By Shweta Raj Kanwar
“Every day is a fashion show and the world is the runway”: Coco Chanel
From students to teachers, daughters to mothers, sons to fathers, every Shillongite reside in them a sense of style, a fashion and a way of life, which is very ecstatically reflected on the attire of each and every one of them.
From traditional to the very fond Southeast Asian to the twerky Western waves, the streets of Shillong present a mix and match of a fusion of fashion convergence that truly makes the Rock Capital stand out in terms of ‘Street Style’.
“Fashion is a way of presenting oneself, a reflection of the inner personality. Style should be natural, something that speaks who you are”, says Becca, twenty one from NIIT, Shillong.
Street style in Shillong has never been a boring, monotonous affair for with each passing Shillongite, you get a wave of style that speaks volumes about the person. To be more precise, street fashion in Shillong has seen an array of evolutionary phases. Earlier, the Southeast Asian style was a craze amongst youths in Shillong. Also referred to as the ‘Korean wave’, the likes of the popular Korean drama, ‘Boys over Flowers’ could be found in almost every nook and corner of Shillong streets.
An observant like the self in here can never ever get bored of wandering on the streets for the city streets look more like a runway with boys and girls emitting the ‘oomph’ vibes all over the place that you cannot help but stand there and admire the place where you belong to.
As Christopher Shangpliang, twenty one from St. Edmunds’ College aptly puts it, “your personality should reflect fashion, it is all about who you are”, he says.
But, fashion does require effort. Well, it is not always an easy affair; after all, it is a depiction of the inner self. It is an affair of the inner self with the outer presentation. It is an affair between you and your wardrobe; hence, you always wish your other half to be the best, just like yourself.
“Whenever I have to decide on what I wear, I try to pick up something that looks good on me”, says Christopher. My hair and the shaving job takes most of my time for the face is the first impression that a person can leave someone with”, he smilingly adds.
However, the Shillongites seem to be very particular about the situation which they are dealing with when dressing up, as S. Andrew Shabong accurately points out, “style for me is situational. Before dressing up, I try to analyze the situation and then choose my attire accordingly”, he adds. Now, is that not some sort of expert advice.
However, not all Shillongites compromise comfort for fashion. Comfort is an important aspect of Shillong Street Style. “Style is comfort, the ability of putting things at ease while keeping it stylish, how easily you reflect your personality through the fashion that you imbibe,” says Lalfelpuii Chhangte, 19 from St. Marys’ College, Shillong.
“You do not really need an occasion to be stylish, for style is initiated the very moment you begin to adopt some of it in your life, in any way, that may or may not reflect in an obvious manner”, opines Swastika Kower, 21 of Happy Valley, Shillong.
Again, it may be noted that style in Shillong is not all about the branded stuff and expensive collections. Speaking to Sunday Shillong, youths have confessed on picking anything they like, any outfit that they feel looks good on them, something that makes them feel good about themselves as Lydia, seventeen from St. Marys’ College, Shillong puts it, “ fashion makes you happy and cheerful. It fills you with positive vibes”, she adds.
However, being a fashionista as Shillongites are, every day is not a cake-walk for youths to dress up and show themselves up effortlessly. Each and every day is a battle, a battle of opinions of self as well as with others on the very obvious question: “What should I wear today?” and the only possible conclusion being drawn out on looking at that ever-so-unsatisfactory wardrobe and sighing, “I seriously have no clothes to wear!”.
The everyday dilemma on ‘what to wear/not to wear’ is, however easily tackled by these fashion cults, although with much ado. “Choosing what to wear everyday is usually a daunting task”, says Stella, seventeen from St. Marys’ College, Shillong. “every day, I stand near the wardrobe to pick up on the day’s attire, make a great deal of fuss about things, get feedbacks from my cousins and friends and finally, the first opinion is usually what I stick to”, adds Stella.
It is worthy to note that the Shillong street style has witnessed a kind of a revolution in the past few years. Style is not only about what you wear, it is more of what you feel and this is what is importantly manifesting itself in the attire selection as well as the style and basically a way of life of the Shillongites.
From nerdy stylish geek wear to the exciting floral dresses, the sporty look to the desi attire, the Korean fashion followers to the elegant western dresses to the traditional Jainsems and dharas, street style in Shillong is like a multi-coloured rainbow wherein the more you analyse and observe the pattern, the more lost you will be within the depths of its periphery.
Talking to the Sunday Shillong, some street stylers confessed on idolizing on their favorite television personalities and seeking inspiration from them on how to dress up, or most importantly, on how to be comfortable yet fashionable. However, many also stressed upon the influence of internet and various pages in the social networking sites like Facebook or Instagram, that stress on the importance of style and the need to look stylish at all times.
With easy access to the internet, the hairstyle tutorials, dress up games, make-up tutorials and the likes, it will not be wrong to say that the Fashion police in Shillong are likely to be jobless for they have nobody to watch over and criticize.
An important phenomenon, however, that guides the Shillongites is a way of life and the incorporation of fashion to suit themselves. It is all about being happy in your own skin, not comparing yourself with anybody but rejoicing who you are and making it all better for yourselves.
Well, this unending love-affair between Shillongites and fashion is something to rejoice about for a smile can enlighten a million hearts and a smile is what fashion makes us do. And by the way, what could be better than wearing a smile from head-to-toe! For happiness is contagious. As fashion is more about dressing according to what’s fasionable. Style is more about being yourself!
As Coco Chanel rightly uttered, “ I don’t do Fashion, I am Fashion” – something which I guess fits well with Street style in Shillong.
(This is one of those articles that have been published in The Shillong Times as part of its feature edition called The Sunday Shillong)