By Shillpi A Singh
Falguni Vasavada-Oza had just left a conference at a Hyderabad hotel and was waiting near the reception lobby when she noticed a woman at the front desk staring at her. “After a while, she walked up to me and asked if I was Falguni of Falguni’s Fashion Fundas. I said ‘yes’ and ‘wow’ in the same breath. It was quite heartening to see my blog’s reach,” says the 43-year-old professor of advertising at MICA in Ahmedabad.
Indeed, Falguni has come a long way, from being shy and inhibited to becoming confident about her curves as time went by. Blessed with a plus-size body, the professor began experimenting with dressing, makeup and accessories a few years ago to inculcate a sense of self-love in herself and also hundreds of others on and off the campus who looked up to her for her out-of-the-box fashion sensibility.
With her bold approach to style, she challenged conventional norms on how one should look, dress, and feel if one is plus-size. She was always the go-to person for any fashion advice for her family, friends and even her students who fondly call her ‘the cool professor’. “I despise the hype around body type. I am against body shaming and find it quite uncouth to comment on someone’s body, hair, skin or frame,” she proclaims.
Buoyed by overwhelming feedback from all corners to her fashion advice, she took to social media to start Falguni’s Fashion Fundas last year. The blog uses fashion as a tool to encourage body positivity, and talks about gender issues and women’s empowerment.
With more than 12000 followers on Twitter, 8000 likes on Facebook and 5000 followers on Instagram, Falguni is surprised at the success she has achieved in a very short period. “I have become a part-time fashion consultant and counsellor for hundreds of women across the globe who seek my advice on life, career, work, and even personal matters,” smiles the social-media influencer.
According to her, fashion is individualistic, and can’t be dictated as per the season’s trends. “You cannot blindly follow what is in trend if it doesn’t suit your identity and image. Wear your style, and what suits you and makes you comfortable,” says Falguni, who is married to her soulmate Dirghayu and lives in Ahmedabad.
Born and brought up in Rajkot, she had a protected and caring childhood. “I was brought up by my grandparents, and being the eldest child in the family, they doted on me,” she says. Armed with a doctorate in advertising, she started teaching in 1998, and joined MICA in 2004. “I learn every day, I evolve every day, and I try to become a better person,” says the multifaceted personality.
Planning and prioritizing are important. They help Falguni manage her time and presence in the offline and online worlds: “I plan weeks ahead. I avoid impromptu events. Wherever possible, I outsource, especially household chores, to focus on high-priority jobs like teaching, speaking and blogging.” In the process, she has become an inspiration for all women, working or not.
Falguni’s energy and enthusiasm are reflected in her smile, appearance and choice of clothes, makeup, and accessories. “I love myself. That’s what catches people’s attention,” says the fun-loving professor.
She urges those who have been a victim of body shaming to stop taking any such unkindness from anyone. “Learn to accept yourself. Self-acceptance will lead to self-admiration, and that will boost self-belief and help project a stronger person to the world. If it is not the best, the best is yet to come,” she says in parting.