Tell us about yourself.
I'm a 19 year old fashion design student in NIFT Delhi. A feminist, food lover, travel enthusiast and a hopeless romantic.
Where did you grow up? Tell us about your childhood.
I've lived in Cochin all my life till I shifted to Delhi for college. Growing up, I was always this quiet bookworm who'd love to draw, and watch an insane number of cartoons and anime.
How was the move to Delhi?
I've never regretted moving to Delhi - new places excite me, and the move was very happy (though the metro rush was shocking). It was my first time living independently, and I've learnt a lot.
What do you like and dislike about Delhi?
I LOVE the number of events that happen so often in this city - everyday there's some new place or gig to check out. I do wish there was more greenery, though, and the language barrier can make things very difficult.
What do you miss from home?
Food! Authentic Kerala food, not just dosas and idlis. Also, Kerala's palm trees.
What kind of illustrations do you do? Is there an underlying theme?
While my illustrations have always been fashion oriented, I'm always drawn to sketching faces than full length ensembles.
Faces fascinate me endlessly. There's something so beautiful about a person's cupid's bow, eyelid space, cheekbones - the list goes on. I notice interesting facial features around me and sketch them often.
Your Instagram handle is vantagold. What's vantagold?
I get asked this a lot. Well, the name Vantagold was inspired from vantablack, the blackest substance in the world, so vantagold was my play on 'the goldest gold'. The profile was earlier based on an aesthetic of gold and warm browns, and started off as a platform for melanin appreciation and positivity. Melanin is also known as black gold - you can see how it all ties up!
Tell us about the illustrations you've made for OLIO. What's the story?
The theme for my illustrations includes the theme Vantagold was borne on - celebration of the dark skinned Indian girl, as well as my current aesthetic of unapologetic, bright colours. Growing up as a brown girl meant a lot of unsolicited advice concerning the colours we could wear - lest we look darker. With loads of colour and a carefree attitude, Hop Skip Jump has the perfect clothes to wear while we ignore aforementioned advice!
Tell me about your favourite holiday of all time.
I went to North Carolina for a summer exchange programme, and my friends and I visited the Smoky Mountains. We were near this large field, and it was sunny and bright. Out of nowhere, I plugged in my favourite song and ran through the whole field, just whooping and laughing - and it was surreal. My life goal is to have more moments like that. Absolutely indescribable.
What do you want to do after college?
I'd love to work in a creative environment for a few years and work on developing my aesthetic further. Travel is a priority as well.
What are you looking forward to?
I look forward to growth. Growth in all forms, in myself as a person, in my work, and so on.
Current trend you love?
There are so many memes bashing this trend, but I love the fashion trend of plastic in clothing. I recently saw these jeans with see through plastic rectangle patches at the knees and I thought that was genius. No clue why.
Current trend you will never get on board with?
No more lace chokers, please.
Describe your style in 3 words.
Graphic. Comfortable. Layered.
Favourite accessory these days?
A bindi. You'll never see me without one now. It's such a subtle way to add structure to a face. It's also very helpful in adding a pop of colour.
All photos by Tenzin Lhagyal.