Digital content creator and model, Sakshi Sindwani is a proponent of body positivity in an industry, like fashion, where unrealistic expectations from models is a norm. In a world where everyone aspires to have a perfect body shape, and a size zero body type, Sindwani shows people how to embrace curves, flab, and cellulite through her social media handle stylemeupwithsakshi.
Creating an impact
In an era of social media where images with filters make celebrities and influencers look flawless, often make the youth fall prey to self-doubt, Sindwani aims at inspiring people to love their imperfections without conforming to the norms of society. She uses Instagram to recreate celebrity looks that allow you to emulate styles without the shadow of body image issues.
"Social media can be a place where you might start doubting yourself because maybe you don’t look like the other person. My aim is to not make anyone visiting my page feel like that, instead, to make them feel exactly the opposite. I want to show people that bigger body types don’t need to be restricted to certain stereotypical silhouettes. We can wear anything and everything with confidence and call it fashion. The key is positivity, confidence, and a feel-good attitude," Sindwani says.
Saindwani walked the ramp for celebrity fashion designer Manish Malhotra presenting his bridal collection called Nooraniyat, on Day 1 of the recently concluded India Couture Week 2021. Last year, she collaborated with actor Katrina Kaif to present festive makeup looks from Kaif's make-up brand Kay Beauty. She has also appeared on the cover of Harper's Bazar in 2019 making a strong case for inclusivity in fashion.
Fashion, stereotypes and self-love
Fashion found Sindwani in her childhood. "I was always this extravagant kid, who had her shit together. I knew the looks and styles that I wanted to go for. I have always been fashion-forward, and ahead of my time since I was a kid. As an extrovert, fashion was a way to express myself. So, not only did fashion find me, but it also saved me," Sindwani adds.
However, dealing with a body that doesn't match up to conventional norms of society isn't easy in our country. And, it wasn’t a cakewalk for Sindwani either. "I think the opinion that most people form of themselves is what people think of them. Other people's opinions definitely hamper our thoughts and how we feel about our bodies. Dealing with your body actually comes at a later stage. Once you have made peace with the fact that opinions should not define who you are and how you feel about your body, only then can you start changing the perspective and the thoughts about your own body," Sindwani explains. Another way she suggests is working on self-love and building yourself; your heart and body, and inner strength. "Building a shield around you so that unwarranted opinions don't reach you is a very difficult journey to undertake. It’s harder on some days and easier on some," she says. But one must persevere.
There is no final destination when it comes to self-love. Sindwani continues. "There is no place of absolute serenity and absolute self-love where you don't feel anything negative about your body. I don't think that's the goal, it's the process, which is harder and more important. I am trying to do it the other way round where I am building a shield around me where other people's opinions and stereotypes don't affect me so that I don't have to deal with them," she adds.
On the path to inclusivity
Sindwani, though believes that a lot is changing in terms of acceptance towards the concept of body positivity and self-love, we still have a long way to go. "We are talking about inclusivity and diversity a lot more now. Our smaller homegrown brands are really making a change. Even bigger designers and brands are doing so. I don’t think we have become completely body-positive and accepting of different body types yet. The standard Indian woman's body type is big and curvy. It's funny we didn’t go down that route before but there has been an active conversation for the last two years and we are definitely on the right path," she says. But at the same time the tokenism of having one plus-size model, one short-model, or one-skinny model in a fashion show needs to come to an end. According to her, brands that are nailing it with their body positivity campaigns and collections include Sabyasachi, Papa Don’t Preach, Gaurav Gupta, Vero Moda, and H&M.
Mantra for plus-size women with confidence issues
Love for homegrown brands
The fashion influencer has also worked with various homegrown brands such as Da-Seed, Label Sugar, K Anshika, More Than Shapes, and SHUSH, among others. "I am very happy with the kind of conscious efforts that homegrown brands and smaller brands are making with their photoshoots," Sindwani says,
Also, speaking of the urgent need to step away from fast fashion, Sindwani adds, "We need to care for our planet and move towards sustainable options. A lot of homegrown brands provide sustainable options where they even custom make your outfits, that fit the right size and body type. The kind of material they use lasts a very long time so you can hand these pieces down to generations."
All about colour
As far as the choice of colour is concerned, for Sindwani, it's about her mood, not something to be associated with a body type. ”If I want to look sexy and I feel like wearing a red smokey outfit, I'll wear that. If my version of feeling sexy is black or blue, then that’s what it is," she says. "There's nothing wrong with loving darker colours, they are flattering on all body types. On bigger body types they tend to be a little more flattering. If people are not comfortable wearing bright colours then it's completely their choice again. I don’t think you should associate colour with anything. If you feel good in wearing black or a bright red, go ahead," Sindwani explains.
Guide to wearing shapewear
The athleisure fashion trend
"You can absolutely style your athleisure for a date night or a night out. I think athleisure is such a mood and people should no longer wear it only to the gym. It's a way of life and if you want to be comfortable on the go, and still look cute there are millions of options available. With the right accessories and styling, you can totally take an athleisure look from day to night," Sindwani says talking about the athleisure trend
When it comes to celeb travel looks, Hailey Bieber tops her list of favourites. Others include Sonam Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Selena Gomez, Gigi Hadid, and Kendel Jenner.
- Swimwear: A sexy one-piece with a slightly deeper neck and something that flatters your waist and tapers at the smallest part of your waist. “I love a good black one-piece swimsuit, it's a signature must-have.
- High-waisted pants: If you are wearing black, skinny high-waisted pants, make sure that your top half is tucked in, so you highlight the smallest part of your waist. Or, wear something cropped which is a little oversized
- Skinny bottoms: If you are going skinnier with the bottoms, keep the top oversized, and vice versa.
- Accessories: Waist belts, corset belts are a favourite. With shoes, opt for flats, mules, heels, low-lying heels, block heels, white sneakers, slip-ons, and strappy heels. "I am taller, so I don’t like to wear super high thin pencil heels, that’s just not my vibe, but anything which is comfortable. Block heels, possibly a different shape like there are now round heels, diamond cuts heels; as long as they are comfortable," she adds.