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Meet Sophia Chowdhury, the first Bangladeshi woman in Vogue Australia

"Having been diagnosed with vitiligo as a teen, I spent most of my life hiding it"


Sophia Chowdhury is a Naarm/ Melbourne based digital marketer, content creator and stylist

Eleven years ago, she started her own personal fashion blog, Everyday Like This, and from there, she has become one of the most renowned South Asian faces in the Australian fashion industry.

Sophia is proud of her Bangladeshi roots and wants to bring that pride into her work.

Dilpreet speaks with Sophia to know more about her work and why representation matters in (white) Australia.


Dilpreet: You became the first Bangladeshi to be featured in Vogue Australia. Congratulations! Could you give us a sneak peek into your journey?


Sophia: Thank you! Honestly, it started because I joined TikTok as a joke during the lockdown in Melbourne last year. The #VogueChallenge started as a statement to call out the lack of diversity in fashion on Tik Tok, and then the same challenge was adapted onto Instagram.


My best friend Joshua San Scott, an incredible Indigenous photographer, took the photo.


Having been diagnosed with vitiligo as a teen, I spent most of my life hiding it. As I got older and more confident with myself, I wanted to start documenting my auto-immune disease because I grew to love having what Winnie Harlow calls ‘Gods tattoos’. We ran out of sunlight on the day we wanted to shoot because we spent too long eating and chit-chatting as best friends do. On our way back home, we came across a lit-up laundry mat. I sat down; Josh did his magic. And the rest is history.


I knew the photo was special, but I had no idea it would end up in Vogue. It still feels surreal when I think about it as features like that just seem impossible growing up in such a white-dominated media.

 


Dilpreet: That’s incredible! And so, how did your personal brand ‘Everyday Like This’ happen - is there a particular story behind it?

Sophia: I started ‘Everyday Like This’ while studying Bachelors degree in Digital Media and Marketing in 2010. I wanted to have a platform to express my love for fashion and just couldn’t find anyone who looked like me or dressed like me in Australian media that I could relate to. 


Back then, Instagram didn’t exist. Influencers didn’t exist. If you wanted to post about fashion, you had to start a blog on Blogspot. As the digital sphere changed and influencing became more accessible, we saw a shift in the popularity of short-form media like Instagram, so the brand sits there most of it now. 


Dilpreet: We don’t see many South Asians in the Australian fashion industry. Do you think things changing?

Sophia: I work in just a small part of the industry. I think the influencer market of the fashion industry is definitely changing. I think the people and brands who want to change for the better are changing how they cast models or hire content creators like myself. IG makes it more accessible for people to become a model vs traditional modelling where you’re signed to an agency. More of us can be booked instead of getting the “we already have one of you' which many of my POC model friends have been told in the past. 


We also must acknowledge that things like modelling or any creative type of jobs are usually shunned culturally, so there might not be as many South Asians as we want.

 


Dilpreet: What is your idea of representation for South Asian women and gender-diverse folks working in the beauty and fashion industry?

Sophia: I'd love just to see the diverse range of representation we see online in the diaspora being reflected here. Connection to culture is one of the things that make South Asian culture so beautiful. I’d say representation not just on campaigns but behind the scenes too.

 

I love getting styling jobs for South Asian artists and getting to fuse both cultures I grew up on. 

About the author

Dilpreet is the founder of South Asian Today. More about her can be found here.

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