Interview with Ms. Shreya Kalra

Shreya Kalra is a first-generation fashion blogger from India, now based out of Amsterdam, who documents her love for fashion and all other miscellaneous things that catch her fancy. This erstwhile lawyer who studied law at Christ College of Law, Bangalore, has to her roster of clients some of the best Indian designers and brands with a global presence. Apart from her blog ‘For the Love of Fashion and Other Things’, she also runs a meet-up and networking initiative for the women of the Netherlands called ‘What’s the Plan NL’. In her career as a fashion blogger spanning ten years, she has been featured in many fashion magazines, newspaper dailies and digital media. 

Q. Please tell us something about yourself and your journey of becoming a fashion blogger. What was your law school experience like? 

Thank you for having me. It was in my third year of law school at Christ College of Law [now School of Law, Christ University] that I decided to finally put together my love for writing and fashion together and start a fashion blog. It was great to finally be doing something on the side that bolstered my love for writing but in a non-law academic fashion. My law school experience was quite enriching, to be honest. Like I mentioned, law school, at least for me was a lot more than just legal education. I got into Parliamentary debating while at law school and also took up a few certificate courses that piqued my interest additionally like Gender and Law. I was also fortunate to have some really great teachers that also helped me have a more well-rounded education apart from just legal studies. Needless to say, I also made friends for life at law school and that’s a big plus too. 

Q. What inspired you to choose law as your career option and what encouraged you to, later on, follow your heart and enter the fashion industry as a blogger? What elements did you factor in before making such an important career decision? 

The funny version of this story is that my Grandfather believed that I loved to argue and had a knack of winning those arguments, so he suggested that I become a lawyer. The serious version is that I had a love for debating, writing and a keen interest in studying the workings of the law because of which my high school counsellor suggested that I explore this field by writing law school entrances. As I said, fashion blogging started as a hobby that turned into a passion before it became my ‘side hustle’. Of course, when it came to deciding whether to move from my job as a legal officer to a fashion blogger full-time, there were many considerations like the future of fashion blogging or digital media in India. Another factor to consider would be the gestation period for when you could probably live off your fashion blog, financially. Luckily for me, both those factors were in my favour at that point of time. 

Q. When did you realize your passion and love for fashion? Was it during your law school or after graduating with a law degree? If it was during law school, how did you manage to balance both?

It was quite easy to juggle law school with my blog at first because it simply started out as a hobby, an outlet for my creative juices if you may. Not to say that I didn’t manage to be consistent still. However, in less than a year’s time, I was receiving opportunities from brands for my blog and that required a lot more of my time and attention. I had extra certificate courses I was doing in law school, interning every semester and doing this on the side. Needless to say, it requires a huge amount of patience and perseverance but it all boils down to how badly you want something. Till my final year of law school, I was torn between a career in human rights law and my fashion blog but I was still juggling both till much later.

Q. Please tell us about your qualities and strengths which made you successful in blogging? Did being a student of the law help you to achieve your goals as a blogger? Were there any unexpected skills you took from law school that you implemented into your entrepreneurial venture?

Blogging for me was an extension of my personality. I wrote because of my love for fashion, but along with it I also brought my unique perspective on topics and personal style to it. As a result of that, my blog (and now social media) traverses subjects more diverse than fashion (lifestyle, travel and life to name a few). My time at law school definitely helped me in some unconventional ways in my pursuit of fashion blogging. Honing my research and writing skills would have to be on the top of that list. Generally speaking, law school also helps you develop a worldlier, more informed view on diverse issues, which is helpful in the long run. It never hurts to have a little background knowledge of working contracts, IPR etc. when it comes to the creative field.

Q. Was the transition from being a lawyer to a fashionista hard for you? Please tell us about any specific incidents in your life which boosted your confidence and encouraged you to keep going?

The transition was not sudden; it was definitely more of a gradual process. I took my time and established myself in the Indian market {back when there were far and few fashion bloggers in the country} both in terms of my work and networking across Bangalore and Delhi {both cities I was blogging out of}. Only when I was certain that I would require little or no help from my parents to sustain my business did I decide to complete my transition from working as a legal officer at SAHRDC {South Asia Human Rights Documentation Centre} to a full-time fashion blogger. 

Q. What has been your most challenging achievement in blogging so far? How did you overcome the setbacks and challenges that you faced while starting out your blog?

Two years back I moved to The Netherlands and that was definitely a jolt for my work. I had been blogging and working on projects with brands across India and globally for a decade and I didn’t know anyone here in Amsterdam to have the same sort of foothold I had in the industry here. The only way to beat a setback like that is to keep working consistently. Connect with people on the internet. Reach out to them and attempt to network with people who genuinely interest you in your industry of work. Tools like Instagram go a long way. Two years in, I not only work with my Indian clients (creating content for them out of Amsterdam), I also work with European clients and simultaneously run a business called ‘What’s the plan NL’; a meet-up and networking initiative for the women in the Netherlands.

Q. What advice do you have for our young and passionate readers who might want to follow your footsteps and work towards making their passion their choice of career?

Let’s start with the obvious: it’s never too late. The internet has more than enough space for different voices and different perspectives. Work on diversifying your skill set. Be consistent with whatever it is that you would like to pursue and always remember that education never goes waste. So a law school degree might not be directly related to what your passion is but it helps to have a back-up plan. Be realistic, do your research and network a lot. 

Find out more about Ms. Shreya Kalra – 

Disclaimer – All views and opinions expressed in this interview are personal and belong solely to the interviewee(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the LAABh Foundation or the individuals and institutions associated with LAABh Foundation.

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