As the media industry grows and diversifies, the office dress codes too range from boho chic to GQ. Anything but basic. Schbang a Mumbai based holistic digital solutions agency is one such office where newly minted grads, techies, creative heads and client servicing executives dress up every day in order to both express their fashion sense and present themselves professionally. It is also a leading indicator of the diversity in the team.
The culture here appears increasingly swayed by a relaxed relationship between office and work attire. It’s a come as you are workplace. Every day is fairly casual, unless there’s a special meeting or a visit to the client’s office. Retro Nirvana T-shirts, shorts, rompers and random takes on grunge accentuate the diversity and soul of the organisation as well as the people wearing them.
We spoke to a cross-section of employees and the co-founders to understand how agents of this creative outfit choose to expresses themselves when at work.
Pooja Dani, 23
Web Client Servicing
I am… fun loving, sensitive, fashion forward and quirky.
Fashion for me is: Comfort mixed with style. I like things that are in trend and different. Not the regular run of the mills…but out of the box. All said and done it has to be comfortable and quirky too.
Fashion at work: At Schbang we don’t have to dress formal. You can be as casual or as elegant as you want to be. So people dress up or down depending on how they feel that day. Not everyone’s a hippie!
On a typical workday: It’s a dress or a t-shirt and jeans. We do scrub up for a client meeting, but we definitely maintain our personalities. When I am stepping out for a client meeting it switch over to pants and a nice top. Or a shirt over pants.
Current favourite: I absolutely love the way my white skater dress fits.
Payal Gidwani, 22
Integrated Solutions Strategist
I am… talkative, narcissistic and straightforward. Although I am suffering from an identity crisis currently as I am originally from Panama.
Fashion sensibility: Simple does it for me. If it’s a dress I make sure it’s a single colour and no prints. I am not a jewellery person. When it comes to earrings I stick to studs or none at all. Comfort is prime. So its always flats, never heels. But I like my bling, which can be spotted on my shoes and my finger rings. And yes my nails have to be always painted. So while I keep my clothing simple I spice things up with blingy shoes and statement finger rings.
Work wear: Being a media agency we have the liberty to dress as we like. On a regular workday I wear jeans, a nice top and a pair of keds. Some days it could even be a romper. For a meeting I’d trade the top for a linen shirt.
My go to garment: It’s a yellow Moschino linen pants with lace detailing. I pair it with a black kimono top and they look gorgeous.
Brands I love: I like Zara which is value for money and durable. But the one brand I am really looking to see in India is J Crew.
I splurge on: Ferragamo bags. They never fail to perk me up.
Riya Mashru, 22
Web Client Servicing
I am… Expressive, temperamental and short tempered but calm down really fast. Always smiling, I am never short of words. I love dressing up and never leave home unless I approve of my look – head to toe!
My fashion sensibility: Not subtle but not in your face either. I like to retain an edge in my dressing. I follow a lot of fashion blogs. Being vertically challenged, I specifically keep up to trend with petite fashion. At office it’s either a dress, skirt or palazzo pants. Pastels dominate my wardrobe along with blacks and whites. For a night out it’s either black or navy blue as it suits my skin tone and lifts up my complexion.
The hottest thing in my: That would have to be my Zara skater dress. It fits like a dream and can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. I wear it with a choker to a brunch or with a nice formal leather belt and watch to work. It’s versatile and that’s why I love it.
Brands I am loyal to: Though I am not a brand person H&M, Only and Zara dominate my wardrobe. I love the zippered, fitted pants from Zara.
Fashion icon: Deepika Padukone and Alia Bhatt.
Abhishek Bardia, 23
I am… a simple guy who is restless. Not exactly calm, but composed nevertheless. Logical and creative. I love music, politics and history…not in that order though!
Fashion sensibility: I am particular about the way I dress. I am fashion savvy but not an addict. Watchful of trends but never follow them. I have my own unique style and prefer to stick to it. I like fashion but the obnoxiousness of it all. Get the drift?
Work wear fashion: It’s usually a t-shirt, jeans and sneakers. I like to experiment with minimalistic prints but no slogans. I am a collector of hats. I could walk into a meeting in my shorts. That’s just the way I am and I would like people to accept me for who I am and not what I wear. That’s just a personal choice. I believe this whole social media glare has turned fashion into something too intense. If I have to dress up for a formal occasion I don a pair of pants with a shirt and a jacket.
Ethical fashion: Off late I have been making a conscious effort to detach myself from luxury brands and patronize home grown brands like Mr Button, Rare Rabbit, Roha and so on. These brands are just as cool and have been dishing out some amazing products. I am also veering away from animal products like genuine leather and stick to leather look alike products. When I see people wearing Rs 10,000-15,000 sneakers I wonder what’s the fuss all about when you can find similar products for far lesser. Comfort and looks is all that matters.
I am particular about: Nicely laundered and ironed clothes.
People I admire: People I like and admire for their clothing sense are mostly musicians. But I also like the way Farhan Akhtar and Ranveer Singh dress up.
One thing you will never see me in: Tattered jeans, spiky shoes and loud printed t-shirts.
Sohil Karia, 25
Co-Founder & Chief Design Director
I am… a happy go lucky person who doesn’t let anyone or anything bog me down. Music is my inspiration and it plays a big role in who I am. I generally listen to techno, deep house, alternative rock…
Fashion sensibility: Simple and comfortable defines me. You will never catch me wearing anything loud or flash brands. It has to be subtle. I like solid colours. At the end of the day if you can present yourself and your personality that’s all that matters. On a regular workday its t-shirt and jeans. On occasions when I need to dress it up I go for a well fitted shirt, pants and a jacket with subtle detailing.
Brand mantra: I stick to Giordano for my t-shirts. The length is perfect and the fit is great. I am not open to experimenting too much. I try to stick to trends.
Fast and furious: I am a quick shopper who likes to shop alone. I don’t deliberate much, since I know what I want. I hate shopping with women since they are too opinionated and tend to waste time.
My Quirky side: I like fancy socks. Don’t be shocked if you spot me wearing mismatched socks! I just love to shake things up a bit at times.
I splurge on: T-shirts and track pants.
Leading by example: When I was an employee I would go to work in shorts or track pants. Now that I am running an agency I make sure I am well dressed. You never know when you are supposed to jump into a meeting. But I am not the boss who will pull someone down just because he’s wearing shorts to work.
Akshay Gurnani, 26
Co-Founder & Head of Integrated Solutions
I am… focused and dedicated. I believe you amass as much knowledge and experience as you can when you are young. Travel and photography are my greatest passion.
Fashion sensibility: Classic and simple. I like to be comfortable. I don’t follow trends. I have my three pairs of pants and around 15 t-shirts. A typical workday calls for chinos and a tee. If I am meeting a senior person I may trade the tee for a shirt. I believe appearance matters a lot. First impression is the last impression. A well-groomed person shows that he values aesthetics and takes the effort to invest in himself. And that’s a good thing. On occasions like a wedding I go for a well-fitted shirt and a waist coast with jeans.
If I could wear one piece of clothing for the rest of my life: Blue jeans and white tee.
My shopping haunts: I am not seeking adventure in my clothing. So I find Marks & Spencer and Zara closer to my liking. Adidas is a great option for sporty wear.
My guilty pleasure: Watches. I have a great collection of them.
I’d rather be dead than… be seen in a floral tee. I can wear pink and that’s as far as adventure goes.
Icons I look up to: I admire Mark Zuckerberg and the late Steve Jobs. So simple yet so iconic.