Skip to content
Anisha Parmar StudioAnisha Parmar Studio
Talking Senses with Neelam

Talking Senses with Neelam

Talking Senses is a series where I talk to different creatives about the role their senses play in their practice, and how their senses might play a role in finding inspiration or comfort. In this instalment, I’m talking to my friend and collaborator Neelam, who is the co-creator of this year’s pop-up: Adorned Narratives: Wearing our Stories with Pride which is taking place on 19-21 July in London.

Neelam is a personal stylist and creative consultant based in London. We first met on a photoshoot a few years, and have stayed in touch ever since. One of the things I love about her work is that there is a fundamental alignment with mine: we both believe that what you choose to wear is not just a visual choice, but something that can tell your story and build your confidence. 

It goes without saying that as a stylist, SIGHT is a key sense Neelam taps into. But that starts long before choosing the clothes themselves; “Mind mapping, coloured pens, highlighters, post it notes, I need it all,” says Neelam. 

And while digital is great (“Pinterest is my best friend,” she continues), there’s something special about the old school method of moodboarding. “Using old magazines, newspapers and scraps of textiles is really helpful. It goes back to my days sat in my textiles classroom,” she reflects. “It can sometimes be really cathartic too and you never know what can spark from deep emotions and expressing them visually


For many of us trying to suss out our personal style or even style our homes, it can be overwhelming trying to work out which colours work. “I highly recommend signing up to Pantone,” Neelam says. “Stay tuned for their Colour of The Year and see how it impacts everything from fashion to technology.

In fact, Pantone’s book Complete Color Harmony is one she refers to a lot, because it covers everything “from understanding the colour wheel, to creating colour palettes and my favourite topic around the psychology of colour”. 
Another book Neelam has been reaching for these days? Big Dress Energy by Shakaila Forbes. It breaks down the impact of clothing on psychology, and discusses the power of colour and how it impacts our mood. 

And speaking of colour, ORANGE is the one that Neelam finds herself drawn to. “Sitting between red and yellow, it carries an element of the fiery passion of red but with the calming and uplifting colour of yellow,” she says. “Whilst red releases adrenaline into the body, yellow releases serotonin, so the mix of yellow leaves me feeling in the best mood with all of the energy.

Wearing a colour of orange gives Neelam an extra boost of energy and sociability, which plays a role in making clients feel at ease - especially as they can sometimes feel quite vulnerable when turning to a stylist for help. And let’s not forget, orange is one of the best colours from my autumnal colour palette!” she adds.

In addition to her styling work, Neelam also works with brands, such as being the project coordinator for periodcare brand’s WUKA’s The Wuka Wedding campaign. Projects like this require brainstorming and working in a slightly different way, and SOUND in the form of music has been a key factor in nudging creativity for Neelam. “I find the frequency of music, the lyrics I often get lost in and the energy that music has the ability to create, allows creativity to flow in a different way,” explains Neelam.  

And her varied playlists slot into the different times of day perfectly for her. From a bhajan or mantra by the likes of Anuradha Paudwal or Keerti Mathur for serene mornings, to mesmerising, multi-layered classical soundtracks by Ludovico Eunaudi and The Cinematic Orchestra when searching for inspiration. And tunes ranging from Hip Hop to Afro Beats and Dance add some playfulness and fun to her day. “ I love a bit of old school R&B,” she says. “And Beyonce will also have me singing my heart out!” (Same here!)

They say that style is a matter of taste, but what about literal TASTE? There’s an overlap with colour there, after all “food and drink has a real visual impact too,” says Neelam.

“Colour has become a big part of my practice, and I even find that the food and drink I’m drawn to to beautiful and rich in colour.

A curveball, then: pick the colour palette of a certain dish, and incorporate it into an outfit…

Sushi is one of my favourite foods,” she begins. “So I would  take the concept of a California Roll with Avocado, crab and Cucumber!” Ok, this I’ve got to hear…how on earth would that work?

I would take the pink from the crab as the star of the show,” she continues. “And incorporate it in a fringed dress for texture.” The green of the avocado would come through in metallic cowboy boots, and the rice represented through an off-white waistcoat. “Oh, and for a touch of Desi, why not some green and pink jhumkas!” she concludes.  There’s no doubt creativity runs through Neelam…not everyone can turn sushi into a pretty cool outfit! we're patiently waiting for you to bring this outfit to life Neelam?!

But food is of course more than just visual inspiration. 
My mum's Gujarati cooking will always be a safe haven and I grew up surrounded by beautiful Indian spices, textures and flavours,” Neelam says. “So when eating these foods now there is a real nostalgia.”

There’s also something about dining together that fuels inspiring conversation and even sparks ideas. In fact, for Neelam, a recent meal at her family home was the start of a new idea that she discussed with her Dad at the table! “There is a real power and connection that comes from food,” Neelam explains. 

The atmosphere in which you create can play a huge role in influencing you creativity. And SMELL is a key component here. “Palo Santo is my favourite smell,” says Neelam. “I often cleanse my home with it, as it brings good energy. And it’s the perfect smell to ignite the creative juices while keeping my space calm.”

There’s also a smell that triggers a particular memory for Neelam - the smell of the beach, which harks back to a holiday in the Maldives. “It sounds quite indulgent, but it was during a really challenging period of my life. If I close my eyes now, I can still smell the beautiful salty sea water, feel the warm sun beating on my skin and visualise the beautiful sunsets

But that distinct salty sea smell doesn’t just bring Neelam joy because of the memories of the holiday. It reminds her of where some of her journey into styling really took shape; “I experimented more with colour on this holiday,” she reminiscences. “The sun has this ability and hold over me to pull me in new directions and I remember pairing pieces together in new and fun ways. Those memories will always stay with me.”

Texture, and in turn TOUCH, is a sense that Neelam regularly relies on when shopping with clients. “The texture of an item of clothing can really impact how a whole outfit comes together,” she says. On a personal level, crystals play a role in Neelam’s day to day too. Meditating with orange calcite - her crystal of choice - is a way she boosts her creativity. 

While we’ve gone through the five senses, the way something feels emotionally is as important. And for Neelam, this is especially important when working with her clients. “Style is about so much more than the outfit, but also how the wearer feels too,” she explains.

And so her process is tailored to each individual, taking into account their struggles, their joys and their personal preferences to build an inner confidence that can be reflected through their personal style. And I can speak from experience here, as I booked a styling package with Neelam myself! She truly does take the time to understand you and deliver styling solutions that align with your preferences. Working with her at a time where I felt I had lost my personal style and felt extremely under confident and self conscious in my every changing body shape- she really helped me to embrace wearing colour again, celebrating my bold personality and curvy figure that I love!

Check out her website here, and follow her on socials here

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published..

Cart 0

Your cart is currently empty.

Start Shopping