the library. It has been a very long summer, but eventually I landed my internship. And here I am: Technical Marketing & PR Assistant for a company where I am treated well and able to learn a lot, I am not there just for filing and coffee runs...” Anjali sums up her story so far. Only five years ago she would have never have imagined she would be so good at marketing, when she first enrolled in a Fashion Design university degree. “Soon after I started, I didn’t like it. It wasn’t as passionate as I anticipated it to be. I felt tutoring wasn’t as helpful as it should be and I didn’t see myself growing there.” So, she decided to tackle the creative industry from the other side of the lens. “I switched to Fashion Promotion and Imaging, which includes marketing & PR, photography, imaging and design new media. I didn’t know I could be interested in the business side of it, but I started loving it and it was an exciting four years. I learned a lot about myself as well, besides enjoying lectures from top names from top brands in the field.” And so, the child model who left the catwalk at the age of 17 with the prospect of pursuing a career in criminal law, abandoned her robe and wig aspirations soon after a negative work-experience placement which made her realise she didn’t want to turn into a “boring suit with no personality underneath”. “My mother entered me in many local pageants, since the age of seven. I was in the likes of Miss Barbie, Miss Youth Centre... My highlight was Miss Glamour in 2005. Being in the spotlight surely helped my confidence. And having seen how much behind-thescenes work is required at a fashion show, I was ready to undertake it.” As part of her field-experience coursework, Anjali helped designer Renee Weston organise the first ever Gibraltar Fashion Week in 2012. “It was one of those Devil wears Prada situations: with a team of just three people, I was on call 24/7 to look after the designers and their garments, cast the models, organise and supervise the launch party and its catering, pick up and drive people and things to and fro the airport... Of course it was experimental and Gibraltar is not Paris or London, so we were pretty much a one-man-band, out on our own and very hands-on. It was hectic, but it taught me to keep calm and collected, and allowed me to build important contacts.” For instance, she met Caprice and Emmanuel Ray. Furthermore, London-based PR director David J Mann took her up for a three-week internship with a fashion scouting agency, where she worked with press and marketing, while meeting celebs and rubbing elbows with the jet-set. Anjali is also an accomplished fashion photographer, despite describing herself as “serious hobbyist with still plenty to learn”. She does fashion-oriented photo-shoots as well as still-life and has built a sizeable portfolio including a collaboration with a fashion designer friend during their university days. “I’m still learning about shutter and light effects, but I tend to take hundreds and hundreds of photos and then pick out just a handful. Even if they look exactly the same,
GIBRALTAR MAGAZINE • MARCH 2014
I’m still learning about shutter and light effects, but I tend to take 100s and 100s of photos and then pick out just a handful. Even if they look exactly the same, there’s always a small difference that makes all the difference
there’s always a small difference that makes all the difference: in natural light, the sun position or the fluidity of the clouds can influence the final outcome of shadows.” She likes to adapt her photography to the
subject, so that she will shoot romantic pastel gowns in suffused lighting and dramatic looks in sharp chiaroscuros. But she admits that fashion photography is not as easy as it looks, because it must extol all the qualities of a garment in a two-dimensional environment, while the live catwalk allows a view from all angles. This implies snapping photos from all angles indeed, and later choose those that best portray its style and make it pop out of the printed page. And she practises what she preaches, as she can also cut and stitch fabrics: “My Mum used to make saris for Indian Gods statues in our home, and I learned how to sew from an early age. I had to make a dress as part of my application package to university and so I did. Anybody can make a dress if they have a vision in mind and a good pattern on paper!” Her dressmaker persona has been parked for the moment, since Anjali is rather preoccupied with SWOT analysis nowadays. Ready to fight — and win — fashion wars...
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