India's most loved lifestyle influencers: Follow their footsteps

From red shoes to flared jeans, India's most loved fashion influencers tell you how to up your sass this year. Plus, the women folks list stuff you could beg, borrow or steal from them

influencers

Abhinav Mathur

@_abix_ / 113k

abhinav mathur

For Delhi-based fashion influencer Abhinav Mathur, the journey on Instagram started about nine years ago, when it was absolutely new, when there was only the option to share pictures, that too, only from the app and not the camera roll. Abhinav holds a law degree and a master’s degree in advertising and public relations. 

The turning came when he decided to quit law and get into the hospitality business. This was around the time when his Instagram game started to pick up and he was getting a few projects. What started as a way of sharing pictures soon became an outlet for him to post about outfits.  

“As video became available, I wanted to showcase my acting talent by posting short funny skits. When influencer marketing became a thing in India about six years ago, I got noticed and landed my first gig  as an influencer, where I had to model clothes for a newly-launched brand. Of course there was no payment, only barter, which I gladly accepted because no one really thought about making money through Instagram and at the time getting free clothes for taking pictures seemed like an awesome thing,” he says. 

Today, in digital marketing the demand for quality influencers is increasing and having been consistent for so many years gets Abhinav enough work now to be a full-time content creator. His content is a mix of smart and chic, and shows he is very comfortable and at peace with who he is.

One thing men must add to their wardrobe in 2022 is….

A gilet

It’s a must-have because…?

It’s got a lot of sophistication involved with it especially if you’ve got a leather one. Besides, it’s very versatile and would make you stand out from the crowd.

What would make it a hit?

If you can pair it well! Wear it over a half turtleneck or with a regular sweater even. 

And would be a miss if….?

You incorrectly pair colours or you layer it on a jacket. 

A styling tip

Very few people go monochromatic. One of the  best hacks is to go for a colour scheme which one would never go wrong with and gives an illusion of you being taller, too.

Aarti Khetarpal 

@iaartikhetarpal / 1 million

aarti khetrapal

Aarti Khetarpal began her career in the second year of college when she got a show with Star Plus and by the time she completed her third year, she’d done 11 ads and landed a show called Go Digital, that kickstarted her acting journey. 

“I actually started as an actor that gave me the confidence to move to Mumbai and I did my music video with Mika and after that I got into hosting concerts and shows and did the web show called Ragini MMS, which got me a lot of traction on my social media,” she says. 

So, influencing is the by-product of her acting job. Aarti’s Insta handle not only features her in glamorous outfits but this is where you can catch glimpses of actors and singers in their element, too!

One thing men must add from your wardrobe to theirs in 2022 is…?

White belt and red shoes

What makes it work?

While the shoes are very comfortable and work for people who want to mix comfort with class and make a statement, the belt is a basic reversible one and can be used with buckles from different brands that saves you the cost of new full branded belts. 

What would make it a hit?

The shoes are a limited-edition from Gucci in an unusual colour and can be paired with different accessories. It is easy to use and can be worn with buckles from various brands to complement the outfit.  

And it would be a miss if….?

If you don’t clean the shoes well and if the belt has wrinkles or its leather is tearing off.

A styling tip

Pick up different shoe laces and keep buckles in silver, gold and black handy.

Sukhneet Wadhwa Gujral 

@mscocoqueen/ 116k

sukhneet wadhwa

Delhi-based content creator Sukhneet Wadhwa, an economics graduate, took up the job of a brand manager after completing her MBA in finance but couldn’t stay in the nine-to-five set up for too long. 

“My sulking love for fashion and bottled creative juices made me quit my job and start my social media journey as Ms Coco Queen, which talks about fashion trends and inspiration. My folks used to wonder what I do... some people still do,” she says. Sukhneet will soon complete a decade in the industry and has already worked with over 100 global brands, including Karan Johar, and was even invited to the Paris Fashion Week. 

Sukhneet considers her content as a visual story, which one can devour in 30 or 60 seconds.

One thing men must add from your wardrobe to theirs in 2022…

Vintage oversized jackets

Why is it a must-have?

It transcends your personal style without trying too hard. 

What would make it a hit? 

Pairing it with well-fitted pair of trousers. 

And it would be a miss if….? 

You wear it with too many colours. 

A styling tip

Keep one hero piece in your outfit, be it a jacket or a piece of jewel.

Siddharth Batra

@siddharth93batra / 222K

sidharth batra

Siddharth Batra began his career as a fashion writer right after college and continued for a few years until he completely switched to celebrity styling, to spearheading the launch of a men’s beauty brand and to creating fashion video IPs for a leading menswear portal. 

