BY VICKY MCFARLANE
Vivacious 25-year-old style blogger Ashwathy Shyamkumar exudes the passion of a person that is doing exactly what she loves – and she loves a lot! She is a full time brand manager for a prominent retail brand, the official ambassador of a leading salon, and the brainchild behind increasingly popular BlogSpot ‘Ask the Style Council’. The former Indian School student and Mount Carmel College Bangalore Master of Arts Fashion School Graduate is living life to the fullest, taking the challenges of the fast paced life of the fashionista in her uber stylish stride!
Graduating from fashion school with the ‘Best Designer’ award, Ashwathy returned to her home Bahrain where she showcased her unique designs at Bahrain Fashion Week 2010. The positive response from her first real foray into a career in fashion inspired the artist to start sharing her passion for all things stylish on her BlogSpot, ‘Ask the Style Council’, a platform she uses to share her personal style notes, photo shoots, beauty product reviews, and most recently local restaurants and homegrown companies. It also provides a glimpse into the real, un-photoshopped life of a stylish young woman who simply loves fashion and wants to help every woman look and feel great.
What started out as a mere hobby has become an all-encompassing passion for Ashwathy, one that that has seen her popularity on social media, particularly instagram, skyrocket, while her mailbox has become inundated with invitations to the hottest, most glamorous style events in the Kingdom. From fashion shows to restaurant openings and 5 star hotel launches, Ashwathy can be seen looking fresh and fabulous, with her photographer, an integral part of her ‘Ask the Style Council Crew’, in tow.
Considering the highly social aspect of the blogger’s work, and the fact that all the fashion posts on her blog feature herself as the model, you would be forgiven for assuming that Ashwathy loves the limelight. You might even think that the gorgeous designer has aspirations to become a model, however this could not be further from the truth! “I am extremely camera shy” she exclaims. “My first photographer for my blog was my sister, so I felt a little more comfortable, however when she left for America I managed to convince my best friend from high school to work with me. I don’t feel comfortable with anyone else taking my photo!”
As well as her best friend the photographer, ‘Ask the Style Council’ crew also consists of her Location Manager, who scouts for the coolest locations in the Kingdom for the Blog’s weekly fashion shoots. “Bahrain is a beautiful island,” says Ashwathy. “There are so many great locations to choose from for our shoots, however I really love Reef Island, the Botanical Gardens in Budaiya, and the Rotana at Amwaj Island, so I use these locations a lot”.
Working Monday to Friday at her full time job, Ashwathy and her crew usually get together on Sundays to pick out outfits, scout for locations, conduct photo shoots, and prepare the blog posts. Although this sounds like a hectic way to enjoy your day off, Ashwathy wouldn’t have it any other way. “I love the whole process, from putting together the outfit for the day, to setting up the camera, discovering great locations, and doing the photo shoot, but what really makes me come alive is when it all comes together and readers comment on my posts. I love knowing that people find what I do helpful and inspiring!”
And the blog really is a practical and inspiring guide to looking, and feeling, good. From showcasing how to put together simple yet stylish casual looks, to party wear and formal attire that won’t break the bank, ‘Ask the Style Council’ really is a fashion blog that makes a well put together style accessible to everyone. Underscoring her belief that a great wardrobe doesn’t have to cost a mint, Ashwathy admits that most of her pieces come from high street fashion retailers. “I absolutely love mixing and matching high street pieces with high end designers!” she enthuses. “Many high street brands offer a great collection, are edgy and affordable.”
In addition to showcasing her own unique style in fashion, the blog features DIY tutorials, including posts that teach viewers how to create chic hairstyles, and inventive ways to achieve great looks on a budget. Ashwathy recently branched out to include posts featuring local dining hotspots and homegrown brands. “I like to support local business through my blog, however if I don’t genuinely love the product or place I won’t feature it in my posts” she adds earnestly. I don’t get paid for promoting brands on my blog. I do it out of a genuine passion for sharing the best Bahrain has to offer with my readers. They know that if I love it, it’s good. Building that trust is very important to me.”
Keep up to date by following Ashwathy via:
George Mathew and Suaad Mohd Fairouze
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