The Reigning Stars Of Street Style: Shyamli Panda | Verve Magazine
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July 14, 2018

The Reigning Stars Of Street Style: Shyamli Panda

Text by Sadaf Shaikh. Realisation by Ekta Rajani. Photographs by Uma Damle. Hair and Make-up by Kalpana Sharma and Rozar Lobo, from The Body Shop, New Delhi

Most of this artist’s ensembles are put together with an aim to reclaim public spaces in India….

A 30-year-old artist who takes great pride in being a creature of habit and routine, Shyamli Panda believes that her creativity stems from discontent and restlessness. A rebel of contradictory traits and personalities, her wardrobe is a juxtaposition of super feminine flowy dresses and masculine overcoats, monochrome separates and cherry-red blouses, and glam sequins and billowing lowers, although none of them come remotely close to making a statement the way her body art does. With a predisposition towards being anti-authority and anti-establishment, most of her ensembles are put together with an aim to reclaim public spaces in India. And you can find her sauntering down the streets of Delhi with the reckless abandon of her male counterparts.

How do your sartorial choices liberate you?
“For me, it’s worked the other way around. Since I change and evolve as often as I do, my personal style metamorphoses with me. Sometimes, I go from emo to ultra-feminine or even to casual beachwear on the streets within the span of one week and feel extremely comfortable in all of these looks. Since my clothes are in sync with how I feel, my personal style just reinforces who I am on that particular day and makes me feel powerful.”

My tattoos attract a lot of stares, so what I wear rarely makes a difference to how much attention I draw to myself. I don’t really care if people judge me based on what I’m wearing, how much skin I’m showing or if my top is too sheer; they are just nipples, get over it! As long as I can occupy the streets and corners of the cities in India with as much abandon as most men do, I feel strong and provocative.”

Would you say that you use your sense of style to change people’s perception of you?”
“No, I dress to impress myself. I am my harshest critic, so most of the time, I dress in a way that will make me love myself a little more.”

Who are your style inspirations?
“I consider myself a chameleon, so my influences vary from the musicians that I’m into, their muses, or the city that I live in. The way I dress is either a reaction to who’s around me or is inspired by them. As of now, my vibe is set by a lot of what I see on photographer Joseph Maddon and model Florence Baitio’s Instagram feed as well as the Yeezy and Fenty lines — I can’t get enough of them! One of my closest friends’ labels, Bravo Atelier, is on my wishlist of brands to own. Also, Huemn is putting out great work as a brand; the people there have really got it going on.”

Your own fashion thumb rule…
“Keep things weird. Keep things cute.”

A fashion staple that enhances your outfit…
“My combat boots and my eyeliner.”

Your signature style…
“A mix of revealing, body-hugging pieces paired with androgynous, oversized clothes. Something that plays with contrasting colours, textures and silhouettes. If it has sequins, it’s even better!”

How often do you step out of your comfort zone?
“I’ve been doing it more often lately. I’m always surprised by how it broadens my own perspective of what my body looks like, what looks good on me and how much more comfortable I feel in my own skin after a series of experiments.”

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