Deepika Rao is an Indian-American fashion designer whose collections have been largely inspired by South Asian elements. Her effervescence is unpalpable. She dabbles with designs, colors and fabrics, and enjoys drawing elements from her rich culture to intersperse them into her work.
In an interview with us, Deepika tells us how the business major jostled her way into designing and found a space that merged the cultural duality she was brought up in.
“Designing came quite naturally to me,” she says, laughing.
“I knew I had always wanted to do something creative,” she tells us. “Growing up in America, I wanted to create something that represented my culture. When I created my first collection, Diya, my goal was to take one element of the Indian culture and work that into the design,” she says.
The Diya collection was drawn from the traditional oil lamp and wick candle that adorns the Indian celebration of lights. “The collection follows the journey of darkness being overcome by light as a diya is lit. The colors, cuts, and silhouettes of the collection are drawn from the diya and its significance in the Indian culture,” she says.
With the collection, she looks to fuse the Indian culture with the modern elegance of Western designs.
“My process is to first identify the concept and the colors. With the colors in place, I scout for the right fabric to fit the design. I work with a team in India that helps tailor the outfits, while I personally travel to the country to pick the materials and create the silhouettes,” she tells us, describing the design process before the final product is up. Most collections are completely customizable and take about 6-8 weeks.
Deepika Rao has also been working on photo shoots to help build her brand and gain sales traffic for her work.
“I’m aiming to get the brand’s name out across social media. I’ve been looking to step it up through Instagram and other outlets, and recently launched a blog post around my collection,” she tells us.
She has been engaged in fine-tuning her art. “I’m working on new sketches to post online, and I’m hoping to start launching pop-up shops to help customers try the collections offline,” she tells us of her plans for the brand.
With a highly competitive market in the design space, Deepika is upbeat about the unique offerings each designer brings to a client. The positive churn in the market has driven much of her goals – one of which is to launch her clothing line across stores. Her family has been her biggest support through the journey. “My parents have been very supportive and they’ve been a part of pretty much everything – all except designing!” she laughs.
The going has been great for the designer ever since the launch last year and after a quick rebranding, Deepika’s aiming to create a label that caters to people across the globe and not solely to South Asians.
“Don’t take what people question to heart. Don’t be afraid of skeptics and always keep your focus in line,” she says, to the many cynics out there.
Deepika wishes to create a cultural duality between the traditional elements of Indian fashion and the modern, elegant silhouettes seen in American fashion. Her mission, through Deepika Rao Label, is to blend both cultures in a way that makes them look even better put together than apart, yet allows it to easily be able to transition between the two cultures.
Deepika wants to show the world that when a woman puts on an ensemble by Deepika Rao Label, she chooses to follow her heart, regardless of what the latest trends are. She becomes fearless in her style and makes a statement with her unique edge. She keeps her eyes and mind open to new ideas and is always seeking to learn more about the world and share her experiences.
The Deepika Rao Label woman, she says, will always be a trendsetter in her own way, serving as an inspiration for others to follow.
Check out her collection at www.deepikaraolabel.com