If your style sensibilities are all about clean silhouettes, a subtle colour palette with a dash of contemporary, then you must look up Isha Borah on Instagram (if you haven’t already). The 33-year-old fashion content creator is a veritable influencer with an enviable 1.4 M followers — a figure many A-list celebrities crave for their Instagram profile.
Her journey on Instagram began right before the pandemic, when she would sporadically share her fashion content and videos. But a turn of events, where she was let go from her corporate job in the wake of the pandemic, opened the door to creating her unique fashion and style content full-time.
Borah’s influence is to peddle a refreshing and subtle fashion aesthetic that is meant for modern women who want to stay connected to their roots but not be overwhelmed by them. An ex-pat herself, based out of Singapore, Borah’s follower reach spans across the Indian diaspora in countries such as the USA, UK, Germany, New Zealand, Australia and most of Southeast Asia.
A glance at her social media feed will quickly tell you about Borah’s affinity for homegrown Indian brands with a keen focus on sustainability. In fact, it is a niche that she has carved for herself. “Buy less. Choose well. Make it last.” This quote by legendary fashion designer Vivienne Westwood defines Borah’s approach to fashion. As a result, you will find her mixing and matching existing pieces from her wardrobe to create new looks and styles.
We got a chance to connect with Borah to understand what and who inspires the young influencer.
1. How would you describe your style?
I would describe it as comfortable and chic. I try to infuse this mood in both Western and Indian wear.
2. What are some of the things one should keep in mind while building a stylish wardrobe without compromising on comfort?
There is a famous quote that goes ‘fashion comes and goes but style is forever’. This is something that one should always follow and keep in mind while curating a stylish wardrobe. Style is your own and you can tweak it however you like. Don’t just fall for fashion trends because social media applauds them. Take inspiration and create your own style which makes you distinct from others while also ensuring that it is comfortable.
3. What is the one fashion trend that you wish never comes back again?
I am all in for fashion comebacks but the one trend that I do not feel confident about is the trend of wearing extremely low-waist pants. I don’t think they should ever make a comeback!
4. What excites you about homegrown Make-In-India fashion?
I love the fact that most of them are so rooted in Indian tradition. And they have all somehow figured out what the Indian crowd prefers, which is amazing. Some of these brands are also very new to the market but the quality of products and designs produced is commendable. I hope they reach success not only in India but at a global level as well.
5. How can traditional Indian handlooms and textiles become savvy and Gen-Z-friendly?
I am always in awe of Indian handloom and textiles. The varied range of designs, patterns, textures, and motifs that are found across the length and breadth of India is mind-blowing. Every Indian state has its own distinct way of traditional dressing. Many top-notch designers, both in India and the West, take inspiration from Indian textiles and handloom and put the designs on local and global runways. So, I believe it's already savvy and Gen-Z-friendly when it comes to the design range. All it needs is a little bit more exposure, which I feel is already happening through social media.
6. Top fashion trends in 2023 that you are most excited about? And why?
- Minimalist wardrobe infusing more neutrals and pastels: Minimalist fashion with the use of neutral shades and pastels is all in and I am glad that these colours are in the forefront now. The idea is to evoke a basic look which gives a very appealing appearance without looking too drab. Plus neutrals like blacks, greys, and whites are so easy to complement with other colours.
- Indian wear in organza: Organza sarees, salwar suits, dresses, and lehengas with hand-painted designs were a rage in 2022. We have seen many celebrities wearing them for their events and airport looks. This trend, I believe, will still stand strong in 2023 and I am looking forward to experimenting more with it this year. The shimmery texture can immediately enhance the glam factor. You can wear an organza suit for a wedding or even for a casual day look because it's so versatile.
- Denims: Denims are back, and I am not complaining. The Y2K aesthetic is back with a bang. Denim on denim or long denim coats, skirts, and jackets will be in trend this year and I am really excited about it. You can wear them for a cool and casual look that is also super chic.
7. As a consumer, what does sustainable fashion mean to you?
Sustainable fashion is something that we all should practice whenever we can. I practice it with little habits like not using clothes or accessories made of fur. I also repeat my clothes and try my best to ensure that I don’t buy new clothes unnecessarily if I already have enough to sustain for a good amount of time. With the world slowly reeling under the ill effects of global warming, I believe it is important for us to play our part in not contributing more to it as much as we can and for things that we can control.
8. What can brands do to make sustainable fashion more approachable for consumers?
Brands can adopt a customer-friendly approach through easy-to-understand social media creatives and posts, collaborate with influencers and celebrities who can pass the message to a larger group of people, and ensure that the pricing is not too high so that it is affordable for all.
9. What is your opinion about these screen-based fashion trends such as from Emily in Paris, Wednesday and Euphoria?
I think it’s really cool if the sentiments revolve only around fashion trends. The dramatic eye make-up trend from Euphoria, the all-black aesthetic from Wednesday, and the super-stylish clothes from Emily in Paris took social media by storm and everyone had fun recreating these trends. If it’s all fun and games, I am all up for such fashion trends.
10. Which shows have impacted your style sensibilities and why?
Shows like Gossip Girl, Crash Landing On You, Schitt’s Creek, Sex and the City, Made in Heaven are some of the shows I draw my fashion inspiration from. These shows have characters who flaunt dramatic styles, couture, contemporary, chic-casuals, boho-look, and everything fashionable. So, when I want to look for inspiration to fuse with my style, I do go back to these series.
11. If you could style one fictional character, who would it be? And how would you style him/her?
I think it would be Raj from The Big Bang Theory. I know that the style he wears reflects very much with his personality in the show, but if I had a chance, I would make him look much dapper and sharp. I would probably dress him in well-fitting T-shirts and trousers with nice shoes. I would also blend his ethnicity into his style by mixing a bit of Indian wear with Western.