Tanya Ravichandran, the 22-year-old content creator and photographer, has established herself within the fashion and beauty industries with her unique creative flair, carefully curated style, and ability to blend sustainable and technological innovation with fashion. Tanya’s efforts do not go unnoticed, as she has amassed a large following of loyal supporters on social media and has partnered with multiple brands that align with her goals and vision.

Can you share a bit about your background and how you first got interested in photography and content creation?

I grew up in Cupertino, California, home of Apple and far from anything ever fashionable or creative. This area guides most people to work in tech or computer science, something I did subsequently study during college. To find refuge, I found passion in fashion photography from a young age. I opened Instagram account when I was 10 years old and started taking self-portraits and photos of myself. By the time I was 15 years old, I was photographing campaigns for brands like PacSun and Aeropostale. What I was doing was an anomaly in the town I lived in and, unfortunately, I fell back into the track of computer science and went to college for a degree in UX/UI design and computer science. When the pandemic hit, I realized how much I missed being creative and finding an outlet from what I thought was the only path I can take in life. I started posting on Instagram and TikTok again, and quickly amassed a following as one of the earlier fashion creators.

How did your journey in fashion and beauty begin, and what drew you to these industries?

I needed an escape from what I only knew and was surrounded by, living in a town driven by tech. I grew up in the heart of the Silicon Valley, which was a breeding point for engineers as many of us started coding from elementary school. Despite being immersed in this, I wanted to find refuge from something I didn’t resonate with and that was fashion and beauty.

dress & boots SACAI 
jewelry Tanya’s own
gloves Stylist’s own

What does it mean to you to represent South Asian women in the fashion and beauty industry?

It is evident and obvious that South Asian women are underrepresented in the industry. Celebrating and promoting South Asia’s rich cultural heritage and distinct attractiveness is essential to representing South Asian women in the fashion and beauty industries. By showcasing a variety of skin tones, body shapes and traditional fashions, it aims to dispel misconceptions and advance inclusivity. It’s a chance for me as a South Asian fashion creator to instill self-assurance, promote ethnic pride, and open doors for further chances and representation in the field. By being one of the rare South Asian creators in this space, I hope to inspire the next generation of young girls who dream to be in this industry, but did not think it was possible in the past. 

What sparked your interest in collecting archival and vintage fashion? What designer’s vintage pieces do you particularly love?

I love to call this the war against fast fashion and trending overconsumption. Archival and vintage fashion pieces do not reflect particular trends within one era, but every era, therefore I can pull pieces that represent what reflects my personal style rather than what microtrend resonates with our current time. I also believe collecting vintage and archive forces you to purchase with conviction. The satisfaction you get from finally tracking down a piece is an exciting mission to find a piece from an old runway image after searching for it for months and finally purchasing it. My favorite runway of all time is SS01 Gucci and FW99 Prada. I’ve been on a journey to collect the pieces from these runways and solely purchasing things from runways that excite me. I also am obsessed with any late 90s and early 00s McQueen due to the theatrics and stories McQueen sent down with his pieces. When I wear and/or own a piece from any of his runways, I feel a sense of honor that I’m wearing a piece that reflects an entire story, and I love to collectively channel that story through my outfit and day. 

How has your degree in computer science influenced your work in fashion?

Despite the joke that many programmers like an algorithm, I believe that this algorithmic thinking is what has helped me excel more as a creative. I think being creative leads to constant ideation and difficulty in executing exactly what you want and bringing it to words. My degree has instilled me with a methodical and analytic mindset, intersecting with my creative passion. This algorithmic thinking has helped me break down the complex design processes in each shoot/piece of work into smaller pieces. Coming from a design and computer science background, I also believe you get a degree not in coding but rather in problem solving. Therefore, these skills have been honed into my creative work to help me translate abstract concepts and my love for fashion into more innovative ways. 

Can you tell us more about your commitment to sustainability and how it influences your personal style, content, and/or brand partnerships?

I have made a commitment to myself and my followers to not work with brands who are fast fashion or do not have a short term and long term goal for the future to adopt sustainability initiatives. This goes beyond a singular campaign that promotes recycled fabrics and everything parallel, but longer and shorter term goals with steps they are instilling within their supply chain to eventually reach some type of B-corp or good sustainability rating status. This means that I am not accepting every brand deal that comes my way, this includes rejecting paychecks from brands like Uniqlo, Abercrombie, Aritzia and many more. I am aware that I also hold the privilege to be able to decline these brands deals and earn a sufficient amount of money solely based on brands that I align with, and understand that is not the case for everyone. As influencers, by promoting second-hand shopping, we can help reduce the demand for new clothing, reducing the production and consumption of new clothing. When we buy second-hand clothing, we are extending the life of those garments, which reduces the need for new clothing production. This in turn reduces the environmental impact of the fashion industry, including the carbon emissions, water consumption and land use associated with clothing production.

I hope that with due time, I will be able to solely work with brands that inspire me with their initiatives, whether that be sustainability practices within the company or with directly working with second-hand fashion retail sites.

jewelry Tanya’s own

How do you approach creating content that aligns with both your creative style and the brand’s vision in your collaborations?

By not accepting every brand that comes my way. To be a true creator/influencer, you have to be passionate about the products you may be selling to your followers. Your job is quite literally to sell products and/or a lifestyle. Therefore, it is important not only for your ethos, but also for your soul, to sell products that you are passionate about. Therefore, every brand deal I select is meticulously chosen and I ensure that my vision for the creative is aligned and approved on the brand’s side to ensure it is a beneficial partnership both ways. Why would your followers want to follow you and care about what you post if you don’t even care about the products.

How do you relax and manage stress with such a busy and multifaceted career?

As of a year ago, I have fallen in love with long distance running. Despite the fact that many people believe that long distance running is stressful, I find it one of the most tranquil times during my day. The satisfaction you get from being able to run a new distance or time goal is pure euphoria. And it’s one of the only times in my day I get to be by myself and sit in my thoughts, and enjoy what I can explore on my feet. 

What advice would you give to aspiring young creators who look up to you for inspiration?

Saying you are going to do something tomorrow is just an excuse you are giving to yourself to avoid dealing with the perception of the reactions you may receive. I also understand that it can be difficult to just do that when you don’t see many creators who look like you out there. That should be your driving point to chase your dreams in the creative space, to be a part of the change makers who are paving a path for those young South Asian girls in the future. 

Are there any dream projects you hope to pursue in the future?

My dream would be to direct and be in a campaign for Miu Miu, Prada, Alexander McQueen or TheRealReal. Despite these brands being large household names, they are dear to me as almost my entire archive is full of pieces from these brands. It would also be an honor to direct and star in a campaign for TheRealReal as I believe they have helped make vintage and second-hand fashion considerably more accessible through standardization, categorization and lower price points on some pieces. I truly commend them for that despite the amount of backlash they sometimes receive.

top, scarf, & pants ISSEY MIYAKE 
hair clips SANG
jewelry Tanya’s own

photographer JIVI EMIR
stylist Jasmine AMINI
photo assistant NURSULTAN ZWEIGERT