All those beautiful models on screen, on print, on huge billboards, they attract your attention for a while but disappear with another flip of a page, a click of a button, a swift turn from the road. Ever wondered how much work goes on behind making each one of them so irresistibly beautiful? There are very few people who can make your heart smile every time you look at them. They have the power to move your insides…your heart of hearts and that my friend is what beauty really is. Neha is the girl behind the beautiful models you see on print and on billboards. While their beauty bask in the sun and moon looking down at people who admire them, the person who makes them beautiful quietly smiles at what she has created and moves on to make another person beautiful. Neha has the appreciation, sensitivity, and an understanding of life that motivates her to make other people look and feel beautiful. Its like her heart is filled with compassion, gentleness, and a deep concern for people to make them beautiful, confident and strong. Maybe thats why they say….beautiful people do not just happen.

Neha Gandhi

Who is Neha?

I am basically defined by my family and friends. Being a stylist is something I love but I wouldn’t have found styling if it wasn’t for the constant encouragement of my family and friends. Since childhood I was always encouraged to follow my dreams and do something I love. I tried different things, made mistakes.. lots of them, but still always knew that I had my family to fall back on. To encourage me to get back up and fight and try again. I have always loved clothes from the time I can remember and dreamt of having a walk-in closet.. I still dream of having it :) but more than anything else I loved having my family and friends around. They are the ones who pushed me to continue styling even when I had started doubting myself.

Sonika in Pro Kabaddi / Styled by Neha
‘The love of family and the admiration of friends is much more important than wealth and privilege.’

After I came back from Mumbai I thought my styling career was over because I felt no one would understand what styling is in Kolkata but my friends and family, especially my brother, Anil kept pushing me to try and try till I could find work in Kolkata. My brother has been one of my biggest strengths and without his encouragement and support, I would not be where I am today. My family and friends are hands on involved in the work I do today, my Nani still tears pages from magazines to show me the new designs and the clothes celebrities are wearing. My family has always been supportive and go out of their way to make my travel easy and safe, help me in my shoots and back me up whenever I doubt myself. I still remember being extremely anxious and going to my best friend, Devanshi’s house to cry before I styled for my very 1st event in Kolkata. I am very passionate about my work and I keep pushing myself to work harder each time and even though I want to do a fabulous job at it, I really just want to make my family and friends super proud. They are my biggest critics and my biggest fans and I know that whatever I am today, I owe it all to them.

Styled by Neha
You are never too old to go after your dream or maybe dream a new dream.

I was in Xavier’s pursuing B.Com that time and had gone on a trip to Mumbai where I met a stylist. That was when I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life!

Rukmini Maitra styled by Neha

Whenever people ask me what I do for a living, I get two kinds of reaction.

1. From people who understand what a stylist does: “Oh so you only have to shop — what fun!”

2. From people who don’t understand what a stylist does: “Ok, so are you a designer?”

It’s not just the shopping and no I am not a designer, the work I do like any other job takes a lot of research, a lot of trial and error and you have to keep learning. There is no end to knowledge and you have to keep learning about new trends and styles and be updated all the time.

Style is the difference, a way of doing, a way of being done.

It is a lot of handwork but I won’t disagree with the fact that if you love it, it’s a lot of fun too. I started styling in 2012 in Mumbai under Celebrity Stylist, Tanya Ghavri and after moving back to Kolkata I started my own brand called The Bridal Closet in the end of 2015.

The Bridal Closet look

Indian Weddings have become very important these days. Brides to be who have dreamt of fairytale weddings all their life are making sure they look the best on their most important day. They’re hunting for ideas, flipping through magazines, browsing online, checking Instagrams of married friends (and strangers). The Bridal Closet was born because I started realising that all these brides started dressing for their weddings in the same way…it seemed almost monotonous to me. They were just playing it safe and going with tried and tested looks instead of being themselves and expressing who they are.

This, I realised might have been due to lack of exposure to affordable designers or being tied up with the nitty-gritty for their wedding. This was how I decided to go ahead with Bridal Closet- a one-stop solution to Bridal Styling. We, at Bridal Closet give the brides exposure to different collections from different designers from all over India and the looks are carefully curated according to what is best suited for their body type. No more flipping of magazines and dreaming of what they might look like in them.

“I am a fashion person, and fashion is not only about clothes — it’s about all kinds of change”

I believe that brides go through so much change during and after a wedding and so Im just here to help make their lives easier so they have one less thing to worry about. I try and make sure they look like a dream and more for every function they step out for.

A bride styled by Bridal Closet
‘Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.’

My main inspiration is drawn from my surroundings. I notice people in my house, walking on the road, in a movie, my neighbours, friends, on my travels and everyone I come across. Each person has their own unique sense of style which comes out in the way they dress, knowingly or unknowingly.

‘To me, clothing is a form of self-expression — there are hints about who you are in what you wear.’

The way you dress describes a lot of things — the kind of personality traits you have, the mood you might be in that day or even the phase of life you are in. My job is to understand the needs and comfort zone of the client and then help them take it to the next level so it’s very important for me to have an open mind. Noticing people and how they dress helps me t incorporate a persons personal style and a reflection of who they are in the way I style them.

“It’s not very easy to grow up into a woman. We are always taught, almost bombarded, with ideals of what we should be at every age in our lives: “This is what you should wear at age twenty”, “That is what you must act like at age twenty-five”, “This is what you should be doing when you are seventeen.” But amidst all the many voices that bark all these orders and set all of these ideals for girls today, there lacks the voice of assurance.’

Seeing how unsafe women feel in their own homes today is something that baffles me. I have been in touch with NGO’s and schools looking into the growth of girls and always want to be a part of it. I love how Girls For Tomorrow held Self Defence classes for young girls to learn how to protect themselves. Girls shouldn’t be told what to wear and how to dress because that is a reflection of them and their personality, rather teaching them how to protect themselves and fight back is what is important. I believe every person has the capability of making a difference however small or big it may be. All of us should do our bit and I am sure one day the world will definitely be a better place to live in.

‘Always know that the heart talks to you for a reason and its your responsibility to listen to its beats and understand what its trying to tell you.’

I know a lot of people who are quitting their jobs and are following their dreams. I do believe the level of opportunity that creative people get in India is increasing and people want to live their life doing something they love rather than be stuck in a rut. I have utmost appreciation for every profession but I believe that people should do what they love you know because then they will excel in it for sure. Even if you have a desk job you can be happy as long as you love doing it.

Saachi Bhasin styled by Neha

Styling is not at all as easy as it sounds and sometimes it takes longer than you think before things start catching up but in the end it’s worth the wait — So hang in there, have faith in God and yourself and keep trying cause if you are passionate, it will work out for you and remember you are never alone, you are not the only one going through the turmoil so instead of beating yourself up, get up get a hold of yourself and prepare to fight back and slog slog slog coz in the end darling, YOU WILL SHINE!!

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