Reby Kumar of Guapa’s printed cover ups make way for travel to begin, as the world opens up
By Asmita Aggarwal
The need of the hour is truly a slow down and to become more conscious as well as relevant. It is imperative to restructure, reuse and reinvent. When Reby Kumar of Guapa began planning this collection, in the midst of the lockdown, it was a time of fear and uncertainty. Everyone needed an assurance of happiness, hope and positivity and the designer wanted to give the audience an experience of escape from reality. “This desire for magic, especially in this year of 2020, is the inspiration of this line. Honestly, we never thought fashion weeks could be taken online, but we’ve surprised ourselves. With collective efforts of the FDCI and fashion fraternity, we have been able to seamlessly shift mediums and are awed by the response, we have received from all over the world,” she explains.
Guapa’s signature has always been prints and this time she has introduced three interesting artistic renditions. “We have experimented with converting our prints into bandanas this year and use that in different silhouettes like shirts and cover ups,” she adds. This season, the Guapa Cover Up Set, has been launched, which is her most unique and innovative creation yet. “We are confident that this design is sure to start a beach wear trend,” she smiles. Inspired by the colourful bandanas they are known for, this silhouette features a strapless top, pencil skirt and a matching scarf framed in artistic prints. It’s multifunctional as the top and the skirt is interchangeable, making this versatile easy-breezy stunner. Ideal for a picture-perfect local beach gateway, and a sure-shot travel essential.
There is no doubt that the fashion and apparel industry haspredominantly been a touch, feel, try and buy market. But that has had to change drastically during the pandemic. Consumers have become more mindful of what they buy. “On the supply side, the pandemic has forced most of us to go digital, which has honestly been long pending, but this year, gave us the time to put our best efforts into realising it,” she affirms.
The Guapa model from the beginning has been one of “sustainable expansion”. And that really helped them save for a rainy day which was now. Thankfully, she didn’t have to downsize, neither had to cut jobs or salaries. A planned and systematic growth strategy has proved to be sustainable for her in these times of uncertainty. “India is a country with rich and vibrant culture. We love to celebrate, anything! We are a mystic land of folktales and mythology—–fantasy is innate to our culture and DNA. What we need to do is build functionality into these fantasies or the stories we weave. As a brand, through this fashion film we have given a glimpse of the magic that we have tried to create with this collection, we have been very mindful of the comfort and functional aspect of our designs,” she adds.
What has emerged in her brand aesthetic is after the pandemic is over to employ blue ocean strategy as a part of our growth model and not competitive strategies. “Collaborate not compete should be the new order,” she says. The digital aspect has exposed designers to a wider network. The good thing is they are not limited to an exclusive 150 people at a show. “Everyone gets a front row seat; it’s more international and inclusive which I love. I am embracing the change and excited about our first virtual show with the FDCI,” she concludes.