October 17, 2023 FDCI

The last ‘resort’

Offering sustainable fabrics, swimwear with reversible styles and interesting prints, Reby Kumar of Guapa is embarking on, making dressing for your next holiday under the palms, super comfortable.

By Asmita Aggarwal

It has been a hiatus of three years since Reby Kumar showcased in the Capital, and as she completes ten years in the fashion industry with her label Guapa, she admits it has been a learning curve, not being a trained designer.

After a short course from NIFT, which taught  the basics, the strength was finance and marketing, a field she left to pursue her passion for shapes. Though a major in economics propelled her to understand how a business is run smoothly. She counts this as a blessing as her raw, unadulterated aesthetic comes from out-of-the-box thinking. Her forte has been unusual colour combos, which spring up unexpectedly in kaftans, allowing the wearer to mix, and match with almost anything. The silhouettes being easy, are first tested in house to check the wearability, then marketed.

This season, there is cutwork as well as surface ornamentation, but prints remain at the heart of the label. With clothing at Guapa, mostly trans-seasonal, she has embarked on a new ideology—reviving the older versions of the prints, ones she began her journey with. “We gave them a tweak, and added newness,” she affirms, terming her line “Under the Palms”. Metaphorically, it is about finding one’s oasis, happy clothes, making you feel like you are on a holiday as the fabrics are as soft as the philosophy—linens and gauze.

Extensively using Cupro, a ‘regenerated cellulose’ fabric made from cotton waste, it is crafted with silky cotton fibres, known as linter, that stick out of the cottonseed and are too small to spin. It has the positive qualities of silk and drapes luxuriously. Reby blends this with satin, georgette to chiffon and mul-mul, to give buyers the joy of comfort in reimagined palm-inspired and tile prints.

For LFW 2023 she is also showcasing swimwear, entirely made in India, and not the usual spots like Bali and Sri Lanka, customising it for Indian bodies.  It is crafted from sustainable Econyl fabric, made from recycled ocean and landfill waste, some of which offers reversible patterns. The waste is again put to good use by designing jewellery, as well as flowers, and tassels on the bikinis and monokinis. “Travellers post-covid have realised the impermanence of human existence, they don’t want to postpone plans, want to live for ‘now’, just dress up and have fun,” she confirms.

Her best seller till today is the Toga dress, inspired by the Roman drape that slides and slips around the body offering ease, it is a forgiving shape sometimes accompanied with a cowl. Along with this are the sarong dresses, structured co-ords, shorts and shirts, separates which will take you from day to evening without any fuss. “Clothing must offer value-for-money as well as versatility, my marketing experience helped me understand the customer’s point of view, so I work backwards. First cost, then design, a kind of reverse perspective,” she concludes.

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Fashion Design Council of India