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    Dated : Saturday, March 18, 2017
 


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A Wrinkle-Free Work Life with TLL

Many a time, we come across a lot of graphics of women with multiple hands like Goddesses, resembling multiple tasks. It is not hard to believe that the very concept of multi-tasking evolves from the way women handle things in streamlining their own life and that of the family’s. Be it a home-maker or an office-goer, no woman is actually spared from a plethora of things that they need to on a daily basis. Imagine this in case of an office-goer: morning activities, household chores, office work, some more pending work (to be done at home), family’s demand, social life and much more. Totally, tied-up!

While a woman is running around the house to cook the breakfast, set the children’s bags, and what not, the issue to get ready for her own office always sets her forehead with with wrinkles. What to wear and what not to wear, is the biggest dilemma that they go through every day, but what adds to it is the preparation of attire, ironing them and setting them all to look neat, flawless and smart, which is time consuming, especially during the morning hours. And, getting ready for work for women, isn’t as simple as getting ready for shopping or anything else as a lot of factors creep in, like whether it looks decent and disciplined, not provoking, well set, and looks professional. Above all, your attire is a reflection of your personality. It can make or mar your impression. This is why, a lot of organization advise their employees to do power-dressing, so that their self confidence is boosted.

The best part is, The Luxury Label (TLL) has come up with a dress-up solution for working women, that turns their life easy, and helps them relax in the day-to-day hustle bustle. TLL is the brainchild of Nazia Erum, a TEDx Speaker and a pure Assamese woman. She has a range of formal collections that have created numerous fusions of ethnic and western formals to enhance the comfort. It offers Anti-Wrinkle Clothing.

Yes, you got it right, these clothes are not just crease free but will also leave you wrinkle free without having an anti-wrinkle cream. It eases your stress to get yourself ready for the office. Be free from worries and chase your dreams without worrying much about your clothes. Let’s hear from her how she did it:

Tell us about your life before you invented yourself.

I was born and brought up in the Oil town, Jorhat, Assam. I studied in Mount Carmel School, and Army Public School (Guwahati), till standard 7 and 10, respectively. I studied Journalism in Delhi University and went on to work in the development sector and the United Nations.

Since you are born and brought up in Assam, how would you describe the impact of your native place on your learning experience?

My birth place has a deep impact on my learning experience. We used to live on the outskirts of Jorhat in the OIL campus, shielded from the world outside. But that made me inquisitive about the world beyond. My gardener would get me a Lotus flower every year on my birthday and I would ask him to show me the pukhari (the pond) where he got them from. I was always curious to know more about the world and explore the opportunities it renders.

Jorhat, as a city, was the melting pot of the middle class academia. There were kids from RRL, agricultural university, engineering colleges, TOCKLAI, Army, Air force, ONGC, and OIL.

My classroom had children from different streams of  educated families. I remember, once a classmate was trying to correct our teacher that his mother's name was 'Dr Saikia' and not just 'Mrs Saikia'. We were very young that time, and the pride in his voice left me with the will to do something in life so my kids would also have a similar pride in their mother's work. I have always been surrounded by strong, educated and independent women, in Assam,which was something starkly absent in the small town middle class of northern India during my childhood.

Later, when we shifted to Guwahati, Ajanta Chowdhury, a teacher from Army school with her impeccable grace and diction left a deep impact on my younger years. She was also a newsreader at Doordarshan. She used to go to DD after school hours to pursue her dreams. She was an exemplary example of "the will to do something you want to" while multi-tasking. This had a huge imprint on my mind. The opportunity of coming across such role models early in my life, I believe, has led me to a never settle for anything less than what I was capable of, kind of attitude.

Your life has taken different shifts in different times, offering you opportunities to reinvent yourself. Tell us about the fringes of each phase that pushed you to take a switch.

I pursued different streams of communication, media governance and journalism in my College life, but on the brinks of joining a news television, I shifted to the non governmental sector. At the outset, this was a weird decision, but I followed my instincts. Having worked closely with the news sector after having launched a startup while still in college, I wanted to gain experience in the work at the grassroots level.  

In my first year, I worked on a proposal for the United Nations and won the grant and led a team of 30 on a countrywide study. The learning curve was extremely sharp. I multitasked between research, camera, writing and design.  Two years of hard work gave birth to my first book, 'Closer to ground' for the United Nations.