However, in December 2019, he decided to create content full-time and dropped his first-ever video series on Instagram: #GuyBeauty. Born in Gurugram, he moved to Pune and Mumbai for studies and work, until the circle of life brought him back to Gurugram for work. Sidhharth holds a Bachelors of Design (fashion communication) degree, with specialisation in trend forecasting and fashion feature writing. 

“Every effort, every step that I’ve taken towards personal and professional growth till date has been my biggest achievement. I’m very proud of myself. I enjoy the process, hold no regrets and am grateful every day. Every learning from anyone has been a stepping stone for me,” says the fashion influencer. 

In the content business, Siddharth says it’s important to strike a balance between personal-authenticity and the needs of the audience and that’s what makes his work unique.

One thing men must add to their wardrobe in 2022 is….

Wide-legged or flared jeans with everything. I love the way they fall on the legs and when paired with heeled boots, they  add such a strong stance to the body that you feel 10x confident!

It’s a must-have because…?

I love elevated staples. Wide-legged/flared jeans come with versatility, character and look a little bit retro. Plus, I love how my derrière looks in them. They’re clearly, the sweet spots of denim. 

What would make it a hit?

They can replace your everyday, straight-fit jeans and soon become a family-classic. They’re classic as well as edgy, now that’s a combo! 

And would be a miss if….?

You buy the wrong fit. Shouldn’t be too fitted nor too flared. 

A styling tip

My go-to outfit right now is a faux/vegan leather jacket with wide-legged denim, a pair of heeled boots and tinted sunnies. Retro but sleek.

Niki Mehra 

@nikimehra / 413k

niki mehra

Niki Mehra’s journey as a fashion influencer began seven years ago when she was pursuing her master’s in economics. “I realised my real passion was fashion and not academics. At the time, the influencer industry was an emerging one, so it allowed me time to finish my studies while giving me a creative platform to explore my fashion entrepreneur dream,” Niki explains. 

A month into the launch of her blog, Niki was chosen by Swarovski to be its Indian ambassador. She even flew to Paris for a feature for a magazine and met the global Swarovski team and has been featured in top fashion magazine.

Besides, she’s interviewed Rihanna for her first Fenty collection launch in New York, 2016 and has collaborated with over 300 leading brands in the fashion, beauty and luxury space.

Her content draws inspiration from real life. During the first lockdown, she started doing clothing hacks to make the best use of what one had. “I’m getting married now, so I started a series called #bridesideofNM to help brides like me discover brands that are true value for money. I would like to believe my content adds value to my reader’s lives,” she chimes.

One thing men must add to their wardrobe from yours in 2022 is…

Handbags

Why is it a must-have?

Well Joey from Friends carried one years ago — it looked amazing then, and it looks amazing now! Not only will this help men keep their valuables safe instead of stuffing it in their pants or coats, it also makes a really edgy fashion statement.

What would make it a hit?

Carrying it with confidence! So that’s your secret ingredient. 

And it would be a miss if…?

If men opt for shoulder or handbags and totes. Cross body and even micro bags would look fab.

A styling tip

If you are just starting out, opt for the safest option. So, go for neutrals and more structured bags.

Devansh Kamboj

@devanshkamboj / 98.4K

devansh kamboj

Delhi boy Devansh Kamboj says he believes in, “effortless fashion and making bald a statement!” He began his journey as a fashion influencer in 2017, when he was simply interested in clothes and experimenting with different accessories — bowtie being his favourite one and soon he launched his Insta page dedicated to curating looks around bowties!   

A commerce graduate with a master’s in marketing research, his turning point came when he won a fully sponsored trip in collab with Ajio.com to attend the world’s biggest music festival Tomorrowland In Belgium, as that’s when people started to notice him. He’s recently done the fashion reality show Myntra Fashion Superstar Season 3. “I try to send out positivity through every piece of content I create, be it an image or a video,” he says speaking of his USP.

One thing men must add to their wardrobe in 2022 is….

A faux fur jacket

It is a must-have because…?

It goes with everything... from casuals and formalwear to even joggers.

What would make it a hit?

If that jacket is canned with fur hood. 

And it would be a miss if….?

It has patches of cloth or design but not fur on it.

A styling tip.

Pair it with hoodie, jeans or trousers and sunglasses. For a sexy formal look, wear it with a shirt, tie and crisp trousers.

Jeremy Cabral

@FMWdotcom / 37.9k

jeremy c

Mumbai-based Jeremy Cabral started his blog Fashionmostwanted.com in 2008. After competing his graduation in commerce, with specialisation in business management, he joined IMG Fashion, a global leader in organising fashion weeks, as a PR and marketing manager. It was while managing Lakme Fashion Week there that he realised that digital media, which was then at its nascent stage in India, would soon see a massive boom. 

