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I am Archana Walavalkar, Co-founder & Creative Director of StyleCracker, and This is How I Work
How I Work

I am Archana Walavalkar, Co-founder & Creative Director of StyleCracker, and This is How I Work

She has been the sartorial mastermind behind many red carpet looks for popular Bollywood celebrities like Deepika Padukone, Katrina Kaif and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. With over 13 years of experience in styling the rich and famous, Archana Walavalkar turned into an entrepreneur in 2013 and launched India's first online personal styling website StyleCracker. She envisioned transforming India's style game with her brand by enabling the masses with tips and tricks to style themselves, just like celebrities, in the best possible way. And recently, actress and style icon Alia Bhatt bought a stake in Archana's fashion-tech start-up, thereby ensuring that the stylometer registers an all-time high. In an exclusive interaction with Ishita Blaggan, Archana shares all about her professional journey along with a few interesting fashion hacks to ring in the New Year in style.

Location : Mumbai
Current Gig : StyleCracker
One word that best describes how you work : Intuitive
Current mobile device : Iphone 6
Current computer : iMac

Tell us about your journey and how did you get where you have?

I started off with editorial styling at L'Officiel Magazine and then was a part of the launch team at Vogue India, where I worked as a Fashion Editor for five years. After that, I styled celebrities like Deepika Padukone, Katrina Kaif, Ranbir Kapoor and Aishwarya Rai for campaigns, editorial and appearances, which later led to styling for films. I've styled Varun Dhawan, Alia Bhatt, Shahid Kapoor, Tabu to name a few. The films I've styled include, Student of the Year, Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania, Shandaar, Kapoor & Sons, Drishyam and Dishoom . When we were starting StyleCracker, the idea was about taking styling and making it accessible to everyone - not just celebrities and influencers. Basically I've been doing what I do for about 13 years now.

StyleCracker was found with a vision to make India stylish. When we were starting it, the idea was about taking styling and making it accessible to everyone - not just celebrities and influencers. Giving someone an all-rounded experience is our goal with the StyleCracker Box. Because at the end it's not just about the product, it's about the journey and about reshaping the way people shop.

We use innovative technology to collect all kinds of important data from our users so the end result is fully personalised and curated fashion just for them, delivered at their door step.

Kindly tell us about Alia Bhatt's recent investment and contribution to StyleCracker

Alia along with a consortium of investors, have invested in the company as part of pre-Series A funding. As she mentioned "This has come from heart and not mind". Alia now holds a significant minority stake in StyleCracker. Having a co-owner as likeminded as Alia has added tremendous value to StyleCracker. With her innovative ideas and passionate vision we are thrilled for what's coming next. She has a great pulse on the market and a deep understanding of the customer.

The idea of everyone having a personal stylist is what appealed to Alia. "Style and fashion is not about the way you look, it's about the way you feel. What I liked about StyleCracker is that it's bridging the gap between the individual and the expert. You may have an inherent sense of style but may need some help to put it together. You may not have the time to work on a look for a business meeting or dinner that is very important to you. StyleCracker is personal and not generic! From its personalised boxes to your own personal stylist, it's a journey that will keep evolving but will be YOURS, and that's what matters. I know how much of a difference it makes to have a stylist now, thanks to StyleCracker my stylist can be yours." says Alia.

What according to you, will be dominating trends in the fashion industry in 2018?
I think some the major trends for 2018 would be unisex fashion, watercolour florals and tiny sunglasses in light tints. I feel Purple will be the dominant color, along with its various hues.

Please share a few style hacks with us

1.Always wear band-aid before breaking into new shoes. Better safe than sorry.

2. Keep a mini lint remover handy, especially in this nippy weather or if you own pets.

3. Show a bit of ankle by unevenly chopping off the hem of your old jeans or roll them up to give them an instant facelift.

What apps/software/tools can't you live without?

I cannot survive without Google maps.

What's your workspace setup like?

I like inspiring, creative spaces in an open format office, to promote cross communication. My office includes a ton of cool spots for brainstorming sessions.

What are some of your best life hacks to save time and boost productivity?

Having a to-do list helps. I always work by my to-do list. At airport, I always carry a sweater as I get very cold in flights and it also doubles up as an extra pillow. At home, I avoid plastic at all costs. Think before you buy plastic.

What's your favorite to-do list manager?

I'm old school - a pen and paper does the trick. There's something therapeutic about striking off your to do list.

Do you procrastinate? How do you overcome it?

Rarely, but luckily I'm surrounded by driven and passionate people who inspire me daily.

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else?

Keeping it together in a stressful situation, it helps me come up with quick solutions without getting overwhelmed.

How do you recharge? What do you do when you want to forget about work?

I'm a complete island girl, only sand and sea (and, no cell phone). I also like to surf, dive and snorkel.

What's your fitness and sleep routine like?

I love any form of work outs. Group workouts are especially fun as they help push your limits harder. I work out with Urmi from Kinetic living and we do a mix of pilates, calisthenics, yoga, animal movements and kettle bells. As for sleep, I need about 6 to 7 hours of sleep every night.

What are you currently reading?

I am reading Daisaku Ikeda's Blue Deeper Than Indigo

What's the best advice you've ever received?

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." - Maya Angelou

The How I Work series asks heroes, experts, and flat-out productive people to share their shortcuts, workspaces, routines, and more. Have someone you want to see featured, or questions you think we should ask? Email Ishita.

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