Then came various jobs that took me across the world, including being the youngest at the Global Fund Board meeting in Geneva.

After having my first child, I took a break from work, but right after I launched The Luxury Label: the first exclusive Indian Workwear Brand for women. I was looking for a go-to clothing brand that would give me options in wrinkle-free, fuss free, polished tailoring and easy care - all the things that any modern, well-travelled and working Indian women who never any, would want.

Tell us about the emergence of The Luxury Label (TLL).

As an entrepreneur in the business of empowering women through what they wear, my interest lies in clothing and how it affects our daily lives. Different meanings are associated with clothing, like successful or mediocre; professional or sloppy; all of this decide what we choose to wear or what we don't. So, every morning when you stand in front of the mirror, you pick out clothes based on what you don't want to look like on that day. This process usually takes a toll on every woman. And, it's a Herculean task that gets over their mind. Well, to give this situation a solution, I came up with my start-up.

The Luxury Lable or TLL (power-dressers for power women) aims to ease this decision making process, while giving them the power to have control over their wardrobes. To look good, clothing must present us in the manner we deserve - with understanding, kindness and acceptance. It should reflect who we are, and where we are heading to in life. TLL helps women find their own power-suits. Not padded jackets, but Indian ensembles that wield a power over your inner-self by working around your Indian body shapes, and making you look more confident and smart. Our collections focus on work to network dressing for professional Indian women who wish to break the glass ceiling in every way, every day.

What challenges you faced initially in setting up TLL?

For not having a fashion design or business background, initially I stumbled upon certain roadblocks. Perhaps, it is more about people not expecting women to do things out-of- the-box. Additionally, finding the right mix that would give comfort, the right fall, and last long with easy care was difficult for us. These were certain other bottlenecks. I had to research a lot, and start from the scratch.

Today, my designs are loved because of the fresh perspectives they showcase.

Did your family approve of it?

Yes, absolutely and strongly as always. My family acts as a backbone of my initiatives. There was a bit of apprehension, for obvious reasons, but the support that they have offered me throughout, for being able to brave the odds is commendable.

How did you overcome your own and others' apprehensions?

My tools for cutting down apprehensions were and are: persisting hard work and challenging myself. These two elements have taught me more than I could have learnt from any formal training.

What are the USPs of TLL?

TLL brings in international aesthetics to create a stunningly simple, minimalistic yet a very Indian line of clothing. Our product range comprises of light, daily use Sherwanees, tunics, waistcoats, Shalwar-pants and scarves. We are working on a prototype of pocket-dupattas as well. Our  product line focuses on travel and work friendly, collections while blending with it the Indian way of life.

But our major USP is that we do not use fashion models for showcasing our clothes, but real, on-the-job, working women who are excelling in their respective fields. They also are the true face of women in the workforce today, varied by age, region and religion. They relate designs more, with the real users.

Where do you pull your funds from to support TLL's activities?

We have had seed funding from angel investors who believed in the idea.

You have been one of the few chosen ones to present at the TEDx platform. Share your experience and your topic.

It was certainly a delight to be  a speaker at TEDx Gurugram, as a part of the TEDx India Anchor program supported by Infosys.

My talk brought in the concept of how we can positively change our body image and the perception of our body by questioning and confronting our conditioning. One way to do that is by wearing our 'Powersuit'.

Wait for the video to be up to know what a power-suit can be and how it can become a part of your daily life. It should be out towards mid March.

Is TLL the destination you want to halt at, or are you also working on some other concepts and projects?

I believe that I am a serial reinventor of myself. I always think that it is justified to explore all the measures; lengths, widths, in fact, every dimension, to know the true self and potential. It's hard to halt. I never stop.

How does TLL support women empowerment and inclusivity?

The entire concept of TLL is rooted in female empowerment. The idea is to bring the ease-of-dressing to Indian women. We look at the pain points and think of ways to resolve them when we design our collections.

We also support various forward-looking initiatives around women at work. And, whenever and wherever possible, we give preference to women in our organization.

Silk industry is an agro-based industry, which requires low investment and can be functional in a small set up even providing employment opportunities to both the skilled and the unskilled. Share your views on what needs to be done in regards to utilizing the complete potential of this industry.

