BAZAAR Stylish Women 2019: Chetna Bhatt
Vintage damask blazer; vintage pants; Ashepa Lifestyle earring, rings, bracelets, Bhatt’s own. Cotton turtleneck top, Fendi. Photo: Gan

The past 10 years have seen seismic shifts in the world of fashion and culture at large. Gone is the dictating manner in which fashion used to speak. Today, influence and inspiration bubbles up as much as it trickles down. The speed at which movements now take root and cross-pollinate across cultures and communities would have been unimaginable a decade ago. In many ways, the rise of social media and the digital age has revolutionised the way we access, consume and interact with fashion. At its core, style is still about looking a certain way to telegraph a certain message, but the key components of that message have evolved to centre around the ideas of authenticity, individuality and positivity. To close out this progressive, transformative decade, we’ve chosen to celebrate a group of originals who are as sharp as they are stylish; the ones who march to their own beat while maintaining a certain polish and verve that drives home a uniquely Asian perspective.

Chetna Bhatt

Can you tell us more about what you do?
I am involved in all sides of the business, but for the most part, I design jewellery, home decor and accessories, and then work with artisans in Africa to bring them to life. I moved to Singapore from Kenya and people would ask me about my old home and I remember them being intrigued when I told them about Kenya. I realised that Africa is a mystery to a lot of people, which was when I decided to connect Africa to Asia through product and people. And I wanted to do it in a way that was ethical and true to my sustainable values.

What is your go-to fashion piece?
An oversize white shirt. I love a good shirt. You can wear it over skirts, jeans or even a dress. I like that masculine/feminine touch.

What trends are you currently into?
I am absolutely loving the raffia trend. I love how a sustainable, natural material can be used for something beautiful, functional and fun. In Africa, we are very resourceful—we use everything that Mother Nature has provided us. There is a great beauty in that, which is why seeing high-end brands do the same is brilliant.

Do you have a style icon?
I have a few, but currently, I would say it’s Victoria Beckham. I think she has explored and embraced fashion through its phases but still kept true to herself. She has pieces she looks comfortable in and her mix of colour palettes is right up my street!