When you first meet Riaan, you come across a guy who is both effortless and dapper. And unlike most first impressions, this is one that lasts after you’ve bid goodbye. Starting his journalism career at a young age of 20, Riaan is one of the few names in this industry who has a hold on the domain he covers — lifestyle, luxury and aviation. That’s also the reason why he’s been given the moniker ‘Grooming Guru’. There’s something unusually pleasant is his simplicity that runs in parallel with his luxurious lifestyle. Sitting at Mojo’s Bistro, a quaint rooftop café located in Mumbai, and talking all things luxury and style, Riaan gave us an insight on his ever-so-busy blogging career and how his style has evolved over the years. We chatted with India’s leading men’s luxury and lifestyle blogger to find out what exactly goes into making that social media-envious life, his love for travelling, and a lot more.
You are one of the first bloggers in the Indian blogosphere. How and why did you decide to take up luxury as your beat?
I started my career in 2003 with a French luxury magazine, L’Officiel India and worked with them for 10 years. From day one, I was covering the luxury beat. So, by the time I was 20, I was introduced to the journalism world and kind of just learnt on the job. I didn’t cover hard-core fashion or even food, but the luxury industry has been something I have tracked since 2003 and eventually grew extremely fond of it.
The posts on your blog Urban Eye also cover fields like aviation, style, food among others. That’s a number of segments…how do you prioritise your articles?
Hmm, that’s an interesting question. As and when an interesting story comes about, I end up filing it. It is a personal blog so I don’t really have a schedule to post five or six blog posts a day. It depends on the content I have. There is a certain discipline I maintain on social media. But with respect to the blog, I try and keep a minimum of a certain number of posts per month.
Tell us how you’d define your personal style?
I am a minimalist in my style. Everyone thinks that a style blogger has to be flamboyant and OTT. But the truth is, showcasing discreet elegance can also make a statement.
You’re also called the ‘Grooming Guru’. How did that moniker come about?
Well, that’s because I have been writing a lot on grooming products and styling tips for men. I was also working as a grooming consultant for a number of hospitality and luxury brands.
Given your interest in grooming, what’s your morning regime like?
I need my double espresso with a shot of milk to function in the morning. Then I just get ready and start working. If I’m working from home, I usually get to my desk. However, if I have an event or meeting to attend, I get dressed. Obviously putting myself together is an important part of my mornings. In terms of grooming, I make sure my hair is neat and tidy, and my beard well-groomed and trimmed. Even if I’m keeping a stubble I make sure it looks neat.
Since you’re also a style blogger, tell us that one ideal outfit for a man going on his first date?
A well-fitting pair of denim, a shirt with a belt and shoes. Definitely not a T-shirt, please. I think you can keep it simple but really classy. You can even throw on a blazer if you are going to a really fancy place. Avoid a tee, sneakers, flip-flops or shorts on your first date.
Recently, we did a story on how men can wear shorts without looking like a boy. What’s your take on it?
I LOVE SHORTS and I wear it all the time. Firstly, the fit of the shorts is the most important element. You could be wearing the most expensive pair of shorts with the most extravagant shoes but if your shorts are sloppy, it will look bad. If you have smart shorts that are just the right length, you can pair it with a cool pair of sneakers or even loafers. Opt for linen, denim or a plain cotton tee to go with it.
What is Riaan like when he is neither working nor travelling?
I am a total homebird and am quite low profile when I’m not working. It’s either me sitting at home reading books or listening to music. I spend my evenings either running or working out. I also study Italian and French in my free time.
Would you ever use a digital closet app like WODROB?
Honestly, because I’m in the industry I feel that I’m capable of picking out and curating my own wardrobe. But I do see that there are a lot of people who might not have the confidence to pick out their looks. For them, it’s really important; and it is a great idea. Many Indian men could use the tips and help they get to put together a good wardrobe.
This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.