During New York Fashion Week, Rupal Banerjee presented her Ru by Rupal fall 2022 collection during MEFeater’s New York Fashion Week runway showcase. Banerjee launched her brand in 2020 as an expression of her South Asian and American background through style.
With a dedicated following of celebrities including Kehlani, Russ and Tinashe, the Parsons School of Design alum talks to us about experiencing a sense of rebirth as we emerge from COVID-19 restrictions and what she has learned as an emerging brand.
Enjoy the exchange below.
Snobette: Where do you call home? Do you rep a particular city?
Rupal Banerjee: “I call Los Angeles home, but I became who I am today and developed my sense of style while I was living in New York.”
Snobette: What was your inspiration for your fall 2022 collection?
Rupal Banerjee: “My inspiration was the concept of reincarnation, a common theme in Indian culture. The world has experienced a lot of loss over the past 2 years and I developed a deeper understanding of what it means to have a life, have opportunities, air to breath and a healthy body.
“The collection is rooted in the concept of rebirth and valuing every aspect of life. Snakes, also a common symbol in Indian culture, similarly represent rebirth with the shedding of their skin as well. You’ll notice an iteration of snake scales and an overall futuristic twist to the classic snake print in my designs.”
Snobette: As an emerging designer do you think fashion shows are the best way to present a collection?
Rupal Banerjee: “Though this runway was an amazing opportunity for me. I think you really have to have your stuff together before doing a runway. Have your press, campaign, logos, models and make-up looks all planned and prepared. If you’re not organized at that level, it can be difficult to run a smooth show. There are plenty of ways to make your brand grow, not necessarily just runway. I think creating a great campaign for your brand and blasting it on social media is a great alternative for an emerging designer as well.”
Snobette: You have been worn by the likes of Russ, Kehlani and Tinashe, to name a few, do you think being worn by celebs is a must nowadays for a brand?
Rupal Banerjee: “Being worn by celebrities is a must these days. You need to find a quick way to develop credibility for your brand. Working with celebrities is a good way to develop that and convey trust to your consumers.”
Snobette: Your brand graphics include South Asian cultural elements like your Kali graphics. What are your thoughts on non-South Asians wearing such garments and appropriation?
Rupal Banerjee: “I think the way I design these cultural graphics is in a futuristic manner. They are a reinvention of my culture for the modern world (South Asian or not) to understand and learn more about. The hope is that consumer would seek to understand the meaning and appreciate, rather than appropriate.”
Snobette: What is your vision for Ru By Rupal for the remainder of 2022?
Rupal Banerjee: “There’s a lot in the works. This current collection will be available for purchase at my website rupalbrand.com. Honestly, so much I can’t announce at the moment, but it’ll be amazing.