Born and bred in Mumbai, Aashna Shroff is experimental in both her personality and wardrobe choices. Over the years, varied career moves led her to the path destined for her — to London to study fashion — and today, she’s one of India’s highest-followed social media influencers. A favourite of top Indian and international brands, including Gucci, L’Oréal (for whom she walked the ramp in Paris in 2021), Tory Burch, Dior, Jimmy Choo and many others, Aashna’s style game is always on point and rightly sways the choices of those who look to her for OOTD inspiration. Raised by a single mother, she credits her for her creativity, as she shares a number of other intimate details of her life and work.
HELLO!: Aashna, what led you to become a social media influencer?
Aashna Shroff: “I started Instagram on a whim a decade ago. I didn’t think it’d actually lead anywhere, as I was studying interior design at that point. I also really enjoyed fashion, so I shared OOTD photos on a person. Being an introvert, there are times I find it difficult to express myself around unfamiliar company. So fashion’s always been a great form of self-expression. I don’t have a particular sense of style, and I love to experiment with my clothes. That’s also how I’ve always been as a person — I’ve been a preschool teacher; I’ve studied interior design and then photography... There’s a lot more to me than being just a fashion girl, which is why my sense of style also varies from occasion to occasion.”
H!: What, in your opinion, are the biggest misconceptions industry outsiders have about influencers?
AS: “When we started out, we had to repeatedly explain our job and its credibility. But people now know of social media influencers or content creators, whatever you’d like to call it. That misconception has changed over the years. Presently, the misconception is that we don’t work hard, that it’s all about looking good for the camera and clicking pictures to post them online. While it’s easier than a nine-to-five job, we work round the clock, 24x7. Industry outsiders believe we have it easy because they get to see only the perks, not everything that goes on behind the scenes.”
H!: Describe yourself in five words.
AS: “I’m ambitious but also lazy (it’s a terrible combination!), creative, trustworthy and an introvert.”
H!: ‘Fashion is a medium of expression, a tool that reflects one’s personality’ — your comments, please.
AS: “I agree 100 percent. The clothes you wear and your personal style greatly reflect who you are as a person. Being an introvert, there are times I find it difficult to express myself around unfamiliar company. So fashion’s always been a great form of self-expression. I don’t have a particular sense of style, and I love to experiment with my clothes. That’s also how I’ve always been as a person — I’ve been a preschool teacher; I’ve studied interior design and then photography... There’s a lot more to me than being just a fashion girl, which is why my sense of style also varies from occasion to occasion.”
H!: Who are your favourite influencers? Ones whose work and aesthetic you admire...
AS: “I still religiously follow a few I used to follow back when I started almost a decade ago. I love the work that Victoria Magrath does. She still inspires me. I recently fell in love with Leonie Hanne and her style. She’s at the top of her game right now, and I adore the way she effortlessly carries her outfits and creates her content so well.”
H!: Who’s the one fashion savant whose sense of style and confidence inspires you?
AS: “I honestly don’t have one particular person I look up to. I have a lot of different inspirations, though I used to love Blake Lively’s style when I started out. My own wardrobe was very inspired by her at one point.”
H!: Share your thoughts on the growing number of influencer-focussed awards in India. Do you look at them as a form of validation for the work you do?
AS: “It’s amazing that our industry is finally being recognised. I’ve received a few of these awards myself. While it feels surreal, to be recognised for the hard work and effort we put into our job, I don’t think we should look at them as the only form of validation. There are so many creators who truly inspire me and my style and influence my purchases because I discover new products through them. So I don’t think awards are the only form of validation, though they are a great way for us to feel recognised.”
H!: Describe your personal sense of style. How do you like to dress on an everyday basis?
AS: “I’m usually all for comfort first, unless it’s fashion week or a really big event. I don’t have a particular sense of style, but I do love to experiment. My everyday style depends on my mood. When I want to be comfortable, you’ll find me in an oversized sweatshirt and biker shorts, or in a hoodie and joggers. On other days, you’ll find me in printed co-ord sets; they make me happy and look great. I also love long, flowy maxi dresses and midi skirts.”
H!: Do you think the industry is evolving today in terms of inclusivity, or do we have a long way to go in India?
AS: “Yes, I definitely think the industry has evolved in terms of inclusivity, especially when I compare it to how things were when I started out. Whether it’s in the beauty or fashion space, or just social media in general, not only have people become so much more aware, it’s also the most basic expectation consumers have of brands and creators today.”
H!: You’ve worked with some great brands, both Indian and international. Which project did you have the most fun shooting for? Any other big labels in the pipeline?
AS: “I truly feel like the year started off in the best way possible. I can’t name just one because I’ve had the chance to work with some of my favourite brands and design houses. I attended the shows of Hermès, Diesel, Tods and Bally at Milan and Paris, and then attended so many of my favourite Indian designers’ showcases at fashion week in Mumbai, including Manish Malhotra, Tarun Tahiliani, JJ Valaya and more! I also just got to attend the epic Dior show at the Gateway of India. What a lovely evening! I’m now headed for a two-day trip to Singapore with Tory Burch, so I’m very excited!”
H!: Work takes you around the world. Share your most favourite destinations and ones on your bucket list.
AS: “I’ve been to Milan, but I haven’t really explored the rest of Italy. That’s at the top of my list. I also want to see the Northern Lights and make a trip to New Zealand, a part of the world I haven’t yet explored. Among my favourite destinations, Morocco tops my list. I once travelled to Marrakech with Clinique some six or seven years ago. I think about this trip often because it was so memorable. I also travelled for H&M to the desert city of Sedona in Arizona. It was beautiful and an amazing experience. My recent trip to New York with Benefit was also so memorable and so much fun. I got to see a whole other side of NYC and enjoyed every moment.”
H!: What are your other interests? How do you spend your downtime?
AS: “I cannot sit idle. If I don’t have a lot of work to do, which isn’t very often, you’d probably find me looking for different ways to spruce up my house because I love interior design. I’m always looking for inspiration and thinking of ways to make changes here and there. This always uplifts my mood and makes me feel motivated. Otherwise, I enjoy watching thrillers and zombie shows on Netflix.”
H!: Where do you see yourself and your brand in five years?
AS: “In terms of work and my personal brand, there’s quite a lot in the pipeline this year. I don’t wanna share too much, but stay tuned! And over the next five years or 10, I don’t think I’ll stop creating content because I love doing what I do. I don’t think that’s going to change anytime soon.”
This story has been adapted for the website from a story that was originally published in Hello! India’s April 2023 issue. Get your hands on the latest issue right here!
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