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We caught up with one of the city’s leading fashion bloggers Archana Dhankar, the face of Fashion for Royals. With more than 67k followers, Archana shares her insights on the evolution of blogging, trends for 2020, as well as some of the city’s best kept secrets.

1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself… What made you want to start your own blog? When did you first start?

A marketing consultant with over 15 years of experience, I started blogging in 2012. Being in a digital marketing space I used to train internal teams on blogging and social media, and thought of combining my two loves of digital media and fashion, which led to the birth of FashionForRoyals.com.

2. How has your blog changed over time since you first started? How has the industry changed do you think?

Blogging is not new, but has changed dramatically in the past few years with the popularity of Instagram. It has evolved to become more than just a tool to voice an opinion. Terms like ‘influencers’ have cropped up, with online platforms like Instagram playing a massive role in driving the commercial aspect of having a blog. We can see brands are more accepting and partnering with bloggers to reach new audiences.

3. What are the best aspects of running your own blog? What are the hardest aspects?

I’d say starting a blog is one of the best ways to connect with a wider audience on social media. My social media channel is like a community of virtual friends who I love to share my life with.

However, with that comes the responsibility of creating relevant content and understanding your audience. I regularly look at the comments that people make on blogs and ask readers and followers on social channels what they want to know next from me.

The biggest challenge is managing work-life balance. I need to make sure that we do not overdo work, as sometimes I find it hard to balance the urge to create content with having fun with my young family and husband.

4. What do you think will be the next big fashion and beauty trends of 2020?

Fashion trends are always changing. The clothes we wear depend on the season, but we are also inspired by what celebrities are wearing and what we see in fashion shows. I believe that bright neon, graphic liners and glossy textures are quite in trend these days, and I think this will continue in 2020 also. There has been a lot of experimentation with the bottoms lately because everybody is done with regular jeans.

5. Which are your go-to shops and restaurants in the city for food, clothes and beauty? Are there any independent shops you love?

There are a lot of places I love to shop from, and the Birmingham food scene is so much fun! My favourite restaurants in the city are The Ivy, Legna, Bank and also Indian Brewery for lunches. I shop a lot from The Bullring and Selfridges as you can imagine. There are two really nice cafes for lunch Salcooks (their salads are amazing) and Saint Kitchen, where I go almost once every week.

6. If you’re heading out for a girls’ night out, where are your favourite places to go in the city?

I love my cocktails, so my choice will be to head down to The Alchemist or The Botanist for a girls’ night out!

7. Are there any lesser-known or quirky/secret places you love in Birmingham or the West Midlands?

From quirky shopping districts, beautiful art galleries to the downright unusual, there are so many unique and secret spots in Birmingham to explore. In the midst of bustling Birmingham is what locals call the Golden Triangle. Filled with an array of stunning gold and precious gems, the Jewellery Quarter is a one of a kind place. St Paul’s Church and St Paul’s House are great places to hang out. Indian Brewery and Zindiya Moseley serve some of the great Indian food that I love. Other than this I love visiting Stratford-Upon-Avon and Warwick for the countryside feels.