In conversation with Rhea Gupte

We love working with people who share the same passion and mindset as ours, Rhea Gupte has been a long time friend of the brand and continues to bring her creative vision to our campaigns, needless to say ‘Up The Rabbit Hole’ did stand out with her significant aesthetics. We are in conversation with Rhea, where she shares her journey, insights of her creative progress and her future plans. Read more below:

How would you describe your profession and what you did for Yavi FW22?

I am a multi-disciplinary artist dreaming in varied mediums to communicate the thoughts circling in my head. The idea of a white rabbit in solitude had been on my ideas list for quite a while and I was hoping to align this vision with an appropriate campaign. When I saw Yavi’s Fall-Winter collection and Yadvi’s thoughts behind it, I knew this would be a great fit. I conceptualised the campaign, prepared storyboards, planned the flow of the day, styled the looks, photographed and edited the images.

How did you start in fashion?

I started in fashion as a part-time model in junior college. I then went on to study Bachelors in Fashion communication and started a little blog while I was still in college. I interned at a bunch of places during college and after graduating, I continued working on my blog, while also freelancing as a writer, model and consultant all through. I grew the blog to be bigger than what I had imagined it to be and when I felt my journey with it was over, I switched to newfound love in photography, creative direction and art which suited my growing skill set and vision. Currently my body of work flows across fashion, fine art, mixed media art, design and consultancy.

What attracts you most about working with homegrown fashion brands?

I love to work with people who are keen to build something that is making a difference. Through their products and design, showcasing the beauty of Indian traditional handicraft and weaving techniques, to their resolve in making products which take little from our earth while giving a lot more back, right down to their working policy in how they run their company, do they pay fair, how they support their karigars. What we are creating together, has a larger purpose beyond the beauty of the images I have created and words I have written, that they mean something deeper and are making a change in an industry which still runs as a gatekeeper to the white-capitalist-consumerist way of working. A lot is changing but we still have a long way to go

You have always been an influence to us for practicing sustainability in fashion. Can you share one change everyone can adopt in the new year to be stylish yet sustainable?

That’s very kind! Yes, in the new year, take a keen interest in sustainability, through your preferred medium of learning, whether it is through articles, podcasts, books, youtube videos or just snippets on social media. I love and am indebted to the work done by The Slow Factory, The ClothesHorse Podcast, Aja Barber, Remake, Fashion Revolution to name a few. Pick your mode of learning and give it a little bit of time. I feel awareness leads to change, the kind of self-motivated change which one can chart for themselves, whether it is through lifestyle choices, getting involved in signing petitions, contributing to this cause, spreading the word or encouraging more people to invest time in it. Pick a starting point and pick a role you can play to better the crisis we are in.

You directed the FW22 collection "Up the rabbit hole". Tell us why this name and what was your vision for this campaign?

The white rabbit from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, stylish-waistcoat-wearing, pocket-watch-carrying, marks the beginning of Alice’s adventure. Instead of being a typical children’s book character gleefully inviting the protagonist into a new world, the rabbit is busy, late and running out of time, almost too occupied to notice Alice and I see a similarity with the white rabbit’s state of mind to our experience of time and how we often end up thinking about it. ‘Have We Become The White Rabbit?’ by Culture Decanted follows a similar thought in an article dissecting our relationship with time in the age we live in. For this campaign, I created the opposite, a solitary, leisurely, anthropomorphic character, thriving in the stillness of time. ‘Down the rabbit hole’ is often used as a metaphor for something that transports someone into a surreal state or confusing situation. I have used the opposite of this metaphor to transport ourselves into a state of solitude, contentment and quiet confidence, where time is a friend and companion to be enjoyed.

Which was your favourite shot and can you tell us why?

The attached is my favourite image from the campaign. I love the stillness and self-assuredness it carries while also preserving a sense of flow. A huge shout out to my producer Jane, who worked tirelessly with me on shoot day. None of these images would have been possible without her wholehearted support. A big thank you to Yadvi for always recognising my vision and giving me complete creative freedom to run with it. And of course a big hug to the team at Lovestruckcow for being such a lovely, supportive bunch to work with. It is an honour and a privilege to createvwith kindred spirits.

What do you like most about Yavi?

I like the confidence the brand has with its silhouettes and styles and the complete unpredictability it showcases with the prints and colour palettes. It feels like an artist painting on a different canvas with each collection, fearlessly.

How would you wear Yavi in your own wardrobe?

My personal wardrobe only has clothes in black with a few white shirts, so I’d probably choose from the very few options in black that this vibrant, colourful brand has, and layer them with a bunch of black separates from my wardrobe. Haha! It would be fun to see Yavi in my style cause it is such an opposite to the explosion of colour the brand is characterised by.

A to-do on your list of things to experience in 2023?

I’d like to visit a few places in Japan in 2023, I have been learning Japanese for a while and am working towards getting really good at it before I go.

In the new year what are you most looking forward to in terms of creativity and profession?

In the new year I’d like to continue creating meaningful, thoughtful work which challenges me to grow and learn, while giving myself a safe space to express, make mistakes, make a lot of things that I love, identify more of what I dislike, be open, present and well rested.

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