Turbans And Headpieces Add Individual Style To Your Look

Photographs by Franklin Thompson

To say that life gives us unexpected twists and turns is an understatement. Sonya Keshwani’s breast cancer diagnosis at the age of 29 could have stopped her in her tracks. But to the contrary, she found her voice and creative spirit through her recovery through the process of making turbans that expressed her individual style. From working at the Department of Justice in Public Affairs she morphed into a fashion designer adding elements of her Indian ancestry. As her turban collection grew and evolved so did she and StyleEsteem Wardrobe was born.

Sona Keshwani from StyleEsteem Wardrobe. https://styleesteemshop.com


Keshwani is poised to expand globally and recently branched out into Couture bridal headpieces imbuing each with a variety of references that allow the wearer to express love and appreciation for other cultures. She is bringing awareness to the universality of the human condition through fashionable headpieces. Below is a Q&A with Keshwani, in her own words. 

When did you first start the turban collection?

My lifelong love of fashion led me to create a turban at age 29 when I lost my hair to chemotherapy after a breast cancer diagnosis and became frustrated with the limited options available for head coverings. I took matters into my own hands and began experimenting with different fabrics and my sewing machine while in treatment. My personal turban collection started to grow, and so did my confidence as I regained my voice and power through this new passion. Inspired by the elegance and the history of the turban, I decided to make a bold move and launch StyleEsteem Wardrobe.

Four years later I was getting ready for my wedding in India and became inspired to design a bridal collection. The collection design process started as I began planning my wedding looks for the different ceremonies. It continued after I flew to India and became immersed in the textile bazaars of Bombay while discovering fine fabrics and one-of-a-kind trimmings. As the wedding day drew closer, the headpieces came together, with elements from India and New York City. Ultimately the goal was to celebrate the lifelong journey that had brought me to my wedding day and my multicultural background which I love.


Now that you are expanding into bridal and including more cultural references in your headpiece collection, can you tell me where the collection is headed next? 



Continuing the success of our couture presentation at New York Luxury Bridal Fashion Week, we are taking StyleEsteem across the globe to find inspiration for future collections. You may spot us in Milan, Istanbul, or Seoul in the coming months. Soaking in the history and the textiles, and hand-selecting unique finishings for upcoming designs. But you’ll have to follow us on Instagram @StyleEsteem for all the exciting international fashion updates.


Where do you find your inspiration? Are there fashion brands/designers you look up to?

I am inspired by what the turban has represented throughout history. The pagdis (turbans) of the maharajas (kings) in India were adorned with exquisite jewels and silks and symbolized royalty and spirituality. Colorful headwraps were worn by African women in late 1700s America, in protest of the Tignon Law which ordered them to cover their hair and refrain from “excessive attention to dress”. Glamorous turbans were worn by iconic Hollywood starlets throughout the 20th century. And of course, those who wear StyleEsteem turbans today.

As much as turbans carry an inspiring history, the wearer’s history is as much a part of that story. It is the idea that the turban can connect you to history while also connecting you with yourself, through style. I admire designers who tell a story through their collections and push the boundaries through their designs—my favorites are Alexander McQueen, Naeem Khan, Rahul Mishra, Prabal Gurung, Christian Siriano, and Tiffany & Co.


The interviewer with Sonya Keshwani


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