Tanya Vohra | Fashion Editor GQ India
A personal discussion with the formidable figure behind one of India's most distinguished magazines.
Tanya Vohra is not only holding her own in arguably the most well-renowned and respected editorials for men, but also thriving in it. What's most striking is the intention behind her actions and her unapologetic pursuit of success. With a keen eye and genuine passion invested into her work, she is undoubtedly making an impression and paving a way for many to follow.
You are Junior Fashion Editor for the highly coveted editorial, GQ India. What 3 personal values have helped you in your journey to get you to your position today?
Curiosity – When I joined GQ as a fashion intern, I was about to hit 20, without much experience in men’s fashion besides helping my father get ready occasionally. While interning, I knew I was learning something new and perhaps out of my comfort zone. I began to get inquisitive on the topic, and now, in retrospect, I realise that it was that curiosity that helped me get so far.
Enjoyment – It’s important to enjoy what you do. When you love your job, it doesn’t feel like work anymore. Without having conviction for what you do, it’s impossible to convince others to follow your lead. When you love what you do, people will take note.
Serenity – This is something I’ve learnt to become and realised over the years, that staying calm and untroubled in midst of chaos is really important.
What was your original inspiration for pursuing your career path and working in the fashion industry?
Fashion’s always been a big passion for me, so wanting to get into this industry was a no-brainer. Since I was a little, I loved making style boards and putting looks together. Immediately after schooling (I’m lying, through it too) I knew that this was my calling. Although initially I was more inclined towards womenswear, menswear is now what I find most inspiring and it definitely comes more naturally to me. GQ’s Fashion Director, Vijendra Bhardwaj, and ex-Fashion Editor, Antara Motiwala, (my mentors) have played a very important role in this transition as well.
Describe what a ‘day-in-the-life’ looks like for you.
A major part of my job revolves around styling editorial shoots. Preparing for photoshoots usually involves ideating on concepts, making vision boards, researching the current trends, and sourcing clothes for shoots. Meeting PR professionals, advertisers and designers to keep them updated on our themes and what issues we are currently working on is an integral part of the work as well. Attending press days, collection previews, fashion shows and fashion events is also imperative to my work. A perk of my job is that I don’t have to be stationed at my desk all day (praise the lord). Instead I get to travel to the most exotic locations all over the world, make beautiful pictures, and I am fortunate enough to showcase them on such a distinguished platform.
What do you consider the most integral aspects to working and succeeding in the industry?
One of the most important aspects to succeeding in this industry is having a proactive and energetic approach, but never at the expense of sincerity towards your work.
Analysing current and future trends, driving appropriate content, knowing what the reader wants, and being up to date on designers – these are all part of your job as a Junior Fashion Editor. How do you ensure that you’re always at the head of the game?
You know, that’s what it’s about – staying with it, and still being abreast. I think it’s a bit of researching, and a lot of instinct while in the thick of menswear. When I interact with so many GQ men and muses—be it sports guys, actors, or businessmen—I get a sense of the pulse of the moment, about what men are thinking about and feeling. Menswear shows from international brands—and mercifully, now, certain Indian designers as well—work well in advance showcasing the next season’s collections at least 6 months prior. That helps in staying ahead and providing styling inspiration for on-trend editorials.
With such a uniquely diverse strata of society, what do you think fashion means in India, and what has been the biggest change you’ve seen thus far?
An increasing number of men are opening up to newer ideas and paying more attention to details, from the cut of their suits, fabric and colour of their trousers, to the print on ties and pocket squares. I think they are now making a conscious effort towards their appearance, grooming and fashion. It’s also interesting to see how many international designers use Indian heritage as inspiration for their collections and campaigns. From Canali launching the “Nehru Jacket” in 2009 to Louis Vuitton’s Indian inspired SS/15 collection. The country has been a constant source of inspiration for many other designers like Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld, John Galliano and Ralph Lauren. Only in this last decade has India emerged as a growing menswear market, with a great deal of international labels setting up shop here.
Given the opportunity, describe what you would consider the dream editorial – What people, place, and designers would you include?
Shooting Jon Kortajarena amid the wilderness in South Africa. Need I say more?
Working in the fashion industry has become an increasingly prevalent dream. What’s the best advice you’ve been given and what advice would you give to others looking to get to where you are today?
The best advice I’ve received was from my old mentor and would share with young stylists that are working in the men’s space. The advice was not to get carried away—you alone are responsible for your integrity and if you do not respect yourself, you can not expect the men you work with to.