Wednesday, January 21, 2015

21 Days of Street Style: Day 13, Gurpreet, off 18th St

At the time of my shoot with her, Gurpreet, a long-time fashion blogger for Moda Ninja, had been living in Philadelphia for just over six weeks. She was still adjusting to the climate, but everything else, she said, was pretty easy to adapt to. "It's a beautiful city," she told me. "Everyone's so friendly. It's much better than New York." Plus, it sort of reminds her of her hometown of Pune, India. Pune, she explained, is about two hours outside of Mumbai, and people in Pune think about Mumbai almost exactly the same way Philadelphians think about New York. Mumbai is "like that city that doesn't sleep, and everybody is just moving around really fast." Pune, like Philly, is relatively laid back and calm. And it's a bit rougher around the edges than its larger metropolitan neighbor. Both Pune and Philadelphia define themselves in opposition to their big sister cities. Theirs is an identity defined in the negative. "So I feel very much at home now," she said. 

In these shots, Gurpreet is wearing over-the-knee boots from Aldo, a bag from Ralph Lauren, leggings from Macy's, a dress from H&M, an anorak from BCBGeneration, and a scarf from a thrift store in Pondicherry, India. "It's really easy to get a lot of thrifted stuff in India," she told me. The same is not true, however, for warm coats. She got hers here, along with the bag. Most of her accessories are from India. She just can't bring herself to buy them here, since she'll look at the tags and see "Made in India" on them. Better, she figures, to stock up on accessories during trips home and avoid the mark up here. She would prefer to buy local designers while in Philly. 

In regards to her own style, Gurpeet says, "I'm not a diva. I'm a fan of quirk and whimsy. I dress up with an attitude of 'I can,' which sometimes is reflected in my choice of accessories and hair color. I embraced my defective eyes, and hence was happy to wear my large prescription glasses everywhere, [even] before 'nerd' was a trend. I'm inspired by vintage and retro themes." 

Gurpreet's blog Moda Ninja, champions various Indian designers and brands. "The fashion scene in India is booming," she said, "and there are so many designers to love and like. I prefer investing in accessories than in outfits, so naturally I'm a fan of accessory designers like Eina Aluwalia. Her designs are contemporary yet have a classic feel. Mrinalini Chandra is a newbie with very quirky designs—[she] uses fish, flowers, and chairs in her jewelry! When it comes to apparel, no one compares to Sabyaschi and Manish Malhotra, who are like the Karl Lagerfeld and Tom Fords of traditional Indian design."

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