As South Asian culture becomes more mainstream, we can’t help but notice South Asians (from the USA to India) in the forefront and their contributions to our society as a whole! Our new series, “Bibi Blab,” is our way of getting our readers talking about what we’re excited about—from influential individuals worth knowing to important news that’s currently trending—feel free to share your thoughts with the hashtag #BibiBlab on social media.
Our top three South Asians in media that we’re currently obsessed with, and believe you should keep an eye on, are:
• M. Night Shyamalan – the Indian-American director (of Malayalee and Tamilian descent) is set to resurrect HBO’s early 1990s television series, “Tales From The Crypt,” for a new generation of viewers on TNT! The show was based on the 1950s bi-monthly horror comic series, created by William Gaines and published by EC Comics. The new television series, led by TNT, is set to launch this fall. TNT has also announced that the show will be a forerunner to a two-hour horror block, curated by M. Night Shyamalan himself. For fans of the crypt keeper and his grim tales, you’ll be disappointed to know that the crypt keeper will not be making an appearance, since the puppet (designed by special-effects technician Kevin Yagher) is the property of HBO. But, TNT executives have stated that the new series will make use of the original comic anthology, while creating new stories, as well – utilizing digital and social media for an anomalous strategy in audience participation.
• Priyanka Chopra – the model turned Bollywood actress and singer is best known for winning the Miss World pageant in 2000. But, in 2015, she was the first South Asian woman to headline a major American television network series! Now, the lead actress of ABC’s “Quantico” is in talks to star in“Baywatch” – a big screen rendition, by Paramount, of the early 1990s television series about lifeguards who patrol the beaches of Los Angeles County. Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron are also slated to star in the film, which will be directed by Seth Gordon and set to release next year. Shockingly, Priyanka Chopra will be playing the villain, and even more importantly… this will be the starlet’s first English-language feature debut!
Additionally, she’s the first South Asian woman to win a People’s Choice award and she’s one of five women gracing (U.S.) Elle Magazine’s annual “Women in TV” cover this month! (The other stars include: Viola Davis, Olivia Wilde, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Taraji P. Henson.)
• Suket Dhir – the New Dehli-based menswear designer may not be quite as “mainstream” as the other two names we mentioned, but he’s soon to be a household name, at least to those who adore style and fashion. He recently won the 2016 International Woolmark Prize in Florence, Italy for his contemporary take on merino wool! While the designer represented India, Pakistan, and the Middle East in the regional final, he competed against some of the best in the menswear industry: Munsoo Kwon (Asia), P. Johnson (Australia), Agi & Sam (British Isles), Jonathan Christopher (Europe), and Siki Im (USA). As homage to his grandfather, Suket Dhir’s collection featured super-loose pants and tailored jackets in dyed and woven wool from southern India. Eric Jennings, director of menswear at Saks Fifth Avenue, stated: “… what allowed him to win was his emotion, his passion, and the romance.” Additionally, his capsule collection will be sold in some of the world’s most prestigious department stores and boutiques, including MatchesFashion.com, Tokyo’s Istean Mitsukoshi, Sydney’s David Jones, New York City’s Saks Fifth Avenue, and Milan’s 10 Corso Como.
His eponymous label, SUKETDHIR, founded in 2009, has an aesthetic that is best described as “Indo-centric western menswear.” His designs conjoin regional, artisanal techniques and indigenous, breathable fabrics (i.e. linen, cotton, wool, silk, bamboo, and hemp) with western silhouettes and cuts. Suket Dhir also runs a wedding wear and womenswear capsule, however his priority is to create pieces not already offered in the Indian fashion market, specifically in regards to menswear. Simplicity and clothing for the daily lifestyle are his main focus. But, even more importantly, as a slow-fashion evangelist, he understands the link between awareness and responsibility! In the “slow fashion” approach—a term coined by design activist Kate Fletcher—designers, buyers, retailers, and consumers are more aware of the impacts of products on the workers, communities, and ecosystems. (To develop further insight into this issue, we suggest watching “The True Cost,” a 2015 documentary, directed by Andrew Morgan – it’s currently playing on Netflix!)
What we really love is that Suket Dhir is all about creating ensembles that can be sustained for years, and he believes in transparency—agreeing that consumers should be aware of the entire process from design to production of a garment! He carefully handpicks fabrics to ensure they will last years in your wardrobe, aging as gracefully as the wearer, and best of all… he tests his designs and fabrics by wearing his creations for months. He equates the slow-fashion movement with spiritual consciousness—just as you would do yoga or buy organic produce to adopt a healthier lifestyle, so too should you detox your wardrobe and recondition smarter shopping habits! We couldn’t agree more.
Who are your top three South Asians in media to keep an eye on, and what do you think of our three choices of M. Night Shyamalan, Priyanka Chopra, and Suket Dhir?
Let us know your thoughts and join the conversation, using the hashtag: #BibiBlab