A Fashionable Passion

Sue Mue and Anisha Oberoi, Fashion Editor & Design Manager, Amazon Fashion-India,  come together to support Breast Cancer Awareness this month.

To support Breast Cancer Awareness this October, Sue Mue collaborates with ELLE Breast Cancer Campaign to create a special collection following the Pink Ribbon symbol colours. Anisha Oberoi is seen displaying a gorgeous black anarkali in handloom silk with a touch of pink.

Together, we created a range of outfits to support this engaging and important cause.

Anisha Oberoi’s story is an inspiration for every woman who thinks determination and grit alone are not sufficient to win a battle against cancer. Read on to know more.

Please tell us about yourself.

I was born in Kashmir to Sikh parents. My childhood was spent moving from one location to another every few years since my father was in the Hospitality industry with a global chain. It was hard to sustain friendships then; but in hindsight I think it prepared me to adapt quickly to new geographies and people, and learn different languages. I believe it’s this injection of diversity in my childhood that inspired me to take risks and embrace constant change. Not only have I worked in very different industries professionally; I’ve never followed a straight path even in my educational pursuits. I’m an English Literature major but I went on to do my MBA in France and Singapore just so that I could immerse myself in diverse cultures that both regions offered, which was an education in itself. For the last two years, I have been working with Amazon in the Fashion vertical; I moved back for the opportunity to set up onsite content from scratch for our fastest growing market. I also handle our social media channels and content for Fashion Week. Again, it’s a very diverse global community and I’m glad for the rich experience.

In about five words, give us your mantra of life?

Don’t accept No for an answer.

You were diagnosed with Breast Cancer sometime back. How did you fight through this difficult phase of life?

I had just quit working with Ermenegildo Zegna for their India operations and was ready to leave for my MBA when it was discovered that I had Stage 2 Carcinoma. Experienced gynecologists who said that the lump was a fibroid had misdiagnosed me twice before, and with no history of breast cancer in the family I was told I should not worry. I don’t believe that in India, gynecologists or technicians are trained to pick up on cancer. By the time we found out, the disease had infected my lymph nodes. I wish I had insisted on a biopsy earlier. From then on, it was an incredibly challenging journey that I was not really prepared for: I had surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, physiotherapy – the works- which lasted a year. I was stubborn about not letting go of my place at INSEAD though some people advised me to take it easy since I would be on medication and would need constant monitoring for a long time. I exercised to get back in shape; I continued to work and kept propelling myself to the dream. As soon as the treatment was over, I left to start my new adventure. I fought to not let cancer affect my future and through the process, I began to appreciate my life, which became more meaningful and relationships that became significantly richer. I befriended two inspiring ladies who were also under treatment, who we subsequently lost. Ironically, the experience taught me many lessons for which I’m a deeper person today.

What is your one advice to women fighting cancer?

Don’t be attached to your physical form. Hair will regrow and scars will heal but your spiritual journey is what matters the most. Be kind and patient with yourself and surround yourself with people who give you unconditional love and positive energy. Throw out clutter.

How do you feel about connecting fashion with a cause? Do you think raising awareness for breast cancer through fashion (eg. ELLE Breast Cancer Campaign) can help the cause gain attention among women?

I think it’s our responsibility to use any medium available to us whether in our professional or personal life, to raise awareness on preventative methods so that women can protect themselves by being mindful. Women lean more towards fashion than men in general so it’s an impactful vehicle to communicate this messaging in an engaging, non-ominous way that doesn’t alienate. ELLE’s readership base and sustained efforts have grown from year to year in ensuring that the spotlight is on the cause, which is commendable.

What do you think about Sue Mue participating and raising funds for breast cancer awareness this October? What made you decide that you could associate yourself with this campaign? Since you love dressing up in western silhouettes, how was your experience wearing Indian silhouettes from their latest Bani Thani collection?

I like wearing traditional clothes and Sue Mue has a distinctive ethnic aesthetic that I could relate to. We experimented with India Modern looks (like denim with Kurtas) at the shoot to give it a fashion forward take, a concept that’s been gaining momentum with the younger audience since we conceptualized it for Fashion Week.

What is your personal style statement? How can a multi-tasker like you make sure that she’s always fashionably ready for any do?

I like wearing tailored clothes. I also experiment with androgyny but primarily prefer feminine silhouettes, which can range from delicate looks to power dressing, depending on occasion and mood. I travel often so strong separates are a big part of my wardrobe – it’s then easy to mix and match Work with Quirk.

One thing should always stand out in your ensemble – whether it’s statement jewelry, interesting shoes, vintage sunglasses or clothing. However, there’s no substitute for personality, so Confidence is key.

 

Readers can also contribute towards the Breast Cancer Awareness campaign this month by purchasing something from the store. Sue Mue will then donate a percentage of it to the OGAAN Cancer Foundation to help women in need of treatment, funding and support.

Location courtesy: The Collonnade, The Leela Palace, Bengaluru ;

Jewellery courtesy: Outhouse;

Styling by: Ambrish Sonari, Boy in a bowtie