 list.
Though Minawala has become a global brand in the last few years, it’s her love for Indian fashion that sets her apart in the crowd of influencers. A regular at Milan Fashion Week, Paris Fashion Week and New York Fashion Week, the 27-year-old never misses a chance to flaunt that suit or sari and is truly making Indian fashion go global. Her social media accounts are a testimony to her love for Indian attire, especially saris, and she doesn’t shy away from sashaying in them on the streets of Europe.
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This year was no different when she made heads turn with her Indian style quotient at the Cannes Film Festival. Draped in a Manish Malhotra sari, Minawala was a vision. Talking about her outing, she told Times of India, “I was filled with pride of being able to represent my country. I was proud to be wearing an Indian designer and representing my country’s unique fashion on such a massive global platform. And, my red carpet outfit totally echoed and reflected my mission of taking Indian fashion global.”
In the last few years, Minawala has become a true champion of home-grown brands and designers on the global platform with her initiative #SupportIndianDesigners which has generated 10,000+ conversations in India. On Women’s Day, she started a new venture Empowher which aims to empower homegrown women-led Indian brands and help them receive a global audience. In a conversation with Lifestyle Asia, she said, “Empowher as a project is to create content for women at work or women professionals or entrepreneurs in India. When I started my entrepreneurial journey years ago, I faced a lot of obstacles mainly because of my gender. And through my content from Empowher, I want to try and make the path easier for women out there because there are a lot of stereotypes when it comes to women working in our country, and it’s about that time we make it right. Through my learnings and failures if I can make an impact or make someone’s journey easier then the purpose of Empowher will be fulfilled.”