Deepen Sharma is a gender-fluid fashionista, from the city of Mumbai, India. He completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Fashion/Apparel Design and Pattern Making from Mod’Art International India. He is an aspiring Couturier and a Fashion Illustrator who teaches in a Fashion Institute. With the position of a teacher who teaches fashion, comes the responsibility of understanding body, culture, and preaching the acceptance of diversity.
Is fashion easy? Is it hard? How do you decide someone is fashionable or not? What does fashion mean to those who are transitioning? Those who don’t identify with a gender? Is fashion really as important as we have seen, heard, and experienced it to be? Can fashion really help the LGBTQ+? Deepen has all the answers.
I know this is a bit cliche, but I think it is important, What is fashion about? What does it mean to you?
Fashion extends from daily practical use of clothing to a form of Self-Expression. It is super subjective and has the liberty to be extremely personalized. For me, Fashion is about being who I am and everything I can be, putting on outfits (a look) that make me feel confident. A form of Self-Love and Self-Representation.
What is your take on Gender-neutral Clothing?
I’m all in for Gender-neutral clothing. It is about pushing the stereotypical boundaries of how a man and a woman are supposed to dress, but on the other hand, some ‘Gender-neutral lines’ miss the whole point while trying to put everyone in a Baggy Hoodie and Long-Sleeved T-shirts. There needs to be more, I would love to see a Dress or Skirt on the rack in the Men’s section (designed for men’s bodies). Because having a choice to find and express one’s individuality, especially through clothing, has so much power and beauty all tied together to create a change for a ‘Better Now and a Greater Tomorrow’; not just for self, but for everyone else around. It’s just a matter of personal acceptance and choice of wanting to be yourself and not like someone else.
Since Fashion is dominantly considered to be for those who fit into certain body standards, how do you have the conversations of body acceptance in the field of fashion?
Fashion can be a tool to boost one’s confidence, and weapon to lower one’s self-esteem too.
Social movements like Body Positivity is really pushing the needle forward and embracing every size that has always been outside the “standard size”. In recent years, a lot of Designers and Brands have been celebrating diversity and inclusiveness, and that goes to show that fashion truly is meant for everyone. I have always believed ‘Staying Inspired to Inspire’ is the key to create a change that can cause positive ripples.
How do you think people who are transitioning can make themselves feel more feminine/masculine through clothes?
Identify what is your goal, what is the look that YOU would like to go for, something subtly feminine/ masculine, something that clearly states that you’re a Male or a Female, something androgynous, non-conforming or purely aesthetics. Then identify what kind of style do you prefer, like, and feel confident in, knowing your body and understanding what colors look the best for you skin tone are the basis of picking any clothes.
Here are a few things people who are transitioning can keep in mind (especially early stages), smaller things are more important than the clothes to create the desired appearance, like shaping and grooming your eyebrows, taking care of your skin, different hairstyles or investing in an expensive synthetic wig. Carrying a good Handbag, neutral tones work the best until you get comfortable exploring more. Posture is super important it adds more life to the clothes you are wearing.
Personally, I Identify as Gender-fluid, so I love to create an hourglass shape, using a belt to cinch my waist, big earrings that dangle over my neck and heels that give me a posture that makes me feel elegant, makes me feel more feminine. A basic T-shirt and jeans, something that has more comfort, something that gives me a broader appearance, I also opt for flat shoes and a wallet, with barely any makeup on the days I lean towards on a bit masculine side.
What are the must-haves in any man and woman’s cupboard to up their fashion quotient?
A closet should include a bunch of versatile pieces and enough Statement pieces
Must-haves in a Man’s closet.
