A long wait comes to an end; we are launching our website a year after we launched DesiTude. I apologize to all of you who have had to go through a cumbersome process to shop from us. Now that a basic website is in place, we are expecting the process to be much easier, as well as to communicate to you in a better way about what we are upto. Since our photography is something that is as unique as our products, I thought I will dedicate this first blog post to tell you about the thought behind our photography.

If you have scrolled through our Instagram or our LookBook, you would have found our photographs to be different from that of most other fashion brands. The difference is that the people who pose for us are not ones with certain kind of looks that fashion brands require. Also their skins are not masked with cosmetics to enhance their looks.

Ms Ramya Valsala is a theatre artist from Kerala. She is wearing our pistachio green Khadi denim shorts.

From the beginning, I had it clear in my mind that DesiTude should not succumb to the beauty stereotypes that are prevalent today. These stereotypes leave no space for individuality or for being the natural self. Not only that, it also creates insecurity in many a minds. Masking one’s face with harmful chemical substances so that one looks good for a few hours is something that I personally find meaningless. This thought has been embedded into DesiTude, too.

Nothing carries more weight when similar thought is echoed by someone from within the fashion industry, especially when the person is Ms Sonam Kapoor, the fashion icon! In her essay published in BuzzFeed she wrote:

“I know now that there’s nothing wrong with stretch marks, cellulite, or scars. They’re markers of our growth. There’s beauty in their realness… Pursue prettiness for yourself, by your own definitions – not to meet culturally preset notions of “flawless”. Because flawlessness is a dangerous, high-budget myth, and it’s time we shattered it.”

Many who follow DesiTude closely have said nice things about our photography. All credits are due to our photographer Ms Anjali Gopan, a graduate from National Institute Design and a resident of Thiruvananthapuram. I cannot thank her enough for the work she has done and continues to do. When my friend Sara introduced me to her and we both discussed the project with her, she was wowed.

“I really wanted someone who would be okay with models who aren’t really professional models, and a shoot with no makeup. I don’t understand why we need so much make up. I was really excited to work in such a project.”

The people who pose for us are real people who come from different walks of life. There are migrant labourers, domestic helps, laundry people, school students, artists, engineers, advocates. Also, age has also been no bar for us; we have had models as old as 15 to as young as 84! And each of them has been photographed in the most natural ways possible.

84-year-young Ms Sarah George wearing our peacock block printed Khadi dress.

Our models are so ordinary looking that it is as if anybody can become DesiTude’s models. So, how do we select our “models?” Hear it from the photographer herself.

Mr Arjun is a migrant labourer from Jharkhand currently working in Kerala. He readily and happily posed for us wearing our non-dyed Khadi denim wasistcoat and tie-dyed Khadi shirt.

“I don’t choose people to shoot as such. But sometimes when I see some people I really feel they need to be represented in images. Unfortunately, many faces that we see everyday never get represented in shoots. Mostly, it is an idea of what is trending as beauty at that moment which makes to billboards or in advertisements. It is so momentary. But the reality is that we are surrounded with beautiful faces of all kinds. And they hardly get represented. My idea was to build maximum representation.”

I was particularly excited when we discussed the idea of having migrant labourers becoming our models. In every state, they are usually the first suspects when a crime happens. We use them to get our work done but hardly stand up for them. We do not even treat them well. Approaching them for something like this, I think, would give them a sense of acceptability.

For our photographer, the reasoning was different. “I keep noticing them and their faces. Their features have always fascinated me. They are so beautiful and fit, and they have such beautiful personalities. But I have hardly seen advertisements that represent their faces!”

Being a socially responsible brand, we at DesiTude wish to contribute some good to the society. We hope that the things we do will make people think.

15 thoughts on “Photography with purpose: Breaking beauty stereotypes

  1. Drisya Murali says:

    Great concept… USP of your brand is just like these high spirits… Natural and beautiful….

  2. Tejal says:

    Totally impressed with this idea going green in real sense . This like using the idea and ethics of our culture in very stylish way. I want to seriously work with you guys in desitude any kind of internship in desi tude

  3. PSM says:

    This a great idea and unique in many ways.
    My grouse would be regarding the max size being 38.
    How does one get hold of a 42 inches ? 😀

  4. Anandi says:

    This is such an lovely step which goes with natural posting of pics and not masking skin with glitters. Really great initiative to break the model idea.and respect to the change made .

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