As my friend, Ibu Sanjeeb Garg in the revenue services has often recommended, and I would also agree with him; that a good way forward is that the government should establish a Silk Auction Board on the lines of the Tea Auction Board. This would help in effective price regulation that will save the small-scale traders from being exploited and help in making the industry globally competitive.

How does your brand support the local weavers of Assam or Northeast India?

We don't yet have local weavers working with us; however, have some plans of having local weavers from Assam on board, when TLL expands its operations.

Tell us about your other achievements.

In under a year, TLL has been recognized as a leading driver of digital change. Recently, it won the Orange Flower Award for Digital Excellence for our work in Fashion. I was also invited to speak at TEDx Gurugram, as TLL founder to talk about our breakthrough concept behind the brand.

Apart from designing, what else interests you?

My first book, Mothering a Muslim (Juggernaut books)will be out later this year. It carries warm memories from my years in Assam, and explains why it was one of the best places to grow up.

Your vision for TLL It should be the go-to brand for Indian workwear for women.

A few words for the women of north east.

Recognize that you are supremely privileged to be hailing from the North East. And, that privilege puts the onus on you to weave a legacy. A warm salaam to all the women of the seven sisters. I am you, you are me.

 
 

Women’s Day - why just one day?

By Indrani Medhi

8th March - is that day when we all come together to celebrate women. Time and again women are seen gathering together all around for team lunch or dinner and popping a champagne, wearing the same colour dresses or holding some games or contests or availing lavish discounts and gifts. While we come across campaigns highlighting '#BoldForAChange', '#NoConditionsApply', etc. we share and promote inspirational '#WomenPower' videos, we hold events, all of which would be in news for a day or two or may be a week and then fade away somehow reminding us that all other 364 days are Men's Day!

Now the question is why is it just one day in the name of '#WomenPower'? Why can't women be treated special everyday? Can't the rest of the year too be as important as 8th March? Or why do we need such one special day to discuss feminism, women empowerment and respect for women? Is it just a one-day privilege to women allowed by the patriarchal society?

Women's Day in India seems to be overrated. Whereas, we are still socially backward when it comes to women's empowerment, women's education and their rights. The girl child is still outpaced and outranked by boys in all spheres of life in our country. They are still subjected to stereotypes and discrimination. What women are striving for is their basic rights and equal opportunity and treatment in all spheres of lives. Only one day cannot define a woman's achievements and her right to be respected. A woman sacrifices yet smiles during distress, gathers strength from the turmoils of life and grows stronger with prayers and hope. She is strong, patient, beautiful and compassionate, ready to take the world on her stride. A woman completes the man and brings life on earth, she is the essence of the society. Just like the game of chess where the queen always protects the king, a man is never complete without a woman in his life. But, women continue to face disadvantages in almost all spheres of life in the society, she's humiliated, abused, molested and raped for being what she is.

Women are called the fairer or weaker sex who are treated like queens on one day and be judged the entire year. Right from her clothes to lifestyle choices, everything about a woman comes under scrutiny and debate. International Women's Day first began as a battle to bridge the pay gap in 1908 in New York. But while the celebrations for Women's Day have become extravagant, the wage gap and pay gap between men and women became extremely prominent in the corporate sector. One cannot glamourize one single day for equality and neglect the fight for equal pay and equal opportunity for the rest of the year.

Several times we have heard men either crib or boast about the 'absence' of Men's Day like Women's Day. In reality, International Men's Day is observed on November 19, but it is not as hyped as the special day for females. The men in our lives also deserve to be applauded for their contribution,  achievements and rightly need to be respected. A father, a brother, a husband or a friend too should be celebrated. But the vast difference between the celebrations of Men's Day and Women's Day shows the notion engrained in our brains that women are considered the secondary sex and mere 'objects of pleasure' who need to felt special, brought out of their 'kitchens' or the four walls of the house and celebrated only on one day.

Women's Day officially dates back to 1977 when the UN General Assembly challenged its members to declare a day for women's rights and world peace. But isn't it important to remind women of their power and importance everyday? Or shouldn't we celebrate International Men's Day too with equal fervour? It's high time we come out of our stereotypical and cocooned mindsets and give it a different outlook. In fact, let us not put our 'feminist' sashes on, to celebrate 'her' glory on Women's Day (to go back and start discriminating and harassing her the next day) but rather let's celebrate the glory of who we are, as a responsible citizen and individual, regardless of our gender.

