The Circle


Meher Varma, Brand Consultant

Talks to us about dressing thoughtfully and rethinking brand identities

Meher wears a jumpsuit by Payal Singhal

Q How did you move from anthropology to brand consulting?

A. When I was doing my fieldwork, I was working with a lot of brands, and was spending a lot of time behind the scenes. I realized was getting better insight into brands than these PR, traditional, superficial approaches to things. So I started telling people what I thought their brands were really about. I recognized that there was a big need for it. It also met my desire to do something not purely textual, something that has an impact I can see.

Q What are some of the brands you work with?

A. I work with Klove, which is a lighting company. I am finishing a project with Kama Ayurveda, and then along the way I’ve also worked with Bodice, with Ogaan, and with Bina Modi.

Q What’s your ideal project?

A. I’m very happy with the Kama project. It was something I was thinking about for a long time, and it was kind of funny that it came my way so quickly. I really like working with established brands who think that they have their stories all figured out, who feel like they don’t need any changes – it’s very interesting to find a very different story for them. New brands are always very hip, they’re very plugged it, so it’s a little more challenging.

Q Tell us about your personal style.

A. I have a very thoughtful relationship to clothes because I study them. I would say that I dress very mindfully. I always try and think about clothes as symbols. So if I’m forced into a uniform, I always do something that makes fun of it. For example, if I have to wear a collared shirt, I’d like the collar to be made out of pearls, or sometimes I have funny socks under my formalwear – I like it to be an inside joke. It’s kind of selfish, I’d say – I dress selfishly, it’s always just between me and my clothes.

Q Which brands are you loyal to?

A. I really love Pero – not only because of her clothes, but because she’s done something important for fashion, which is to make it about feeling good, rather than just looking good. Her aesthetic is very honest. Raw Mango is a brand that I really love, although saris are really not my thing. I like people who take risks.

Q What did you love from what you wore for the shoot?

A. The Payal Singhal outfit is really reminiscent of an older era. I can imagine dancing in it. It passes the tradition test as well. It reminds me of a Helen song – I want to wear a wig with it, it’s very playful. It’s kind of a fantasy outfit. The Rahul Mishra top is like my safety outfit – super comfortable. I love the embroidery, and his sense of colour. I find his use of white very on point. The Dhora round earrings are just the best earrings ever. I love everything to do with fish, and fish accessories, so I love those earrings too.