Rhea Gupte is a creative professional based in Goa. She grew up in Mumbai as an outdoorsy kid who would run, swim, dance, draw, wing, write poetry and sometimes climb rocks. Rhea spent her academic years studying Arts but went on to study Fashion Communication from NIFT. Her interest in fashion was gradual and perhaps her love for writing drew her toward fashion journalism. ‘I was in my third year when I started a blog to document my college projects and other personal projects that I was part of. It was just a place for me to put my work. To this day, I think of it as just that.’ Her hugely popular and powerful fashion blog is called FUSS.
With FUSS, she explores her interest in photography, art, travel, writing and mixed media. Rhea enjoys both freestyle street photography as well as carefully orchestrated shoots. As a photographer, she takes up commissioned projects where- in she also works as the creative director. She is growing her practice in the field of mixed media art by combining photography with digital manipulation and collage creation. Some of her lesser known interests are photographing animals, ink and still life. As a creative director, this young gun creates usable and unique aesthetic for different brands in order to portray their stories in the most innovative ways. She strongly thinks that fashion blogging in India needs to be more consistent and in-depth as opposed to the boom and bust phenomenon it could seem to be. ‘Today is has morphed into this massive business opportunity which takes the beauty away. The idea behind blogs today is not to satisfy a need within an individual to fulfill something for them, but instead to make the most amount of money. Very few think differently. My focus is always on creating brand value beyond the purpose of sales, and to convince brands to be better storytellers and having them speak up to their audience through their own channels.’
As a chronicler, commentator and critic of the fashion industry, Rhea observes how the focus has changed to more. More clothes per season, more runway collection per year, more consuming, more posting. ‘I think that’s the biggest misconception about the industry that I am in that attention spans are narrowing and they need to be grabbed back with more. What is a good life if not a summation of each and every day mindfully spent?’ With an army of photographers/ artists inspiring her constantly, her focus this year is on build- ing a more artistic and conceptual portfolio with a series of work mixing photography and digital art. A completely new direction she is excited to take. She is also working as a creative consultant with two e-commerce websites on aesthetic building and creating unique visuals for their websites, look- books and social media on a long term basis. There is another possibility of working on a commissioned coffee table book deal and exhibition where we will see Rhea conceptualising, directing and photographing. ‘I am eagerly looking forward to starting work on it,’ she sums up.
Text Hansika Lohani