 
 

A FLASHBACK (ICONIC WOMEN)

Madhubala

Madhubala, one of the iconic women actresses of Bollywood who is considered as an epitome of beauty and love was born 1933's Valentine's Day and lived for 36 years. Madhubala urf Mumtaz Jehan Dehlavi had a career span of 18 years and was regarded as one of the most influential personalities in the industry. Nargis and Meena Kumari were her contemporaries that time; however, her appearances were often compared with Marilyn Monroe. She was recognized for her performances in Mahal (1949), Amar (1954), Mr. & Mrs. '55 (1955), Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958), Mughal-e-Azam (1960) and Barsaat Ki Raat (1960). Mughal-e-Azam gave her an opportunity to grab her piece of sky as her stardom.

Her last movie was Jwala, which was released 21 years after it was shot. She suffered a prolonged illness which turned fatal for her. She took her last breaths and departed from this world on 23rd of February, 1969.

Her first break in the movie happened in 1942 as a child actress for Basant. She played the role of a daughter to Mumtaz Shanti. She played a number of roles during her childhood; however, she got her first lead role in Neel Kamal (1974) at the age of 14. Kidar Sharma, the producer starcasted her opposite to Raj Kapoor. What a break! The notable fact is she was credited as Mumtaz till this movie. Later her Hindi version of honey belle, rang the bells in the boolywood and in the hearts of the people. Her popularity grew when she played the lead role in Bombay Talkie's Mahal  directed by Kamal Amrohi. It was 1949's third largest hit at the Indian box office. Then there was looking back for this honey belle. She appeared in Dulari (1949), Beqasoor (1950),Tarana (1951) and Badal (1951)

The actress who has pierced and penetrated in the hearts of the millions fell prey to incurable ventricular septal defect (a hole in the heart) which aggravated and led to her demise. Her pre-production debut Farz Aur Ishq couldn't make a start and remained a dream.

 
 

Tips for Bridal Shoe Shopping

Keep the length of your outfit in mind and choose comfort over style when you go on bridal shoe shopping spree.

Some important points.

. Heels vs flats: Ask yourself if you are comfortable walking in heels? Do you need to add extra height to match your groom? Or will you be at more ease in flats? These will give you a clear idea of what you should be looking for. Another important thing to remember is the kind of venue you have for your wedding functions. If you have an outdoor wedding function, you should probably opt for wedges or flats because stilettos might dig deep inside sand/grass.

. Length of the outfit you are wearing: Ideally, the heel size (inches) should be almost equal to the extra length of lehenga that you would have kept during the final trials and fittings. It's best to stick with gold and silver so that you are able to reuse them later.

. Comfort over style: There's a high chance that you will fall in love with the pair of shoes that look absolutely stunning but might not be comfortable to walk in. Remember that at the end of the day it's you who have to wear those shoes. You will be the one who will have to stand for photographs, walk around here and there, and dance a bit too! So, wobbling around your heels which are way high or uncomfortable for you wouldn't be a good idea at all.

. Don't go for shoes that are beyond your budget: There are times when you cannot get over that one pair of shoe which you know you cannot afford it and then nothing really seems good enough. Well, don't get attached to everything you see. Just switch to the next pair of shoe or if needed to the next shop and keep your budget in mind.

. Practice wearing them again and again: Do make sure you get them worn in at least a few weeks from the wedding day. Wear them around the house; apply Vaseline or coconut oil while you are trying them on. Get used to wearing them, walk around the carpets if necessary, so that on the big day, your bridal shoes are already shaped according to your feet.

 
 

Veerbhadrasana

Yoga is a vast subject. The discussions about it is endless. The word 'Yoga' is enough to create the magic. Yes, from experience I must admit, it is something that has completely changed my life.

To those who think Yoga is slow and boring, I must say that you haven't been sticking around it for long. Yoga needs your dedication and in return it gives you lifetime health benefits and fitness, that will be unbeatable. Yoga helps you deal with a variety of issues, it improves your sexual health, helps you lose weight, improves your stamina and even beats migraines and insomnia. However, you need to be consistent with it in order to reap the results.

In todays column will discuss two of the yoga postures and their benefits.

