If you say you haven’t come across ‘The Guy in a Skirt’ yet, we’d say, ”Are you for real?” From rocking that skirt to giving us major fashion goals, Shivam Bhardwaj is making a stan out of us all.

‘Boys don’t cry. Don’t hit like a girl. Be a man.’ For a society that grew up listening to these as the ultimate affirmation to be a man, watching a guy wear a skirt cannot be settling in the least. People always love to put others in boxes because anything that they don’t understand scares them. Well, fashion influencer Shivam Bhardwaj has seen his share of resentment in life and he lives a life true to himself without being concerned about others.

You can address Shivam as he/him, fashionista, queer, queen, proud, and the ‘The Guy in a Skirt.’ The creator who has been showing up in our explore section with his amazing contour is bringing inclusivity to the table. Hailing from a small town, Shivam is doing his best to be an influencer, create content, run his own label ‘Violet’ all while trying to complete his college assignments on time. He always found himself attracted to clothes. Coming from a joint family, he ended up trying on clothes and dressing himself up because colors and any unique style always caught his attention. As a kid it was not about fashion but more about trying something different out of his love for clothes.

“Fashion came into the picture way later because there was a time when I was getting criticized for my style. There were so many friends who told me that I don’t do fashion well. It was not that fashion attracted me, I just knew that clothes were something through which I could express myself. And I also feel that somewhere I was just trying to hide through my clothes.”

Before he was officially out and proud, Shivam never thought that coming out for him would happen nationally. “I always say that my coming out was like a national coming out because it was the pride month and I hadn’t come out until my feature in Humans of Bombay happened.” And soon after that, he had people approaching him for videos and collaborations.

And the one person who made his dream come true of taking over the fashion world one style at a time was his mother. For him, it was not about the number of clothes but the best way to style the limited clothes that he had, and his mother always made sure he would do his best. “At that time, we came from a lower-middle-class family, toh issa nahi tha ki we had a lot of clothes. So I used to plan in such a way that I hire a photographer who will click enough pictures ki me 1 mahine tak post karta rahoo. So my mom used to give me some money from her ration money ki ‘yeh le and go do your thing’. The push from my mom’s side is the reason why I’m here today. If she wouldn’t have pushed as she did, I might have never been in fashion today. Even today, she believes that I can do something out of it and that is what keeps me going.”

One thing that sets Shivam apart is the content that he shares online. He’d like to call himself a ‘one Man Army’ because he prefers to not be dependent on others. He tries finding time in between his studies so he can put up his fashion ideas and concepts online and share them with the world.

He always knew about the competition and made sure that he stood apart from the rest of them. This has helped him receive positive feedbacks from his followers. He believes that he has been able to contribute in the smallest way because of this feedback. He also recalled how a heterosexual man got in touch with him asking him for tips on how he can style a skirt, only adding to the conversation on how people should normalize men wearing skirts or anything that they like in general. His own label, Violet is built on the same idea. His online store creates clothes for any and all genders and hopes to help people express themselves as who they are.

Like many in the world of content creation, Shivam too has been serving as an inspiration to many to take up their dreams and live a life with less fear. And he only had one thing to say to all the young kids and dreamers, “I want to say that ‘it’s okay if you don’t fit in. It’s okay to be different. Believe in yourself and it would really help you. Don’t try to fit in because you don’t have to. Just be yourself and what you want to be!”

Follow Shivam on Instagram to find your fashion inspiration!

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