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Harpreet Purewal

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

Taking my make up off when I'm drunk. Like what's revealed underneath wasn't so bad that it needed covering up.

2. Do you notice women on the street? If so, what sort of women do you tend to notice or admire?

Quite a lot. I live in London which is full of well dressed women. I tend to notice well dressed women that are older than me. Often the more severe dressed catch my eye - especially a sharp hair cut.

3. What are some things you admire about how other women present themselves?

I like when a woman obviously dresses without the male gaze in mind.

4. Was there a moment in your life when something “clicked” for you about fashion or dressing or make-up or hair? What? Why did it happen then, do you think?

Nothing I can really remember, but Madonna probably had a role to play.

5. What are some shopping rules you wouldn’t necessarily recommend to others but which you follow?

More is more, actually, I would recommend that but only to a few people.

9. Are there any clothing (or related) items that you have in multiple? Why do you think you keep buying this thing?

Yes- a t shirt, a pair of shoes probably more. Because sometimes something is perfect and I worry about the day it will fall apart way before I get to that stage. The second item is an insurance and a means of delaying the inevitable.

11. Is there any fashion trend you’ve refused to participate in and why? 

That folksy/gypsy trend that comes round every couple of years. I don't identify with the carefree narrative that it basically SCREAMS at you, it just looks floaty, shit and cheap. I want my clothes to make me look at least a bit scary.

12. Can you say a bit about how your mother’s body and style has been passed down to you, or not?

My mum was slim, she had kids, and is no longer slim. She used to get complimented on her weight when we visited India as children but now Western ideals of thin women are standard there. Style-wise she's quite pragmatic, more Western dressed than is typical of her generation and background.

13. Have you stolen, borrowed or adapted any dressing ideas or actual items from friends or family?

Borrowed sure. Emily - when you want that dress with the buttons back just say.

15. Is there anything political about the way you dress?

Yes. (If being fierce is political.)

16. Please describe your body.

I've always felt indifferent about it. I used to feel a bit oppressed by the narrative of loving your body. Now I feel like, my body mostly complies with what I want - right foot needs coaxing, left knee hates cycling in winter - but generally everything works pretty well.

17. Please describe your mind.

Busy, quick, free associating. Good company.

19. What are you wearing on your body and face, and how is your hair done, right at this moment?

A floral print dress which screams LOOK AT ME, no make up, hair tied in a knot on my head.

20. In what way is this stuff important, if at all?

It's all a statement. Even if you don't care. It's more important to some than others. For me, it can be a means to broadcast, but I'm not sure what.

21. With whom do you talk about clothes?


22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?

I dress the same for home and work, but maybe I'd be taken more seriously in the office if I upped my game a bit but then... I just can't care enough.

23. Do you think you have taste or style? Which one is more important? What do these words mean to you?

Does style imply more consistency? Pass.

26. Do you have style in any areas of your life aside from fashion?

Yes, my home is totally glam.

32. If dressing were the only thing you did, and you were considered an expert and asked to explain your style philosophy, what would you say?

Something about creating identity and selves. Something about how we all create different selves through clothes.

33. What is really beautiful, for you, in general?

The Barbican.

35. Are you generally a good judge of whether what you buy will end up being worn? Have you figured out how to know in advance?


37. What is your process getting dressed in the morning? What are you considering?

How I have nothing to wear.

38. What are you trying to achieve when you dress?

Sometimes some superficial attention seeking but increasingly to be ignored. I just don't want to draw any attention to myself walking down the street b/c street harassment. (I'm not saying that any one invites it by dressing a particular way.)

40. If you had to wear a “uniform” what would it look like?


42. What is your cultural background and how has that influenced how you dress?

My parents are Indian. I'm British. I guess because of my background and skin tone I've always worn colourful clothes.

50. Do you ever wish you were a man or could dress like a man or had a man’s body? Was there ever a time in the past?

If we're realistic- men's clothes are shit. The best is women's clothes that take cues from men's tailoring.

Men wear deck shoes, khaki shorts and other such shit.

Sometimes I envy them at formal events when they can trot out the same old suit, but they can never look amazing the same way a woman can. Men are much more constrained.

52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?

No. I'm reminded of this by people from time to time.

53. When you see yourself in photographs, what do you think?

Is that what I really look like? I think without animation my face isn't really giving me a fair shot.

56. What would be a difficult or uncomfortable look for you to try and achieve?


57. If you were totally comfortable with your body, or your body was a bit closer to what you wish it was like, what would you wear?

If I was taller, I'd wear more trousers and try to look more severe.

60. What do you think of perfume? Do you wear it?

Yes. Comme des Garcons Man. I change perfume every few years, this one I've worn for about six years.

61. What are some things you need to do to your body or clothes in order to feel presentable?

Iron my clothes.

62. How does makeup fit into all this for you?

Less as I get older

63. Is there a certain look you feel you’re expected to like that you have absolutely no interest in? What is it? Why aren’t you interested?

That Rachael Zo/Olsen twins look where everything was designed to dwarf you. Big sunglasses, big handbag, big hair. I don't want to be diminished beneath all that shit.

70. Building up your wardrobe from nothing, what would you do differently this time?

More shoulder pads. More trousers. More dresses with pockets.

82. Did anyone ever say anything to you that made you see yourself differently, on a physical and especially sartorial level?

Yes- a friend once talked about a cheap dress she bought from a market. She said she looked at it and thought - 'Harpreet would wear that and make it look expensive''. It was a throwaway comment but I was so flattered.

What’s your birth date? 
Where were you born and where do you live now?

Born November 1983 in Birmingham, I live in London now.

What kind of work do you do?


Please say anything you like about yourself that might put this survey into some sort of context.

I just read 'How Should a Person Be' over the weekend. That's why I'm here.

How do you feel after filling out this survey?

Like I've probably said too much

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