To start with, I will talk about one of my favourite posture called as the "Warrior Posture (Veerbhadrasana)". By the name I guess you understood it is indeed a very powerful posture just like how a warrior is 'powerful', 'fearless' and 'strong'.

Warrior II (Veerbhadrasana)

How to do it:

1. Stand straight with your legs wide apart by a distance of at least 3-4 feet.

2. Turn your right foot out by 90 degrees and left foot in by about 15 degrees.

3. Lift both arms sideways to shoulder height with your palms facing upwards. Palms should be parallel to the ground.

4. Breathing out, bend your right knee.Ensure that your knee does not overshoot the ankle.

5. Turn your head and look to your right.

6. Stretch your arms further.

7. Hold the yoga posture with the determination of a warrior. Keep breathing.

8. Breathing in, come up.

9. Repeat the left side.

Benefits:

1) It stretches the whole front side of the body while strengthening the thighs, ankles, and back.

2) Develops stamina, balance, and coordination. It tones the abdomen, ankles, and arches of the feet.

3) It stretches the chest and lungs, improving breathing capacity and invigorating the body.

4) Therapeutic for sciatica.

5)Encourages greater flexibility, strength, and range of motion in the feet, increasing circulation as it warms all the muscles.

6) Warrior Pose creates deep concentration. Your mind becomes focused, calm, and clear.

Contraindications:

1) Do not practice the full version of the pose if you are experiencing high blood pressure or heart problems.

2) Those with neck injuries should keep their heads in a neutral position.

Kavita, (Founder- Yoga Chakra)

Website: www.theyogachakra.in

Facebook: @theyogachakra

 
 

Opt for hair colour smartly

Hair colouring seems a trend of the season with millennials opting for various shades for a nice makeover. However, there are some factors that need to be kept in mind before trying out such trends.

Always use herbal hair colour rather than synthetic hair colours. Synthetic hair colours contain chemicals that dry and whiten the hair, but herbal colours give your hair natural look and shine.

Be careful while choosing the hair colour, it must go well with your complexion. Avoid using too bright and too light colours. There are endless hair colours from black to burgundy to brown and many more. Think wisely which hair colour looks good with your skin tone. Be aware of the time frame while applying. Be careful about the time frame, don't keep it for longer time than mentioned on the label, as the colour might get brighter and darker and when applying for shorter time, it may get lighter. Check the label for the correct time frame to give the hair its exact colour.

Oil your hair overnight, the same day you have applied color. This will smoothen your hair and give it a natural shine. After washing off the hair and applying oil, shampoo your hair next day to boost proper strength and volume. Also wash your hair twice a week.

 
 

Hairstyle Trends to Look Fabulous

Bored of the same hairstyle? Try for a retro chick look or for bold hair colours to make a statement.

Here are some of the hairstyling trends that may be a rage this season:

. Straight hair: Long, straight hair has always been a good choice among Indian girls as they can easily go for various hairstyle looks. The short, choppy hair cuts are no longer in style this year. 2017 is the year of gorgeous long hairstyles and cuts.

. Retro is back: The 1970s' retro hairstyles are also making a comeback, with straight hair parted down the middle. Letting your hair down will flatter your face and emanate romance. Flip the edges out for a little retro look.

. Hair colour ideas: The latest hairstyles feature lustrous coloured hair. Be brave, go for a flamboyant red or any other bright hue to make you look and feel more fabulous again.

. Braiding: Braids in all variants can give a nice twist. The most popular style like the French braid is a pretty easy one that you can do yourself. Start with brushing your hair back. Use a comb (or your fingers) to section your hair off in a 'V-formation' starting from your temples right up to the crown of your head. Then take three pieces of hair from that section and begin braiding them. Make sure to incorporate more hair from each side each time you cross the hair over.

. Volume matters: Full hair with lots of volume is another one of the latest hairstyle trends for girls. This look works for any type of hair, long or short. Short hair can be spruced up with colour highlights or shiny curls. You won't believe how easy it is to style your hair yourself at home with the right tools like blow dryers, curlers and straightners.

. Health tip for bouncy hair: Make sure to have your hair trimmed every three months if you want it to grow longer and quicker. Getting your hair trimmed gets rid of dead ends and split ends. These are two things that prevent your hair from growing. If you have coloured or damaged hair, have it trimmed every six weeks.

 
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A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.
— Albert Einstein
 
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