Out of the Closet | Malika V Kashyap

Malika V. Kashyap seems at ease wearing her grandmother’s sari in a drape shorter than the ones we usually see. “It is how women in Uttarakhand wear it and is wonderfully comfortable," she says, turning around to show the pleats at the back. Fashion has always been a part of Kashyap’s life. Born and raised in Montreal, Canada, she worked there in the retail department of Filippa K as brand manager and later with Tommy Hilfiger in India as national retail operations manager. Now based in Bangalore, Kashyap, 31, moved away from retail to set up Border&Fall, an online fashion portal, in January. She says it democratizes fashion content by giving a voice to new and emerging designers. The portal also showcases the wardrobes of distinctively stylish people. We spoke to Kashyap about her personal style and her unusual wardrobe. Edited excerpts:

How do you define your personal style?

A men’s kediyu from Kutch that Kashyap had done in linen. Photo: Malika V Kashyap.

What are your wardrobe favourites?

A necklace made by her brother. Photo: Malika V Kashyap.
A necklace made by her brother. Photo: Malika V Kashyap.

Do you experiment a lot with the drapes?

I love the versatility of the sari and am very fond of wearing it short without a petticoat. I have always experimented, but since I discovered the book Saris—Tradition And Beyond by Rta Kapur Chishti, it opened up many possibilities. I am comfortable with five or six drapes and am waiting to try a few more, especially a nine-yard drape. My current favourite is this drape from Uttarakhand. It is short, has pleats at the back, which makes it easier to walk, and pairing it with T-shirts or waistcoats makes sense to me, as it then becomes something I can wear everywhere. The sari I am wearing is my grandmother’s—a silk cotton.

What about logo bags and luxury brands? Do you like them or do they clutter your style?

I am fond of well-crafted pieces that have a sense of design integrity. Visible logos are not aspirational to me. That said, I do own pieces by luxury brands that understand logos are better on the inside, if at all.

How do you style regular ‘churidar-kurtas’?

Jutis from Lajpat Nagar and evening shoes from Giorgio Armani. Photo: Malika V Kashyap.
Jutis from Lajpat Nagar and evening shoes from Giorgio Armani. Photo: Malika V Kashyap.

What kind of jewellery do you choose to wear?

The only piece of jewellery I wear every day is my gold wedding band it’s visually humble, yet extravagant in its implication. My favourite jewellery pieces are those with a sense of history, mostly ones my family used to wear, such as my brother’s ring, anything from my mom and the heirlooms from my in-laws. I am also fond of en Inde jewellery—it’s urban, tribal, modern, Indian and fierce, all at once.

How did Border&Fall come together?

Border&Fall came together to address a large and often neglected part of the fashion industry. It is a place to learn about incredibly talented people and view their workspaces and processes. The heart and soul of the site is our monthly journal, where industry contributors share their honest and intimate reflections on a theme. The Wardrobes capture the rapidly changing sensibilities of how we are dressing in India and I personally love the process of meeting and photographing all the individuals we feature. Moreover, Border&Fall is also a consultancy; we work with designers and retailers on various projects.

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