Aakanksha Tavag
Doodlepro. Nature Bug. Designer of Things.

By the People is an interactive series where we bring you the most prodigious individuals from different walks of life. In this third edition, the multi-faceted, winsome, effervescent Aakanksha Tavag gives us a barnstormer view of her zen-soaked designer life and her choicest picks from the Unfactory collection.

On life. Laughs. And loves.

Unfactory: By the People - Aakanksha Tavag - ProfileOn social media, my description goes: Designer | Illustrator | Photographer | Traveller | Animal Person | Foodie. While this is all me, with all of these somehow sitting together on the top spot when it comes to order of importance, I’ve excluded a few things here. I’m an avid tea drinker; love music, reading, driving, basketball, and am quite the social butterfly. Also, must admit, I’m a bit of a Monica when it comes to neatness (yes, I think F.R.I.E.N.D.S is the best show ever made) and also a not-so-much-in-the-closet Grammar Nazi.

My ideal day would feature sipping tea on a “couples” beanbag (you know what I’m talking about – the larger-than-life size beanbags) with the boy, cat in my lap and dog curled up at my feet, book lying face down, forgotten for the moment while we watch Planet Earth together, letting Sir David Attenborough’s lovely voice wash over us as we journey with him through the most beautiful spots in the world. This, followed by a round of drinks and sumptuous dinner with my favourite girls, and my day is made!

Seeing as how I don’t have a one-word answer to who I am, my dress sense too swings with what I’m going for, any particular day. For instance, being outdoors and bird watching will see me in camo clothing, or greens and browns, in an attempt to merge with the background, so that I can sneak up on the birds and wildlife and click ‘em. Or a night out with the girls would be an excuse for me to pull out that dress that’s been hangin’ in there for ages. I like to think I have a unique dress sense, but really, it’s mostly solid colours paired with a nice bright scarf or something as simple as that. Come interviews or client meetings, and I might throw on a pair of non-standard earrings, but otherwise, I don’t often get too radical-looking.

Unfactory and I are growing closer and closer, considering this chamaeleon-ish style of mine. For everything ethnic – gorgeous sarees; to pair with my solids – wonderfully bright scarves, and for those client meetings – a touch of classy jewellery. And hey, not to forget a designer’s best friend – yummy stationery! Each day I breeze through the Unfactory catalogue, I find myself adding merrily away to my wish list. So yes, the new adjective to describe myself soon might just be – I’m so Unfactory! ☺

Aakanksha’s Picks:

Here’s my list of 10 Unfactory things I love:

This one made it effortlessly to the top of my list, beacause hey, it has 2 things I love in one – stationery and dogs! I love the bright colours on this, and it’s the perfect size to fit in to my bag. I like to sketch occasionally, and this one’s perfect when it comes to sketching on the go, complete with a pencil-holder. Just so great.

Mug aur Mooch - Notebook - Dog Series - Poodle
Notebook – Poodle (Dog Series)

I have a weakness for scarves. And OH, if they’re silk!!! Feels so good around the neck, you don’t want to take ’em off. Scarves are one of my favourite pieces of apparel because they can brighten up a dull top, make the same top look different with each different scarf, and best of all, they keep your neck warm! I use scarves almost like neck pieces – they are my kind of neck decor. And while I’ve already got a large collection of scarves of all shapes, sizes and colours, it doesn’t stop me from adding to the list. The first one (Purple Silk Shibori Scarf) from Unfactory has already sneaked its way into my collection and is sitting in my cupboard, waiting for the winter to set in so it can be paired with my favourite warmers and woollies.

Umoya: Purple Silk Shibori Scarf
Purple Silk Shibori Scarf
Umoya: Silk Shibori Scarf.
Blue, Light Blue Silk Shibori Scarf
Umoya: Silk Shibori Scarf
Brown, Red Silk Shibori Scarf

The second one (Blue, Light Blue Silk Shibori Scarf) – Blues are the best hues, particularly for work. I’m a designer and I generally dress bright and sometimes in things that make people raise their eyebrows, but a blue scarf is best for a slightly sober day – like when the big client meeting is going to happen! It’s an essential, like that one maroon tie that sees daylight every interview or wedding season. Except my scarves see daylight ever so often. This one’s another Unfactory FAVE.

And, the third one (Brown, Red Silk Shibori Scarf) – this gorgeous piece had me the first moment I looked at it – bright and dark in the same scarf, what fun! I’d love to experiment with the pairing options this dual-colour opens up for me, so this is on my list of Unfactory items to soon own. (Shhh… don’t reveal this plan to the boy I’m married to!).

Next on my list is the Filigree Earrings. Simply gorgeous. I love silver jewellery and filigree work is downright stunning. Just knowing that I have on a pair of beautiful earrings makes me feel five times happier. Silver is my go-to precious metal, never lets me down, always looks stunning and goes well with everything. This particular pair is a perfect blend of intricate beauty and casual danglers, and matches perfectly with my western, Indian or Indo-western wear. Ergo, it’s second on my list of faves on Unfactory.

The Jewellery Project: Filigree Earrings.
Filigree Earrings in 925 Sterling Silver
The Jewellery Project: Filigree Cuff Bangle.
Filigree Cuff Bangle in 925 Sterling Silver

I love this Cuff Bangle for the same reasons as I love the filigree earrings. Also, it’s classy and will pair very well, particularly with sarees that have something silver or with a pure white top and jeans. I’d love to have it in my collection because it’s just so elegant, perfect for any occasion – without making your hand look like a wedding all on its own!

Continuing with jewellery, this Orange Dokra is a very pretty piece. I don’t often wear neckpieces, but when I do, I pair it with a plain solid colour. I like this one for the bright colour – Orange! It will pair so well with blacks and darks and also with whites and pastels, so it’s just right.

Chanchal: Orange Dokra Neckpiece.
Orange Dokra Neckpiece

Over to the Saree collection – Uff, teal. It’s such an eye-catching colour, without ever being gaudy. It’s cool and elegant all at once. I love sarees and while I currently don’t wear them often enough, I’m growing so fond of them, I’d probably end up wearing them every other day before you know it, especially with pieces like this one at my disposal! Looking forward to more such gorgeous selections on Unfactory.

The Indian Sparrow: Handblock Printed - Teal Saree.
Bagru Print Teal Saree
The Indian Sparrow: Handblock Printed Chander Saree.
Hand Block Printed Chander

There’s something about burnt orange. Especially burnt orange sarees. They look great on almost anybody. And this particular piece is just so full of grace, I’d love to wear it to an event and do a stage takeover, just so everyone can see it, even if I’m not the main attraction for the day. It goes well with sunglasses or mallipu, so what can I say – it’s just right for me!

And, the last one, is yet another piece of stationery in my list of Unfactory faves! Because I love stationery and this stationery is just gorgeous. I’d love to be that person who becomes a head-turner as I pull out the notebook to sketch in when I’m at a chai shop, courtesy the notebook. Looking at the notebook makes me itch to draw, and when I get my hands on this beauty, draw in it I will!

Mug aur Mooch: Black Atom Sequin Notebook.
Black Atom Sequin Notebook

What I’d Pair:

The teal saree with the Filigree earrings and bracelet… maybe I’ll even throw on the Orange Dokra neckpiece and see how it comes together.

On a regular day, I’m happiest in simple and straightforward clothing, so a white or solid coloured top and blue jeans or black tights with any of the scarves to contrast the top + the Filigree earrings. Not to forget my little doggie pocketbook!☺

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