“I started my blog to share the latest updates and trends in fashion devoid of jargon and technical terms, which got me the recognition of being one of the first Indian male fashion bloggers. It’s been a rollercoaster ride thereafter, and I love it,” he says. Jeremy keeps his content simple and easy to understand by breaking down runway trends that can be more easily understood and adopted by the audienceat large and that’s what makes it click.

One thing men must add to their wardrobe in 2022 is….

Hoppers

It is a must-have because…?

Comfort wear has taken front stage ever since the pandemic, and hoppers, being extremely functional and stylish, top the list when it comes to men’s comfort wear. 

What would make it a hit?

Its versatility and simplicity. The trend was inspired by the sherpas of Nepal and is not only comfortable but also accentuates all body types. Hoopers can be used as your travel pants, whether you are boarding a plane or plonking yourself on a train berth.

And it would be a miss if….?

I don’t see any reason why it would be a miss, especially after seeing the sales report from several ecommerce sites in the last quarter of 2021.

A styling tip

Hoppers are extremely casual, so to make your look a little formal, team it with a blazer and sneakers. This look works well especially when you are traveling for business.

Khushboo K Grewal 

@Khushbookg / 105k

khushboo k grewal

Khushboo Grewal might have become a fashion influencer by the virtue of being an actor or performer, but her increasing following speaks volumes of the popularity of her content she presents in the quirkiest manner. 

Born and brought up in Chandigarh, Khushboo pursued her MBA in marketing in HR from Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Management, Delhi, but her life took a turn when she took to singing in 2012. Today she’s counted among the country’s leading fashion influencers. 

“I keep it real,” says Khushboo when we ask her about the USP of her content.

One thing from your wardrobe that you’d recommend for men to add to theirs in 2022 is….

The dhoti pant

It’s a must-have because…?

It not only looks uber cool and stylish, it is also super comfortable.

What would make it a hit?

Pair it with anything from a tee to a kurta or even go bare-chested if you please… 

And would be a miss if…?

I don’t think you can ever go wrong with a dhoti-kurta.

A styling tip

Wear it with a nose stud.

Rohini Mathur

@_fashionismyreligion / 53.1k

rohini mathur

When Mumbai-born Rohini Mathur launched her fashion label at a fashion week, her power suits for women and choice of acid-attack victims as showstoppers were very well received by the industry. Not only do celebs endorse her brand, but Rohini has also mentored contestants at the Mrs India beauty pageant. 

She’s studied political science and mass communication but went on to make a mark as a fashion designer and influencer. “By virtue of being both, a fashion designer and a content creator, I get to enjoy the best of both the worlds. Since my husband (Abhinav Mathur) is a content creator too, it keeps our creative juices flowing and we often run ideas past each other, therefore allowing my audience to enjoy a unique perspective on a stylish couple’s lifestyle!” she says.

One thing men must add to their wardrobe from yours in 2022 is…

A pair of off-white boots (from Zara)

Why is it a must-have?

Contrary to popular belief that women’s shoes are extremely uncomfortable this particular pair is super comfy and the design is unisex.

What would make it a hit?

The fact that it works for both men and women!

And it would be a miss if…?

You take the trend too far. 

A styling tip

You should pair these boots with the right amount of masculine elements from your wardrobe in order to complete the look.

Shrawan Chhetri 

@mencrucials / 54.8k

shrawan chhetri

Growing up, Shrawan Chhetri, who hails from a small town in West Bengal called Binnaguri, had a Bollywood dream, which made him try modeling. “I did get a few projects, but because I was short, I wasn't getting enough work to pay my bills and the world told me I cannot make it big in this industry!” Shrawan recalls.

He started posting his pictures on Instagram in 2018 and after consistently posting for seven to eight months, he started getting recognised for his dressing sense and landed offers for brand promotions. 

Shrawan has studied fashion design from National Institute of Fashion Technology and has worked with hundreds of national and international brands and judged multiple fashion events at IIT's and other colleges. Recently, he was part of the Myntra Fashion Superstar season 3. 

Shrawan promotes sustainability through his content and owns a clothing line called Crucials, where garments are made using natural fibers and dyes.

One thing men must add to their wardrobe in 2022…?

Puffer jacket

Why is it a must have?

It’s one of the most loved pieces in the streetwear clothing for a reason — its boxy silhouette adds much beauty to the entire outfit. 

What would make it a hit?

It is already one. The humble puffer jacket has acquired cult status in recent years, and its versatility is reflected in its eclectic fan base. 

And it would be a miss if….?

It lacks details. My current favourite is a puffer with denim details on sleeves, for instance.

A styling tip

Pair your puffer with sleek basics that allow the oversize silhouette to shine, like classic denims, turtlenecks and joggers.

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