My interview with Bandana Twari, the fashion feature director of Vogue India

7:29 PM Dowy 0 Comments

As I mentioned in my previous post, I had the honor of interviewing Bandana Twari, the fashion feature director of Vogue India during Ramadan Caravan at Harvey Nichols Riyadh. I’ll leave you with the interview.

Tell me about yourself? What are your interests beside fashion?
My interest other than fashion, I love reading! If you come to my house you can see wall-to-wall books. I collect coffee table books on every weird topic you can think of from fashion and fascism to the history of lingerie to my favorite artist james turrell retrospective, I mean it just goes on and on.. I used to really enjoy painting, but I stopped. Other than that you know that I’m a single mom, I have an 11-year-old daughter so I’m very busy juggling school and work. And then of course I love traveling. I travel a lot for work, and when I do I make sure that I stay back a couple of days to discover the country.

 How did you get into the fashion industry? And since when?
I got into the fashion industry not very long back! Vogue has been around for 7 years and I’ve been with them for 7 years I may have worked in fashion a year, or a maximum of 2 years before that. So I’ve been less than 10 years in the fashion industry, but I think because I live in India and the market is just developing now that it’s easy to be a big fish in a small pond so I think I was very lucky to have started writing about fashion at time when it wasn’t been written about, in a sort of academic analytical way.
Photo credit: M3alima
What did you do before vogue?
I’m a trained filmmaker, but I couldn’t join Bollywood because I was trained in a vey different sort of European cinema, which is extremely different than Bollywood. So I joined discovery channel thinking that I could be able to make documentaries but then again, I couldn’t make documentaries in discovery channel because it’s a new American company in India and the opportunities didn’t come to young local people. So I used to read the scripts in the database. I read a lot of documentaries scripts and I’ve found four phenomenal scripts on fashion, fashion and gender, fashion and rebellion, fashion and politics, fashion and music, I mean they were all very strong associations with popular culture, politics, and the state of economy and I was fascinated to think that fashion had an impact within this world or that the economy could have an impact on fashion. It was such a fascinating world for me, so I start myself in fashion and I started writing for different magazines and newspapers till vogue came in. And I’ve been in Vogue since the start, which will be 8 years this October.

  What do you do at vogue magazine? Tell me about your position?
My official title is fashion feature director, which is whatever is written about fashion pretty much has to go through me. Either I’m editing stories or I’m commissioning stories to different writers form different parts of world. Editing my own team’s work, and writing my own stories and that’s where my job gets really interesting because then I travel the world chasing stories in Paris, Milan, New York, and even locally, I’ll be traveling and chasing stories inside India.

My team and I come up with the ideation, the themes for the magazine to be implemented. What’s our 6th issue is going to be about, what’s our 7th issue, and so on..

Photo credit: M3alima
 My dream job is to work for Vogue magazine, so tell me more of what’s it like to work for Vogue?
The world of vogue is very exciting, very inspiring because there are so many vogues in so many countries, vogue Korea, vogue China, vogue Mexico and vogue Portugal, you name it. I mean there are 25 countries that make vogue, you realize that how incredibly similar and at the same time how dissimilar women are around the world, but its the dissimilarities that actually get me.

Vogue opens up doors in a way I don’t see many publishing houses can. It makes the world magical, you’re going to fashion shows and meeting incredible photographers and stylists not to mention designers, and the personalities in the business and lifestyle completely energizes inspires you. Every time you meet these super talented people who created inspiring businesses based on one vision of creativity so it’s very inspiring to work on a day-to-day level at Vogue Magazine.

Describe the fashion industry in India?
Fashion in India in many ways I see it, even in little that I’ve seen, is over the top decorative styling, which is very much part of our culture because we weren’t born minimalist. We’re born maximalist and that’s our DNA.

What have a very strong fashion industry, which I love. We have 2 fashion weeks that are big for us that happen in both Bombay in Delhi, and features the best of our designers.

Vogue India does a great job keeping India the forefront of the magazine. We support a lot of Indian designers, you see international designers side by side with Indian designers. So if you ever pick up a Vogue India it will give you a very good idea of what’s going on in the country, concerning fashion, right now.

Photo credit: M3alima
What do you think of fashion in Saudi?
First of all let me tell you, just by seeing everyone’s abaya you’d think that everyone is just wearing black, then you start settling your gaze and your eyes and you start noticing the little details. Someone got a little crochet, other one got ruffles, etc. It’s stunning seeing even within the black dress code, women differentiated themselves. That’s with the abayas. And then of course when I met the ladies in the evening without the abayas, HOW CHIC! SO CHIC! Not just chic, but also so experimenting. But they don’t just dress well, but also are very well mannered. I felt charmed by the graciousness of Saudis. So it’s not just clothes, it’s how Saudi women carry themselves, which is really beautiful and elegant.

Thank you Bandana for your precious time, and it was really an honor to have met you and I hope we could meet again in the future!

Photo credit: M3alima