Gender neutral fashion designer rated among top Indian fashion bloggers.

© 2017 | Purushu Arie


We live in a society where people can’t survive without judging another person. People are judged and stereotyped on basis of gender, culture, race, sexuality and every other possible human identity. Every one of us must have experienced it some time in our daily walk of life.
Four years ago, I migrated from Chennai to New Delhi to pursue graduation in fashion design from NIFT New Delhi – STOP!

Fashion Design? Isn’t that something only girls study?
Fashion Design? Why do you wanna become a tailor?
Fashion Design? It’s expensive. The course is only for riches who spend lavishly!
Fashion Design? Dude! Fashion designers are gay. Don’t!
Fashion Design? Fashion design students smoke, dope and are alcoholic. Don’t get in there. Don’t.
From a distant aunt’s cousin’s son’s brother-in-law to auto drivers who drop me at college, I’ve heard it everywhere and from almost everyone.

When I joined my college in Delhi, I was a ‘Madrasi’ who spoke ‘South Indian’ and was asked if I really apply coconut oil in hair and use the same coconut-oil to cook idli-vada-sambar!! Leave alone the ‘Anna Rascala Mind-It’ dialogue which I had never known before watching Om Shanti Om!

There are more than enough stereotypes out there.


In a college which has a healthy female population, one cannot help but take pity over the ridiculous stereotyping of women. You don’t have to term a girl as ‘behenji‘ just because she is simple, studious, doesn’t date and wears ethnic clothes. And neither do you have to judge a girl as ‘slut’ just because she dresses up, looks good, has a boyfriend,  is social and smokes or drinks. It is about an individual’s choice. Walk a mile in their shoes before judging and stereotyping. If you don’t know the person, ask the person. If you don’t agree with the person, talk to the person. If you don’t like it, say it in person. You don’t have to keep silent and judge the person. If you decide to sit back and judge me, you are not describing me as a person, but in turn describing who YOU are!
With growing exposure towards the fashion industry over the years, I was also exposed to some of the most insensitive stereotyping on basis of looks, gender and sexuality! Men in fashion industry are very often stereotyped for being gay. A man who likes to dress up and look good need NOT be gay. Only thing it says about him is that he likes to himself and look presentable. Straight, gay, bi, asexual, pansexual…. anybody may belong to fashion industry.

In India, the concept of beauty itself is highly stereotyped with fair skin. It might be because of the fact that we were predominantly ruled by light-skinned foreigners throughout the course of our history that fair skin is bluntly associated with superiority and henceforth, prettiness (and the entire nation is obsessed with fairness creams). Thanks to Bollywood beauties like Kajol, Bipasha Basu, Deepika Padukone etc. for showing us that dusky skin is exotic, hot and one need not have a fair complexion to look beautiful!

I couldn’t help but share this visual from a magazine-shoot featuring Tara Lynn who shut down all those who associated size with beauty!  Tara looked gorgeous and boosted confidence in millions of plus sized women. She set an example and made millions of teenage girls who are lavishly under diet. Being skinny is unhealthy and has got nothing to do with looking beautiful. Beauty is independent of colour or size. Plus sized women are NOT ugly! Big is beautiful too. (Oh. Please leave Aishwarya Rai alone! She just gave birth to a baby. A healthy mom is all that a child needs to stay healthy and sound. I am sure, Mrs. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan knows better than any of us on when to gain or loose weight. It is an individual’s choice. Society should accept the person for what they are and stop judging!)

Like I had quoted earlier, “There are more than enough stereotypes out there”.
Stereotypes based on race/nationality.
* All Middle Easterners  are terrorists – How is that fair?
* All black people are good at sports.
* All Asians are studious, have squinty eyes and speak the same language – Ignorance!
* Africans commune with wild animals in day to day life while Indians still drive elephants – Heights of ignorance!
Stereotypes based on gender/sexuality.
* All gay men are feminine – They simply aren’t!
* All women love to cook and clean – Sick mentality.
* Women in power are mean, lonely and bitchy – Straight out of jealously?
* All step-mothers are wicked and cruel – Seriously? Are we still stuck up with Cinderella stories for 5yr olds?
* All men are tough and a real man doesn’t cry.
Stereotypes based on physical appearance.
* Blonde women are dumb – How exactly is hair colour supposed to decide a person’s intelligence?
* People sporting deadlocks smoke weed.

Before stereotyping next time, think if you would liked to be judged the same way. Let us spread the word and create awareness. When I was stereotyped for being a non-Hindi speaker, I did feel offended but also bothered to patiently explain almost everyone who had such queries and today things have changed drastically! Most of my friends in college can now not only differentiate between Tamil and Telugu but have this cult following for the Southern film industry! Life has drastically changed over the last three years. I penned my first blogpost on 11th April 2009. I’ll be entering 4th year of fashion blogging in a couple of days and my blog titled DESIGNER PURUSHU is now PURUSHU ARIE.

It is time to start respecting ourselves for who we are.

It is time we stopped and actually got to know the INDIVIDUAL and not the STEREOTYPE!

So what is the worst kind of stereotyping you have dealt with? Do share with me and also remember to share this post and pass on the message.

Purushu Arie

P.S. Do check out this facebook album titled “Time to Change“. Share and spread the message 🙂