The Aashni+Co bridal exhibition took London’s Dorchester Hotel by storm over the weekend. Hundreds of soon to be brides descended on Park Lane for the annual show which featured a number of designers who flew in to the capital to help brides make that all important decision.
Over the weekend, The Hoxton was host to the Shoreditch Fashion Weekender, which featured a stylish collaboration between Indian couture label, Soltee by Sulakshana Monga, and premium jewellery brand, Red Dot Jewels. Partnering with Asian Circle, 10% of sales was pledged to help marginalised women in remote parts of Asia.
Fashion and charities are not two industries you would naturally place together but it seems that they are finding creative ways to work together for mutual benefits. Featuring items from the Intrinsic Beauty collection, Monga’s rich collection transcend the boundaries of seasonal trends in favour of an experimentation with aesthetics, which worked hand in hand with Red Dot Jewels’ colourful and traditionally styled accessories from their Pink City collection.
From earrings, to elaborate necklaces and even a very bold earcuff, visitors were spoiled with choices.
What also made this weekend event one of a kind is the underlying purpose that sales generated would have a positive effect. This wasn’t forced in the slightest, which made the entire experience a very natural and relaxing one. Representatives from both Red Dot Jewels and Soltee were on hand to talk more about their respective items for sale and made a warm effort to engage with visitors.
Speaking with Santosh, from the partnering charity Asian Circle said: “Asian Circle is part of a bigger organisation called The Circle, which is working with marginalised women around the world. Asian Circle itself is focusing on South Asia. We’re quite new into this area so we’ve set a programme up in India working on prevention of violence and we’ve chosen a small group of people out there called the Adivasi aborigines of India and they are the marginalised of the marginalised. What we hope to do is work with these women and help improve their lives through education on the violence they’re experiencing.
“We’re putting shelters in place in police stations for these women so they can actually go in and get some help, counselling and medical help. Another big aspect of this programme is to educate the men. These are patriarchal societies and we want to work with the men there who have seen how women have been treated and believe it’s part and parcel of the culture. We want them to understand that women are not there to be beaten nor be the doormat of the family. So for that we’re working with the local tribal lawmakers and we’re also working with small schools in these areas. We’re talking to the girls and boys about what they’re seeing in their homes not being right either.”
A complete world away from London, being able to provide education to remote areas where mainstream media never focuses on is enough reason to have more collaborations like the Shoreditch Fashion Weekender.
It’s not everyday you get invited behind the scenes at a lookbook shoot for an established Asian fashion designer. Shalini Gupta Patel of Red Dot Jewels extended a kind invite to a sneak peak at her upcoming collection called White Mughals.
“This came about from a book by William Dalrymple where a British dignitary falls in love with a Hyderabadi princess so it’s all about that fusion between Western and Asian culture, which is very relevant for British Asians”, Shalini explained.
It isn’t uncommon to see a fusion of west and east when it comes to Asian fashion particularly for a western market. However basing a collection around a particular piece of literature hones in on a specific time in history where South Asian fashion trends were unlike the kind we see in the current marketplace.
By reinventing fashion during this era and completing a look with colourful jewellery – and hair and make up by Bashy – Red Dot Jewels achieved glamour with an air of regality.
The company was started three years ago after Shalini’s nine year career in IT.
“Like most young Asian girls growing up, I loved Asian fashion. I try and travel to India every year and buy clothes and jewellery there,” Shalini explained. The current jewellery market consists of two extremes; real gold, authentic stones that are at the highest end of the price scale and everyday imitation jewellery that can be found on the high street.
In order to compliment luxury designers like Tarun Tahiliani, there needed to be a meeting point where jewellery still reflected exquisite design and detail, but for a fraction of the price. This is where Red Dot Jewels provided a solution.
“I’ve always loved gemstones and diamonds and wanted to take that a bit further. We did a few trial exhibits for people we knew in the industry and got some incredible feedback. After that, I quit my job, travelled to India and spent some time finding the ideal workshops that would produce the work I wanted done. I often go out there and whilst I do design the collection, I have a team out there that I work with to develop concepts.”
Being inspired by literature makes for a beautiful collection, but what about other pockets of inspiration?
“I think anyone in the creative industry is inspired by several aspects of day to day life whether it’s buildings, something you eat or an outfit you see. I recently went to the V&A and came away buzzing with ideas. There are so many design elements within the V&A such as showing the first telephone to exploring what luxury means. You get get inspiration from anywhere.”
Their extensive range currently available on their online store may still be quite a stretch for some, but it is definitely far more affordable and accessible than top tier jewellers. Designed strategically, several items can be worn with both traditional Asian and western clothing. Versatility is an important factor when investing in jewellery and Red Dot Jewel’s behind the scenes shoot of their White Mughals collection exhibits this perfectly.
June is proving to be a very eventful month with some equally exciting dates to keep in your diary. Eager to incorporate more in the way of homeware and interiors – it’s lifestyle after all – there are a couple of exciting events coming up all focused on beautifying your home.
