The Evolution Of Musician Tipriti Kharbangar’s Sartorial Sense | Verve Magazine
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May 11, 2018

The Evolution Of Musician Tipriti Kharbangar’s Sartorial Sense

Text by Sadaf Shaikh

We speak to the vocalist and guitarist of blues rock band Soulmate about creating an onstage persona that does justice to the genre…

How has your journey as an Indian female blues artist been?
“When Soulmate was formed and we started playing the blues, it was not a widely known genre in India. The journey was tough, not only because I was a woman, but because I was a woman in a band that played the blues. I’m glad it’s not that way anymore and Indians have actually started enjoying the genre a lot.”

Tell us about your sartorial journey since you first started out…
“I can’t quite remember what I wore to my first-ever performance or even why I wore it, for that matter. All I can recall is that I’d dress up quite funkily and never repeated an outfit while I was on tour. Now that I’m older, my style has evolved and there definitely are outfits that I consciously steer clear of. It’s not about the style anymore, it’s more about comfort and as a performer that takes precedence over everything else since I I don’t want that my clothes to jeopardise the way I perform.

We usually see female musicians like Monica Dogra and Kavya Trehan with an identifiable fashion aesthetic while performing — usually an exaggerated version of their personal style, which one doesn’t encounter as consistently with men. As female performers, we like to look good on stage because it adds to our stage presence. Live performances are a visual and aural experience, but I firmly believe that we don’t have to dress in a way that takes away from our talent or makes us forget what we’re there for. ”

You don’t have a specific “look” associated with your onstage persona; it seems like you wear what your mood dictates. Is this a deliberate choice?
“Again, it’s all about comfort. For example, I wanted to switch things up a little on International Women’s Day so I put on a pair of heeled boots. Right before I was scheduled to go on stage, I took them off because I realised that I wouldn’t be able to jam effectively and play the guitar at the same time. That day, I played barefoot and that was actually empowering in its own way.

I usually try to adapt my style to the venue or the mood I’m in, on a particular day. Fortunately, I’ve never had to perform while dressed in a way I wasn’t comfortable with and I don’t think I ever will.”

As a female blues artist, do you feel pressured to dress a certain way to exude the kind of mystery that is often associated with your genre?
“The blues are an honest interpretation of my emotions so when it comes to dressing up, it’s all about my state of mind. That being said, I do carry 2-3 extra outfits to indulge the caprice that is part and parcel of being in the creative industry.”

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