In today’s digital world, a flurry of luxury brands have developed an inclination towards the ostentatious or the outrageous. For on social media, it is extravagant embellishments, outré logos and dramatic style statements which generate streams of social media likes, regards and referrals. This was a fashion phenomenon on the mind of Sonia Trehan, the founder of womenswear label RŪH, when we met in London recently. Her label – which launched in 2016 – is committed to ‘rejecting the impermanence and exhibitionism of our digital age.’

America-born Trehan didn’t come into fashion from a traditional route. She studied religion at Columbia University, where she met her partner and RŪH’s head of marketing Furhaad Shah. On graduation, she began considering the gap in the market for elegant and timeless pieces, that allow women to dress for themselves and not for the outward attention of others.

It’s a mindset which caught the eye of Alison Loehnis, the president Net-a-Porter & Mr Porter, who is launching the ‘The Vanguard’ on 6 September – an incubator programme dedicated to mentoring emerging designers. Four brands – who will receive expert 360 degree guidance from the luxury e-commerce behemoth’s expert team – have been selected for the debut, and one of those is RŪH.

RŪH A/W 2018

The lookbook for the label’s autumn offering was shot at Villa Walter Fontana outside Milan, and the modernist curves and graphic details of the contemporary sculptures on show in its gardens, reflect the elegance and distinct proportions of pieces within the collection. There are timeless shapes, like sweeping trenchcoats, suiting and mid-length pencil skirts, imagined in unusual cuts and textures. Take a shirt with an extended collar which buttons high up the neck, a casual overcoat in vinyl and virgin wool, or a white double-breasted jacket with contrasting black buttons and striking 1980s-style lapels. 

Though America-born, Trehan is now Oxford based, and her vision for the label is equally global. RŪH is made up of a roster of international talent, from its acting CFO Karan Trehan in New York, strategic business consultant Ramya Giangola in LA, and design consultant and stylist Monika Tatalovic in London. Trehan is also committed to scouting out the most expert factories for her brand’s production, and spends significant time in Naples with her manufacturers. Despite working with suppliers which produce clothing for a host of luxury brands, the label is committed to an affordable cost structure, and to slashing the huge mark ups often placed on retail prices.

In its dedication to a more personal approach to fashion, one less preoccupied with the public realm of Instagram likes and looks created to catch the gaze of others, RŪH has taken an unusual approach to its digital strategy. The brand’s Instagram is private and customer’s are required to register to its website, before accessing its content as a member. The approach allows for a more dedicated attitude, designed to attract committed customers, and to prevent the repeated action of scrolling through an Instagram feed of fashion content, without a moment’s thought to what you are viewing.

Trehan chose to name her label after the Arabic word for ‘soul’. With RŪH’s slower paced, private and sensitive approach to style, we’re already feeling enlightened. §