Former Editor-in-Chief of ELLE, Supriya Dravid shares her piece of mind on sustainability, the joy of dressing up and walking on the perpetual treadmill called parenthood.
1.You have years of experience in fashion journalism, what has been your biggest takeaway/wisest lesson learned?
Supriya: Embrace the madness. Creativity ought to be harnessed. If you have to write, focus on the good. It’s easy to be a critic and write a judgemental piece, but remember that everyone, including you (in your own way), is hustling. And everything is cyclical—the more things change, the more they remain the same.
2. What's the next possible turn in your career? Do you have a specific field/subject/genre in mind?
Supriya: I actually got started on an assignment with Reliance Brands and am working towards the launch of a one-of-a-kind luxury e-commerce portal called AJIO LUXE, which will curate a great mix of Indian and international brands.
3. You have been a mouthpiece for sustainability, local and ethical practices in fashion. Where do you think we as an industry stand today? What according to you are the next necessary steps to be taken by brands, individuals, and businesses?
Supriya: We have a long way to go when it comes to sustainability. As an industry, we have to work in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals, which is a multi-pronged approach to ensure that we are making mindful choices. It is about not just conserving our resources but also how we recycle and revitalise what we have consistently. I had the unique opportunity of having Dr Jane Goodall, DBE on our cover at ELLE India last May and she said something so poignant. On being asked if she is hopeful, she said, “I still have hope in the resilience of nature, I have hope in the youth, and I have hope in the indomitable human spirit that says, “I am not going to give up. I will never give up”.
4. You are the powerful, contemporary Indian woman that we as a brand seek inspiration from and aspire to dress. We want to understand your style and what fashion means to you. How do you translate your ideologies into your sartorial choices/practices?
Supriya: To me, fashion is a celebration and I love to lose myself in scouring new designers, their work, their memories, and what drives them to create what they do. After all these years, it continues to excite me. There is a great line in Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, where the narrator Holden Caulfield says, “What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.” That line stayed with me. I’ll always send a message or call them up (designers) and say I like your clothes.
I always like clothes with a hidden drama—something that is a secret between the wearer and the person making it, or a little detail that is only known to me. Now I am mindful of what I buy, because I have a little daughter who is quite interested in clothes and dressing up. And she asks me – ‘Is that for me?’ So now, I buy less but I buy with the idea of preserving them for her when she grows up.
5. You're a mom of two and the pandemic must've been a roller coaster ride for you. Take us through it!
Supriya: Where do I even begin! Parenthood is like being on a treadmill that never stops. It only gains momentum. The pandemic has been tough on everyone—my kids have each other and they are not too far apart in age, so they systematically brought the house down. But they also kept us on our feet, ensuring that even while we were tearing our hair out, grinding our teeth, and having little heartbreaks everyday—they were our light that guided us through it all.
6. The lockdown also gave rise to a whole new category of in-between clothing. How has this period changed your perception of fashion in general?
Supriya: More than anything, the lockdown taught me to never ever take for granted the power and joy of dressing up pre-pandemic. In-between clothing is just that—in between. It ought to be a blimp, and never permanent. This time taught me to cherish the clothes I have been fortunate to own and long for creating new memories while wearing them.
7. Your style advice/favourite trends
Supriya: Clothes with a little bit of wit and whimsy. Details matter—it’s the little lines, the stripes, the way the fabric falls when you sit—like that denim dress by Lovebirds and always some amount of statement jewellery.