Inspiration driven amidst Covid led two fashion graduates to revive an
underrated fashion craze in India and earn cognition in Paris Fashion Week 2022.
When women come together, they create a space around them that comforts many. The fact screams truth and reveals the power of this particular kind which can ultimately break through any misfortune or obstruction thrown in their way. Two young women, in this story, found their inner vision whilst the world crisis and made their way subsequently to speak their hearts out in the world creatively via fashion! Riya Khanna and Amruta Behera, the founders of Rising Among, worked hard around their dreams that were put on hold due to the cause and established a brand representing the overlooked and underrated concept of reworked streetwear in India.
The former college roommates came in light to introduce a unique amalgamation of the authentic street styles of New York and Mumbai, a conception that they brainstormed and curated through their jet lags and quarantined time together.
The answer from both the founders made us discover that the heart and mind of a true hard-working Gen Z, are just like a tide in the ocean; when we asked about the aspiration behind the creation of the venture of a homegrown brand in the mainstream, and massive fashion industry. (The industry that is already widely tamed by more than half of the world.) One never knows when they will rise, outgrow and lift all the boats. A rising tide surely did raise all the crafts for both the founders of Rising Among in this scenario.
Riya exclaims, ‘Like every college student, we had a plan and a dream. We were all set to graduate in May 2020 and start jobs in the corporate fashion world in New York City. But overnight, the world went into a lockdown, and eventually, we decided that we would come back to India. We started ideating from our quarantine hotel room, where we spent our hours of jet lag talking about fashion style and a potential business we could run together. Before we knew it, Amruta bought a sewing machine, and I began discussing and sourcing fabrics to create reflective and customised masks.’
Among all the curiosity, we wanted to know the origin of the notion of bringing a fashion vogue of streetwear in India with the new and never-heard cultural spice mix of authentic Mumbai and abstract New York. Explaining the vision, the founders state, ‘As the masks evolved and sold out, our customer base grew. We rummaged through our closets, finding old pairs of denim. We created a sustainable, zero-waste design that turned a simple old pair of jeans into a denim tank top with a bag and belt attached. That was the start of our journey into apparel. We were two different people with different aesthetics and separate domains in Business and Design. Our working combination made sense as we thought like two different customers and foresight into possible issues that could occur.’
They further explain, ‘Coming back to India, we wanted to create a space for individuals where they would not be afraid to experiment, express themselves and feel free to speak and wear what they wanted to. Studying, observing and experimenting allowed us to create the perfect balance of streetwear in Mumbai inspired by New York and now the world.’
The curators of the Rising Among also shared how they elevated the brand to land an opportunity of participating in the Paris Fashion Week 2022 and represent many other aspects along with it. From that perspective, they impart, ‘Rising Among started as a conversation between two fresh graduates and became our creative canvas, a means to experiment and present our work to the world. We had to go through a lot of trial and error, back and forth, experimentation to finally create pieces and collections that focused on finishing, minute detailing, functional elements and impeccable focus on fittings. We paid attention to how our brand was perceived, keeping in mind social media content, collaborations and the creative direction.’
Any action taken to achieve any milestone is just as similar to the legend of Sisyphus pushing the rock uphill. The only difference here is that the act of handwork is not till eternity if the task is done with honesty and passion. But still, these two strong businesswomen did face their fair share of hurdles along their journey that got rewarded in the end.
They share, ‘Paris Fashion Week was a dream come true. But getting that collection ready with making sure the rest of the operations were running smoothly; was a task. But having such a great working relationship and friendship between us, the work was always divided so that one person would not feel the pressure. Being two people running the business has been a blessing since the beginning. Whatever hurdles came our way, we faced them together, knowing that the other person would pull us back up.’