Diwali, Diaspora And The Battle Of The Desi Designers


We live in a globalised world and thereby arises the need for accurate representation. International celebrities, celebrities with Indian roots and those with desi blood are not just claiming their space but are celebrating it the right way. Recently, the VP of The United States, Kamala Harris, hosted the biggest Diwali bash with more than 200 prominent Indians in attendance. Highlights included performances by sitarist Rishab Sharma and dance troupe The Sa Dance Company—the starry event saw diaspora celebrities dressed in their ethnic best. Apart from this party that was seen as cultural reset, many popular Indians from the entertainment business had their own soirees marking the festival.

But this change hasn’t happened overnight—more and more Indian designers are bridging the gap and showcasing internationally, making their creations more accessible to consumers and celebrities overseas. After Anita Dongre, Sabyasachi became the second name from the Indian couture landscape to open a brick-and-mortar store in New York. Multi-designer stores like Aashni + Co, The Grand Trunk and Pernia’s Pop-Up Shop house all the noteworthy designers from India under one roof, providing them with all the latest collections.

Recently, the infamous Indian fashion watchdog, Diet Sabya started a heated debate about NRI’s stagnant desi fashion. While the offshore Indians weren’t having any of it, the locals were quick to point out the gaping holes in their sartorial choices. For starters, in 2022, with multi-designer outlets and stand-alone boutiques by Indian designers opening in every destination, why were the immigrants still dressing up like the Patil twins from Harry Potter? This festive season, the diaspora decided to settle the score and heal nature.


From Anita Dongre, Sabyasachi and Tarun Tahiliani to Falguni Shane Peacock and Papa Don’t Preach—the best of Indian designers were in contention to win the who-dressed-more-celebrities-this-Diwali contest. The actors and influencers weren’t the only ones repping these Indian fashion houses—editors, writers, musicians, business managers, entrepreneurs and life coaches of Indian origin like Jay Shetty and Anjula Acharia were also dressed to the nines. If celebrities at home were serving looks every day, these international megastars weren’t be far left behind. Scroll below for a quick roundup of all the best-dressed international celebrities this season and the designers that created the most MIV (media value impact).

1. Poorna Jagannathan

Poorna Jagannathan a.ka. Dr Nalini from Never Have I Ever, who is known for her classic-chic fashion choices on the show brought a similar energy to the festive season. Anita Dongre was her choice of designer this year, and the actor aced all her AD looks by adding a personal touch to them. Whether it was adding a black blazer to a violet indo-western ensemble or turning up at the White House in a custom-made pastel sherwani—Poorna know how to make a statement.

2. Mindy Kailing


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Mindy is no stranger to Indian fashion, but lately, the writer-actor has been experimenting by adding more designers to her roster. This Diwali, Mindy was seen wearing heavily-embroidered lehengas by Falguni Shane Peacock and Tarun Tahiliani along with a bold, floral printed, Sabyasachi velvet gown, which was a swift departure from the ostentatious ensembles.

3. Meena Harris


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Author and niece to VP Kamala Harris, Meena Harris chose Jade by Monica & Karishma this festive season. The New York Times best-selling author opted for a periwinkle anarkali with dainty embroidery and paired it with an elegant maang tika.

4. Priyanka Chopra Jonas


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It was a family affair for Priyanka Chopra-Jonas. Dressed in coordinated beige attires—Priyanka, Nick and their daughter Malti wore Falguni Shane Peacock for their intimate Diwali celebrations at home.

5. Lily Singh


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Forever following her own path when it comes to fashion, Youtuber Lilly Singh chose a floral lehenga by Sahiba Fashion and gave it an androgynous spin by layering a sherwani jacket on top of it.

6. Padma Lakshmi


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Ditching her signature sari this Diwali, goddess Padma Laksmi looked ethereal in a simple printed red lehenga by Anita Dongre and teamed it with a tiny chikankari blouse.


- Junior Digital Editor


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