October 13, 2018 Asmita Aggarwal

First Ladies

Power dressing for an empowered woman sans the trappings of glamour at Rig.

By Asmita Aggarwal

It was at Modern School (Barakhamba) that Riya Gupta discovered her love for sketching and design. With a father who ran a lucrative steel business, he wanted to give his daughter the best opportunity to nurture her talent, so Riya at 18 went to study at the London College of Fashion. She returned to launch her label Rigu (acronym for the first two alphabets of her first name and surname), this year.

Four years in England shaped the way she looked at style and thought about exploring the various aspects of power dressing. Clean, modern silhouettes, not over complicated, offering trans-seasonal clothing, Riya offers pieces you can take effortlessly from day to night. “At LCF the exposure was immense it helped you find what you could do. In my case sustainability became the fulcrum, especially when I worked with Marks & Spencer,” she explains. Here she substituted zippers with buttons and worked at reducing product consumption, by creating classics, using less plastic. While at J.D. Williams she made clothing for aged women and increased the bracket size from 20 to 60 years. “At Not just a Label, I made a line inspired by the Middle-East, modest yet fashionable. Young women today want comfort so I don’t really believe in trends as an individual evolves, so does her style. She matures and discovers dressing is being true to yourself,” she adds.

Embracing what suits your body is the first step to understanding fashion, and for her collaboration are a great way to synthesise thoughts, like she did when she got on board a Ukrainian illustrator for a project. “In the future I am looking at partnering with a textile designer and an embroidery maker, as I offer premium high street wear, it must give you something that has an edge,” she explains.

Her SS’19 line ‘In order to bloom’, is how a girl turns into a woman using the metaphor of a bud how it blossoms into a flower despite the hardships she faces from rain, hail, storm, dust and gusts of wind, showing covert empowered femininity. The colours are subdued, washed out pinks and blues but the sharp, tailored silhouettes, masculine coats, boxy cuts with excessive play with gathers,  have a hint of embroidery.


The fabrics range from cotton mixed with jacquard and suiting material. “I have worked with brocades to enhance the outfits with dashes of beads and sequins only as highlights. Power dressing is not when you look like a man, but rather wearing empowering ensembles,” she adds.

Riya wants to tell the story about how strength and vulnerability co-exist in the same space and person, as she looks at fashion, minus all the apparatus— Photoshop to digitalisation showing the invisible side of glamour.


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