If a girl and a guy in their 20s stop you mid-road, ask for a photo of yours and a few questions about your interesting outfit, most likely, they would be Aliya and Aalok. This duo of young graduates of Ambedkar University mean it when they say they want to capture the real Indian fashion. They wander about city streets chronicling the sartorial choices and the cultural influences pervading in the national capital. We sat down Aliya & Alok on a sunny afternoon at the studio and they spoke to us about exploring an alternate career option, Delhi and their tryst with it.
Street Style Delhi
Behind The Scenes with Street Style Delhi
Q.1 What is your first memory with a camera?
Aalok: I picked up the camera for the first time in college and explored cityscapes whenever I found time after classes. I can recall the wave of rejuvenation which washed over me when I saw Goa through the lens. It was the first time when I had negative space in the frame and could actually focus on particular subjects.
Aliya: Cameras have been an intrinsic part of my life since childhood. I have very clear memories of being photographed by my father, who is a documentary movie maker for Doordarshan. It was so exciting for me to see the latest cameras up close.
Q.2 Your personal style?
Aliya: My personal style is very fluid. I wear whatever I like. Some days you’d see me in my brother’s and even my father’s clothes. Also, the things I reach out for tend to be rooted in the various art forms and handicrafts of our country.
Aalok: I believe in the utmost supremacy of comfort being bigger than anything. However, there’s now a word for my personal style- athleisure.
Q.3 Pro-tips for street photography?
Aliya: Don’t threaten someone’s personal space for a picture. In our case, I tend to talk to our subjects to make them comfortable.
Aalok: I try to make sense of colours around me whenever I am out on the streets. So, I’d advise to make use of color and light to add a story like narrative in your pictures.
Q.4 It must be tough to approach strangers. What have been some of the interesting responses?
Aalok: Its fun how people end up perceiving me as a sales person but eventually Aliya is able to connect with them and more often than not our subjects become our friends. While requesting someone to pose a certain way or move to a different spot, I let the person know about my thought process to achieve a particular frame and the limitations of our equipment etc. so that they never feel uncomfortable.I like how being based In Delhi allows us to meet the real consumers of fashion on the streets.
Aliya: Our experience of approaching Delhiites hasn’t been bad at all. We have been able to figure out a way to approach people. We try not to threaten anyone’s personal space, for instance, we never approach anyone from behind. Our photography is people oriented. The center of attraction will always be the person in the frame over the brands and labels one could be wearing.
Q.5 You must have explored so much of delhi in the quest of the perfect photograph, In which special way do you connect with Delhi now? How has delhi treated you so far?
Aalok: Delhi happened to me during school. I fell into bad company and didn’t have great friendship so I ended up finding a friend in the city. It has been interesting in so many ways right from the people I meet, to the infrastructure and event its street food!
Aliya: For me, it was in college that I actually went out a lot and experienced what Delhi has to offer. I spent my entire childhood mostly indoors or at the park. Maybe that’s why my entire mindscape is centered around childhood memories and that’s the theme I end up tracing in so many of my writings on matargasht.com. And about the food, I am not so much into junk food, I prefer to gorge on fruits, especially jamun and cold coffee is my constant, even in winters.
Q.6 When did the idea of covering street style of Delhi occur to you?
Well, the Eureka moment happened while watching Billy on The Streets! He was interviewing a person on the street and I thought to myself if he can ask funny questions to complete strangers, maybe we can ask for a photograph! Now, we cover culture, style and fashion. We are left with such great stories, it is really fulfilling!
Q.7 Do you share the space of sustainability in any manner? What little steps do you take to live a more mindful lifestyle?
Aalok: I don’t consume much. I still wear the clothes I bought before college began. I don’t believe in impulse shopping. That’s how I try to lead a conscious lifestyle..
Aliya: I get my clothes tailored. That way, I know where they came from, who made them and that the process of garment creation was fair for everyone involved. I ask myself two questions before buying anything, how individualistic is it and how long would it last?
Q.8 Thoughts on your Doodlage outfit? (the colours, embroidery and the silhouette)
Aliya: The garment is everything me- the colour palette is so soothing and the silhouette is everything you need in summer and can do so much with it in winter as well.
Aalok: The shirt reflects the philosophy of sustainability well and is something I’d wear for years.