“I’ve always been fluid within my Bengali and British identity,” says 22-year-old Tahmina Begum, Editor-in-Chief of XXY Magazine and freelance journalist, when I ask about her style. “From my mother and grandmother, I’ve learned the power of accessorising and inherited the mentality that patterns, hues and heels are not to be saved for special occasions alone. It’s why you’ll find me painted in gold and gems most days, even if I’m at home in my pajamas. My hands and ears must be covered.”
She tells me she’s enjoyed watching the space increase for daughters and sons of immigrant parents to reclaim their heritage, both online and off. “Offline, a good example of this is London’s Pxssy Palace, a recurring party that celebrates the many facets we all are. Another example: hashtags like #decoloniseyourwardrobe, which encourages young people of color to feel proud of their heritage and identity, whether that means wearing a bindi or fasting for a month — and doing so without explanation. There is strength in not having to define yourself to others, be it in real life or on Instagram.”
Of the many women whose style Tahmina looks to for inspiration, she lists Miranda Makaroff, Princess Nokia, Arpana Kathmandu, Naomi Shimada, Maria Bernad, Lara Pia Robio, Courtney Yates, Tasnim Ahmed for the one thing they have in common (stylistically-speaking): the effort they put into dressing that comes off as deliberate, never forced.
“I admire the style of women who are not scared to look feminine,” she says, “and whose appearance communicates that they have strong sense of selves.”
Click through Tahmina’s own expression of style and self, from Monday through Friday, in this London edition of MR Closets.