1. A Black Leather Biker’s Jacket
2. A Jewel Tone Bomber Jacket
3. A Deep Navy Blue Tailored Suit
4. A Well-fitting Chinos
5. A Dark Grey Sweatshirt
6. A Sleek Watch (Silver)
7. A pair of White Tennis shoes
8. At least 1 Printed shirt
9. Black Skinny jeans
10. A good pair of Sunglasses
Must-haves in a Woman’s closet
1. A Slip Dress
2. A Sleek pair of closed-toe Heels
3. A Black Leather Biker’s Jacket
4. 1 Statement piece/dress that needs nothing else
5. An Oversize Blazer
6. Anything Print on Print
7. Little Black Dress but a bit sexy
9. A Solid Colored Textured Top
10. 1 medium-sized Black handbag
And anything or everything from above for all my Non-binary friends.
What are the rules you follow while wearing any outfit?
– With a few faux-pas in the past, there are a few things I personally follow as a ritual when I’m dressing myself.
1. Create shapes: I always try to make my legs look longer, so I usually opt for high-waist pants with Heels.
2. I Refrain from wearing Skinny jeans with Flat shoes, that makes my feet look bigger than they actually are.
3. Accessorize with a little bling it never fails to amplify the look/
4. I always try to match the color of my nails to either the belt, the bag, socks, earrings or the eye-shadow I’ll be wearing.
5. I also keep in mind to accentuate one of the body parts at a time, it’s all about having one focal point, so the overall look doesn’t go overboard.
6. Lips tend to get dry real quick so I always carry a lip balm and a portable bottle of perfume, it’s an instant mood booster.
Cupboard capsule that one can maintain at work to switch from a formal outfit to a party outfit.
What works best for turning your formal outfit into a party look is ‘Layering’.
For the Women
– 1 killer pair of Black Stilettos (they are versatile and you can never go wrong with them)
– A good shade of Red/ Burgundy Lipstick (My personal favorite is ‘Red Carpet’ by Bobbi Brown)
– A Slip top (it takes lesser space and you can pair it with a Blazer for a formal look)
– A few Accessories! A necklace, flattering earrings, bracelets, a few rings or anything else that is your style.
For the men
– A Bomber Jacket, throw on a bomber jacket on anything and it adds more to the look, even over a formal shirt
– 1 well-fitting printed shirt
– Chinos, they go with anything from a T-Shirt to anything formal
– A good pair of sneakers, Shoes have the power to make or break a look.
And anything or everything from above for all my Non-binary friends.
Colors/patterns of the season
A few of my Favorite trends for Fall 2019 are
1. Punk – Outfits that say rebellious, a bit boxy, black with bold colors, studs, going towards an androgynous path.
2. Shoulder pads – Think 1980’s, it’s a revival. The power, shoulder pads add to any look, is something you shouldn’t be missing out on.
3. Tailored – The beauty of tailored looks is that, it’s sculpted for your body, its all for you. A Trouser that sits perfect on your waist, or a long jacket that hugs your body just right and anything in between.
4. Jewel tones! Treat yourself with at least one monochromatic jewel tone piece.
5. Leopard Spots – If you’re feeling bold, don’t think two times, A leopard print Jacket will come in handy for the long run.
Is there something called a Gay man’s style? What’s the OG gay man look, if you had to picture one?
I’m not quite sure about “A” gay man’s outfit anymore at least at this time and age, but I’m pretty aware of a dressing style that goes parallel to different tribes in the Gay community (Twinks, Otters, Queens, Jocks, etc.)
It can range anywhere from fitted crop tops with hot shorts and shoes, or an all the way buttoned-up shirt with a bow and a trouser. or an Overtly fitted V-neck T-shirt with similarly fitted jeans. But A lot of people put time and effort in creating their own individual look or a style that they themselves can identify with. So for me an, “OG gay man look” doesn’t quite exist.
What is your fashion mantra?
Make sure your Willpower game is strong but your outfit game is Stronger.
What are your views on FSOG being an enabling platform for the LGBTQ+ community in India?
The initiative FSOG has taken of communicating with different individuals from the community was much needed in our country. Nothing is as powerful as helping people speak their mind, their truth, for someone out there to relate or learn, so a stronger chain is formed and a message is passed on. I’m all in for Awareness over Ignorance.