Physician sisters Samantha and Bianka Bawan love to dress in style. Their Instagram account @bawansisters boasts a 26.6K follower-count and is, in fact, a perfect curation of top-notch fashion set against equally beautiful landscapes. They also run their own personal style website – Bawan Sisters where they blog (pictorial) about their journey in fashion and style.
Samantha is a radiologist, while Bianka is a general surgeon. As such, for them, fashion functions as a form of self-care and self-confidence in addition to self-expression, particularly in the face of scrubs, lab coats, and high-pressure situations. Indeed, the way the Bawan sisters seemingly effortlessly flit between the medical world and the world of fashion is proof that work and style aren’t mutually exclusive.
Read on for our chat with the Bawan sisters about fashion and online influence.
How do you define your personal sense of style?
Samantha: I’d say, compared to my sister, my sense of style is more classic, but with a bit of a twist. I love more classic silhouettes like dresses and suits, but I like to mix patterns and wear a lot of bold, bright colours.
Bianka: I would describe my style as eclectic. My core style is androgynous with a love for layers, monochrome, and interesting silhouettes. Yet, I am also a little bit of a magpie and can’t resist over the top prints or brights every now and then.
S: I think we have very different senses of styles, but they complement each other.
What’s the significance of working with your sister for your online presence?
S: Initially, when I had gone through school, I loved fashion. But when I went through medical school, I really lost focus on that. I was focusing on work, so I wasn’t into fashion as much. And then I moved to Edmonton and Bianka moved there as well. And she was similar. She liked fashion. It was an interest, but we both had jobs. So, by working together, we were able to help each other kind of find that passion again. It kind of helped us get a bit closer as well and spend time together.
How do you manage living, dressing, and feeling first-rate with such a busy work schedule?
S: I’m a radiologist and my sister, a general surgeon. So, for both of us, [we] really spent the last few years trying to get organized and have [our] schedule. I find that the busier I am, if I am just a bit more organized, I’m able to kind of divide my time accordingly.
So, for example, over the last few years, something for me that’s important – is in the morning getting my skincare routine and wearing a good outfit. It makes [me] feel confident when I go to work. I’ve worked on becoming organized with my skincare routine so I can do it efficiently and quickly. My closet is very organized, so I can walk in there and pull outfits very efficiently.
B: A surgical residency meant long hours and a lot of time in a uniform of scrubs. What I know, though, is I feel more alive and energized when I do take care of myself—from having a skincare regimen to expressing my creativity through my style—so I consciously make an effort now to
incorporate this into my schedule.
What are some of the brands that you like?
S: I love accessories and I love Chanel, and I love high-end luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Dior, Bottega Veneta, and Dior.
B: My favourite brands are Gucci, Givenchy, Ann Demeulemeester, Rei Kawakubo, and Kapital.
S: The one thing is I do wear them to work. Like I don’t just buy clothes and keep them in my closet—everything that I buy, I wear to work. And that’s what I enjoy about it. It really lets me express myself. And it gives me confidence too to be able to dress up and dress well.
What criteria do you have in mind when choosing brand partners to work with?
S: I think we’re very selective on who we partner with. We don’t do a lot of sponsored posts and if I am going to do sponsored posts, it would be with a brand that I have either purchased [from] myself in the past or one that I believe in, or one that I would go out and purchase [from] myself. It wouldn’t be something that, if once they sent it to me, I never want to use again […] It should be open for us to give whatever feedback we give, and it shouldn’t be for a positive review.
How do you make sure to create content that resonates with your audience?
S: Tying back to the previous question, we don’t do a lot of sponsored posts and I think that helps our feed look organic. It’s not always just products, and [the photos are] not too staged. The clothes that I wear are truly things that I wear, and I think people realize it’s actually what we enjoy in life. I think that helps people feel like we’re authentic, and I think that’s what really drives our follower base.
When [followers] interact with us like through Instagram stories or they ask us, “can you review this? Can you talk about this?” It’s really important to engage with your audience and see the feedback you’re getting from them.
Even if we do sponsored posts, like a collaboration with a hotel, it’s not just going to be about a picture of the hotel. It’s still a fashion blog. It’s still about our state, how we did it so that everything seems cohesive but true to us.
What advice would you give to your followers on fashion and having a sense of style?
S: I think you have to first know that just because I like a certain colour and pattern, it’s not something that everyone’s going to appreciate. But I think you have to know what suits you, your body type, and what you like. And then you can bring in elements. Let’s say you only wear neutrals or black, but you can appreciate colour or pattern on someone else’s outfit. You have to find a way to incorporate what you like into your look slowly. Take it piece by piece, put a little bit of colour, put a little bit of pattern, expand your horizon slowly.
Arslan Ahmed | Contributing Writer