Riya Gupta on empowered femininity
Studio Rigu – the New Delhi-based label – founded in 2017 by Riya Gupta, has forward thinking footing
When Riya Gupta moved from New Delhi to London in 2013, she was met with a quizzical gaze. ‘People didn’t understand what I was coming from. They thought that maybe I’d be traveling on elephants and going to school on a horse and I was like, honestly! I’ve never even sat on one!’ Gupta says. ‘It really dawned on me that people might have these preconceived notions because we’ve given them that kind of image of the country. It is a fantasy.’
As founder of non-seasonal womenswear label Studio Rigu, Gupta is part of a new wave of designers fusing traditional metier with forward-thinking elan. The India that Gupta returned to after graduating from the London College of Fashion felt unfamiliar – more globalised in the five years she was away. Young women were expressing themselves more openly, galvanised by the arrival of dating apps like Bumble and Tinder, and a cycle of 24-hour global content at their fingertips.
Gupta says: ‘When I moved to London, I got a culture shock. When I came back to India, I got a culture shock. There was this shift and I realised that I wanted to make clothes that felt right for the times. Right for independent, intrepid women. Something which feels like second skin, but is also fun, quirky and shows off the personality of the woman wearing it.’
Gupta set up her all-female-run business in 2017 with the aim of taking up the empty space between the well-established Indian couture market and fast fashion. ‘It’s really about something which we define as empowered femininity – your own notion of femininity,’ she says of Studio Rigu. ‘For us, it is something which just makes you empowering. It could be something as simple as taking a bike ride late at night. There’s been a huge shift for women in India, but we aren’t there yet.’ §