Nominations are now open for the Asian Media Awards and as the blog has been up and running for a bit, I thought it would be good to test waters and submit a nomination for this year’s Best Blog category. If you’ve enjoyed the content, interviews and ramblings, then please do take a moment to submit an entry on behalf of Habibi Lifestyle. It would mean the absolute world! Other than that, see below for some more important dates for your diary.
HOUSE – in association with House and Garden | 17 – 20 June, 2015 | Olympia, London
A curated collection of prestigious, leading and emerging house brands and specialists in a showcase of style, design and decoration at London’s House event dedicated to providing inspiration and ideas for every room. Visitors can source the latest trends and shop for statement pieces with an array of exhibitors to choose from. Interior design enthusiasts will not want to miss the opportunity to peruse the likes of April Russell and Graham & Green. A must see feature of the event will be THE HOUSE, also designed by April Russell. A spectacular showpiece house feature, presenting a collection of designed living spaces, both inside and out, curated and presented by Russell, a leading interior design studio based in London and New York.
More info and tickets: http://house.events/
SPIRIT OF SUMMER FAIR |17 – 20 June, 2015 | Olympia, London
In addition to your HOUSE tickets, visitors will gain entry to the Spirit of Summer Fair, which brings even more independent boutiques and trend setting designer makers, in addition to some of the finest brands in the UK. Discover beautiful interiors, garden and decorative accessories, striking fashion pieces and children’s clothing, all alongside original summer gifts and artisan food and drink. Perfect for a summer overhaul.
AASHNI + CO PRESENTS: A SUMMER FAIR | 20 June, 2015 | 11am – 6pm | The Dorchester, London
Aashni + Co are back with an exclusive, summer season extravaganza. The unmissable exhibition/ trunk show will curate latest collections by some of the most sought after names in high fashion and accessories, namely Anushree Reddy, Rose Room Couture and Amishi luxury handbags and jewellery. Held at the Park Suite at the Dorchester, the picturesque Mayfair backdrop is the perfect location to shop for elegantly and effortlessly designed garments. Entry is free, however RSVPing is encouraged. Simply email firstname.lastname@example.org
NOMINATIONS ARE OPEN FOR THE ASIAN MEDIA AWARDS
After last year’s stellar award ceremony packed with the best in Asian entertainment, PR and journalism, the Asian Media Awards is back again this year with nominations now open. If youenjoy reading this blog, a nomination for the Best Blog category would be massively appreciated. Held in Manchester last year, the ceremony was a tremendous nod to all of the work being achieved by Asians within the entertainment, PR and journalism industries. From celebrating YouTube sensations to acknowledging the world of radio, the Asian Media Awards took the time to give each media-based channel the time it deserved and a platform to inspire and motivate others who are considering a career within this competitive field. Closing date for nominations is 5pm, 28 August, 2015.
You can check out last year’s highlights, read more about the categories being covered and submit your nominations here:
NOMINATIONS ARE OPEN FOR THE ASIAN ACHIEVERS AWARDS
The Asian Achievers Awards recognises the outstanding work from individuals from across all businesses and professions within the Asian community and acknowledge the accomplishments of the finest in the UK’s Asian community. You can now submit your nominations for this year’s awards. Nomination deadline is 21 July, 2015. Along with Business Person of the Year, you can also nominate individuals for the Media, Arts and Culture award as well as International Personality of the Year. More details on the awards, further categories and the nomination form can be found on the official website.
When it comes to Asian wedding season – yes there is such a thing – you can bet any money that bridal shows will leave even the most independent woman slyly snapping a couple of pics for “inspiration.”
Asiana pulled out all the stops once again and held their annual Bridal Show at the Lancaster Hotel in London last weekend. Adorning every twist and turn were intricately designed gowns, jaw dropping decor and show stopping cakes.
For most of these exhibitions, the fashion show is well and truly the highlight for most visitors. However for me it was all about meeting the exhibitors, speaking to them about their venture, how they got started and what it means when they’re apart of someone’s special day.
Asiana have pulled together some familiar faces but also some new businesses who bring with them fresh, exhilarating offers that no doubt set trends alight within the Asian wedding sector.
BIBI London, Kyles Collection, Ziggi Menswear and Mehzabeen were there representing the best in Asian bridal-wear and jewellery. A common thread amongst the designers was the flexibility to adapt and tailor your dream wedding dress to your taste. Whether you’re changing the colour, lengthening or shortening, the designers and owners of the brands exhibiting were on hand for one to one talks and suggestions on how to achieve that ideal wedding gown.
Decor has a very special role to play in any wedding. It sets a scene, creates a buzz and ambiance. It takes real talent and creative flair to interpret and produce a truly memorable setting. Spectrum, Zara’s and Maz Events blew me away with their displays at the Bridal Show. Without delving into my thesaurus to describe just how decadent they were, I’ll let the following pictures do the talking.
Spread across a few floors of the Lancaster it really was a well thought out exhibition with surprises at every twist and turn. Will couples planning to marry find this exhibition useful? Absolutely. And even if you’re not getting married, there’s no harm in exploring what the Asian wedding market has to offer.