New fashion label to love: Rujuta Sheth
The New York-based Indian designer finds inspiration for her artisanal label in Gujarat
ELLE: Tell us about the inception of your label?
Rujuta Sheth: After studying at Fashion Institute Of Technology, New York, I worked there for a while with brands like Donna Karan and Pamella Roland. I was also freelancing with Saks Fifth Avenue. Then, I decided to go back to Ahmedabad. I was still unsure of what my calling was, and wanted to explore my roots. So, I travelled around Gujarat, and even visited a few villages in West Bengal, where I met many talented weavers. And I immediately knew I wanted to create something with them. By January 2015, I had launched my first capsule collection that included uneven hems, appliqué work and kantha embroidery in voluminous silhouettes. I returned to New York and approached a few local boutiques like Alter Brooklyn and Haus Of Tova, and they fell in love! And that made me realise my work is unique. We also use AZO dyes (they don’t pollute the water), handloom fabrics and completely recyclable packaging.
ELLE: What is your process, from start to finish?
RS: I start by creating a colour story of tints and shades that work for the season. Then, I design the fabric and come up with innovative weaves that justify the colour story. Once that is in place, I create a comfortable silhouette. Then, I fly to India and work on the sampling and pattern-making. The entire process takes about two to three months. Originally, I started out as a one-man army, but over the past three years, I have met some wonderful people who are now part of my label. We’ve also teamed up with a fair-trade factory in Noida that produces all the garments for us.
ELLE: What do you think draws audiences to your label?
RS: Our shapes complement all body types and ages. I design silhouettes that are simple, functional and easy to wear, yet they feel luxurious. Also, I am very fond of adding pockets to my designs, which I know my customers love. Lastly, the natural textiles play a key role — they are soft, they feel good on the skin and are simple to maintain.
Style Tip: Team Sheth’s functional creations with a pair of mules and no jewellery.
ELLE: What makes you gravitate towards the wrapped silhouette in almost every collection?
RS: It’s inspired by the drape, grace and folds of the sari, an outfit I’ve always found unique. Wraps are also easy to wear. They extenuate the right curves, and conceal imperfections.