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“My First Style Icon Is My Mother,” Says Dia Mirza

Bollywood actor and UNEP Goodwill Ambassador Dia Mirza talks about leading a sustainable lifestyle and playing muse to designer Sanjeev Marwaha.

Geetika Sachdev

Two decades ago, a confident and charming Hyderabad girl won countless hearts by winning the coveted Asia-Pacific beauty pageant. She was none other than Bollywood actress Dia Mirza, who even today makes us swoon over her grace, grit and gorgeous persona. Her first outing on the big screen was Rehnaa Hai Terre Dil Mein, and ever since, she has appeared in blockbusters like Lage Raho Munnabhai, Sanju, Parineeta, Sanju and Thappad. Dia also appeared in the web series Kaafir, and started a production house, One India Stories, both in 2019.

Versatile and vivacious, Dia dabbles several roles today — that of a producer, the UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador, and the United Nations Secretary-General Advocate for Sustainable Development. Sustainability is not just a buzzword for her; Dia walks the talk in every way. It even extends to her sartorial choices that reflect her true personality and effortless charm, and that’s why we love her!

We recently caught up with Dia, on the sidelines of the Bombay Times Fashion Week 2021, where she played muse to designer Sanjev Marwaaha. In a candid chat, she revealed all about her sustainable lifestyle, and much more.

Edited excerpts:

I loved Sanjev Marwaaha’s collection — I loved the fact that he used Indian textile and handicraft. Luscious Indian palette, rich Indian textiles along and an authentic revival of exquisite handwork formed the key narrative of his collection. The silhouettes are perfect for the new-age intimate wedding and festive celebrations, and it completely resonates with me.

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I think we should all learn to celebrate less. Try and keep the decor minimal, and make as many sustainable choices as you can, even when it comes to the things you use. I think it is important to practice the five R’s: Refuse, Reuse, Recycle, Repair and Restore. Buy local and seasonal, whether it is fruits or vegetables, or garments. Anything that is local and seasonal is more sustainable. 

I have far too many. I think India is shining when it comes to sustainable fashion. There are so many wonderful designers in the country who are working towards sustainability, using Indian textiles, and empowering local artisans. There’s a lot of good work happening today. If you want to be sustainable in your fashion choices, try and pick apparel that is crafted from natural fabric and uses natural dyes, and where even detailing of tags and buttons is natural. The best part is so many local designers are doing it today, and they are easily accessible.

The best way to be sustainable is to consume less.

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I grew up wanting to emulate my mother, and I think most young girls do that. I always wanted to be like her. The first style icon in my life was my mother. 

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The Bollywood actor and UNEP goodwill ambassador walked the ramp for designers Abraham and Thakore. The fabric used to create the design she donned was made by recycled PET bottles.
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Dia made for a classic bride wearing a Raw Mango red Banarasi sari for her wedding day. 
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For the recent Champions of Change Awards, Dia chose to wear a hand-painted Kalamkari Banarasi silk sari.
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Last Diwali, Dia opted to celebrate the festival in a citrine zari, handwoven linen sari by Anavila Misra and paired it with a blouse in a similar hue.
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Understated elegance is what best describes this picture of Dia in a handwoven muslin cotton jamdani sari with blue, grey and white polka dots.
Photo: Bombay Times Fashion Week 2021, FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week, and Instagram/Dia Mirza
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