Meher Varma | delhi fashion week

meher verma
Meher Varma. Anthropologist/Fashion writer.

What do you do and where did you grow up?
I’m a graduate student and an anthropologist in the making. I grew up in lots of different places — Dhaka, Hong Kong, Beijing, LA, NY, Kodai, DC.

What’s the best thing about constantly moving?
It opens your mind. You are constantly re-introduced to new people and you have to reinvent yourself all the time. Things are temporary, there is a sense of influx, it prepares you for the world.

I am going to ask you a question that I am asked often: What do you think about Indian fashion?
When someone asks me this question I always ask them what do they mean by it and I twist it to ‘What do you think about fashion in India?’ Indian fashion as Indian fashion is very restrictive and we should see it as fashion in India.

I think fashion in India is a lens to see what’s happening in the country on a larger level. Without talking about all of the other things like class, modernity, economy, social/political issues we can not talk about fashion in India. When we say where is fashion in India going we are actually asking where India is going.

How did you get interested in writing about fashion?
I sensed a serious lack of analytical writing about clothes, designers, and the industry. I think clothes are never just clothes, they’re always elucidating something else. So with a background in anthropology, which gives me the tools for deep analysis, I thought fashion was a perfect subject to start asking some very tough questions and writing about them.

I’m interested in writing about fashion only as long as it elucidates something else about the world. My phD dissertation in anthropology is an example of this. I’m looking at the cultural industry of New Delhi based fashion designers as a lens to look into large issues like changing ideas of gender and class.

Do you have a favourite film?
I have watched Almost Famous 86 times. I liked the theme — crisis of fame, and the soundtrack.

Photographed at fashion week in Delhi. 2013

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