Where the runway meets the street

WHAT ELSE? is a new series for Highsnobiety by writer/director Paul Black. What’s it all about? Call it the “What Else Factor,” a person with something else besides the thing(s) he or she is usually known for. What else is on the cards? What else should we know? The style of each piece is spontaneous and intuitively responsive to the Voice of its subject at the time of the interview. First up, Waris Ahluwalia.

Everything you might already know about Waris Ahluwalia is easy to find. He’s a tangible great Face in the vast chaotic conforming-non-conformist eclectic of Now. His friends are some of the most visible Voices across contemporary culture. He’s on Vanity Fair’s Best Dressed List. He was immortalized on the walls of the National Portrait Gallery in London. He was in Karl Lagerfeld’s Little Black Jacket show (and book). He’s an Agony Aunt in his online column “Love & Waris” for He’s an actor in a few Wes Anderson films. He played opposite Tilda Swinton in I Am Love and Denzel Washington in Spike Lee’s heist caper Inside Man.

So what else?

A funny question. Ironic. Worthy. As I know him, he also happens to be a regular guy with regular impulses. Totally not perfect but super charming, very sweet and smart as a whip. He’s a friendly New Yorker who says hey to all those who reflect back the ceaseless twinkle in his eye. He’s a great cook. He’s passionate about exquisite tea. He also happens to design gorgeous, tactile, soulful, handmade, well-made and totally unique jewelry pieces under the auspice of his label House of Waris. The goods aren’t cheap and they shouldn’t be. Quality is remembered long after price is forgotten. That’s Waris in a nutshell – timeless and refined. He’s classy, sharp and funny. He plays on the edges and keeps in step with the Establishment.

Waris is on every publicist’s VIP list and he’s not ashamed of it. He thinks long and hard when he speaks of fame. He sees it as part of the consumption puzzle. How one handles it makes all the difference. He’s busy but doesn’t spread himself thin. He chooses his gigs carefully and he really shows up. He believes in Slow Fashion. His timeline is Forever. He actively brings the Old World to the New Wave, in his creations, his attitude, manner, dress, chivalry, loyalty and sense of mindful dignity.

He knows the value of his fame. He’s here to stay. He doesn’t do “Limted Editions” of 1000s or ditch his friends for fancy. He speaks passionately about Considered Consumerism, because he believes in using resources to embrace sustainability, on many levels, both deep and shallow. He walks the walk and lives by a sound mantra: don’t judge, be honest, take your time, look good, be nice, have fun, and hell yes, shop!

You might consider snapping up a piece from Waris’s highly anticipated collection for Forevermark De Beers, out nowish.

WHAT ELSE? | by Paul Black – lifelong perpetual traveler of mixed(-up) nationality, award-winning writer/director (and sometimes producer) of film and television, devoted father, serious amateur photographer, opinionated Sartorialist, meditator, fan of eccentric visionaries with something else to say.

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