Supermodel Rahi Chadda on fashion for men: Don't use filters to mask your personality

Fashion aficionado, supermodel, influencer and beauty entrepreneur, Rahi Chadda gets candid about breaking barriers, setting new beauty standards and putting forth his unfiltered self for the world to see

rahi chadda

Fashion aficionado, supermodel, influencer and beauty entrepreneur, Rahi Chadda gets candid about breaking barriers, setting new beauty standards and putting forth his unfiltered self for the world to see.

How did you start as a model?

rahi chadda beige This is a typical day in the life of Rahi picture, the look screams spring/summer. This is what you’d catch me doing on any sunny day in London. I am a fan of pink and pastels and have fun with my wardrobe. My sapphire ring compliments this look wonderfully well. I love how the pink in my outfit amalgamates with the flowers in Holland Park (Shirt and trouser, MC Overalls; Shoes, Bally; Sunglass, Jimmy Fairly)

I studied law and did my masters in international employee relations from LSE. For the longest time, I thought law was something I’d be going into. After I finished studying, I was even fielding a few job offers but fashion has always been my calling. I couldn’t deny that. Just when I was in two minds about things, it all fell into place. I went to a talent agency and did a couple of test shots, the photographer put up those pictures of mine on Instagram (this was when the social media platform had just started gaining popularity) and the response was overwhelming. There was no looking back after that. I started getting numerous bookings post that and modelling just followed. It was seamless. 

rahi chadda brown outfit I adore Zegna and its take on men’s clothing. It’s modern, functional and packed with dimensions. The look is casual but the stunning beige tones make it look very luxurious at the same time. I love the loose fit and breathable fabric, it’s essential in the summer. The details just add depth to the look and add versatility to it. It’s a look that I would wear to run errands, but also if I had an event. What I really like about this design is the versatility (Full look, Zegna; Sunglass, James Ay)

Also read: Choreographer Melvin Louis' fashion tips for men: Move or be moved

rahi chadda colourful suit This look is very fun, playful and breaks away from the monotony of a suit. It’s funny because its gorgeous colours instantly reminded me of India, the delicious food, the lovely marigolds and so much more. This ensemble is full of life and makes you stand out. I also feel this is a great representation of my nature (Suit, Moschino; Boots, Bottega Veneta)

Have you ever found it challenging to gain prominence as an individual of South Asian heritage? 

Personally no, but when I first started out, diversity and inclusivity were topics that were just being introduced. Fortunately, today, the industry, both fashion and beauty, have evolved ten folds. It’s a comfortable space to be in today. People of different colours and races are being celebrated and are being given a platform with the spotlight shining on them. And it goes so far beyond people of colour. Brands are now including people with disabilities, people with different skin or hair types, and different cultures within the South Asian community itself. This is a culturally woke time and I’m grateful that I can present some representation. I’m proud that I’m opening and in fact creating doors for the next generation, doors that weren’t there when I was starting out. 

Also read: Fashion tips for men: What you will wear in 2022

What impact do you wish to have as an individual with such a massive reach and global presence?

I definitely want people to get inspired by my personal style, and the looks I create. I want people in and outside the South Asian community to recognise and explore this as a career option. Most importantly, I want people to have acceptance of their downfalls as they have of their achievements. I really want to communicate that nobody’s life is perfect, no matter who they are and what it looks like on social media. Everybody has their ups and downs, including me! I hope my community learns to embrace that part of their lives.

rahi chadda blue I love the floral design on the shirt and the fluidity of blue. The look is comfortable, effortless, and has a high fashion feel to it. This is perfect for when I’d want to dress down but still stand out. It’s also a really fun way to bring double denim back, channel our inner Britneys  (Full look, Frame, Frame Men; Boots, Bottega Veneta; Sunglass, Chimi)

How do you move past lack of inspiration?

This is where mental health comes into play. Everyone has days when they’re not feeling the best. On those days, I try to remember why I’m doing what I’m doing, the bigger purpose, and that I really love what I do. Beyond that meditation, getting a walk or maybe a workout in and just giving myself that time and space to rest and bounce back works well. As a person in the spotlight, you have to have these coping mechanisms around you. Fortunately or unfortunately you have to put on a brave face and move ahead. 

rahi chadda yellow standing This is what I’d wear as a Kingsman! This yellow pinstripe blazer is formal but so fun. It really is an extension of my playful mood. I love the contrast between the pinstripes and the shirt. Something very interesting was that I experimented with these sneakers. For me, it breaks away from the sternness of the suit and keeps the look playful (Suit, Moschino; Sneakers, The Kooples; Sunglass, James Ay)
rahi chadda yellow

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What do you wish to normalise in the beauty and fashion space?

I really wish to change the perception of ‘perfect.’ Perfection for me is adaptable. It’s all about being perfectly imperfect and true to themselves. I would also like to normalise, rather hope for the industry to have acceptance of different styles and personalities. In the fashion industry, change is constant and different for each individual. After all, fashion is just an expression and extension of one’s personality and it’s not going to be the same for everyone. 

rahi chadda dark blue I love the asymmetry and the silhouette of the jacket. This look is muted, chic, and stylish — which resonates perfectly with my personal style and is synonymous with how I like to dress. It’s not too loud and in your face, it’s subtle yet fun. The hues are pleasant and this is something I’d probably wear on my day off (Full look and sunglass, Zegna; Saddle bag, Dior)

What does beauty mean to you?

For me, beauty really transcends skincare and makeup. Beauty is being comfortable in your own skin, inspiring others to be comfortable in theirs. The more I evolve in my perception of beauty, the less I feel the need to retouch and edit any photographs. Now, I make a conscious decision to not retouch my photos. I want to show under-eye skin, blemishes, pores, textures, and acne, because that’s what real beauty is. To celebrate your own skin as it is power and beauty. I’m stoked to see brands evolving in that direction. 

rahi chadda shorts This is very edgy, rocker-chic, and I love the oversized-bag! This look has all my favourite elements — patterns, black, edginess, comfort and just great style. I am a fan of Fendi’s Spring/Summer collection and how they’re able to amalgamate formal and informal wear. The shorts and how they make the ensemble so young and mischievous (Blazer, shirt, shorts, Fendi; Shoes, The Kooples; Bag, Tod’s; Sunglass, Gentle Monster)

QUICK TAKE

Favourite accessory: My sapphire ring that I always wear. It’s very Lady Di and I love the pop of colour. It adds a ton of depth to all my looks. 

A trend I’m currently loving: Minimalism! I’m obsessed with all things monochrome and minimal. It does spark joy.

A typical summer day: A picnic or stroll at Holland park on a sunny day is so peaceful. 

Ideal Friday night: Spending time with myself at home, I love my alone time and  being home. 

Something you’re passionate about: Mental health. It’s very important to take care of one’s self mentally. That’s half the battle won.

Your downtime activity: Meditation, walking, yoga. These activities really help clear my head.

Also read: Karan Kundrra on acting, fashion, Bigg Boss and more: "The joy of acting is indescribable"

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