Meet VALLEY’s Spring 2022 Fashion Section Opener: Rithu GS

Photo by Annie Princivalle and Becca Baker
Fashion Through Rithu’s Eyes

On a college campus where sweats and sneakers are the normalized attire, it is rare to see any students that are making statements with their clothes. Rithu GS, however, has no problem turning heads with the bold colors and styles she wears.

The foundation of her sensational sense of style is rooted in more than just a love for fashion. Rithu shared with VALLEY exactly what fashion means to her and where she draws all of her inspiration.

It all starts with the place Rithu considers home — Mumbai, India.

“That’s where I started everything. It’s the reason I am the way I am today,” Rithu says.

A city teeming with various religions and cultures, Mumbai introduced Rithu to a world of color that inspires so much of her clothing choices.

“It’s just such a colorful country, especially Mumbai. It’s so diverse … so you’re always seeing and meeting different people,” she says.

From the show-stopping outfits featured in Bollywood movies to the casual attire of the people of India, Rithu finds inspiration in many different facets of Indian culture.

Surrounded by the festivals and music of India during her childhood, Rithu found a passion for the arts. She started singing Hindustani classical music at the age of four and soon dove into the realms of dance and theatre.

“That’s where all of my creative journeys kind of started,” Rithu says.

Not only does Rithu enjoy making music, but she is a able to form ideas for her outfits while listening to it.

“When I hear music, I can hear colors and things that clothing pieces symbolize to me,” she says.

This passion led Rithu to pursue music further in high school. Mentioning that she was sometimes the only female in the room, she felt like an outlier who was not appreciated.

“There were constantly people trying to push me out of the spotlight and off to the sidelines,” Rithu says.

Not only were her classmates denying her the credit she deserved, but her music teachers were taking her talent for granted. This is when Rithu knew she needed to stand out: and with her clothes, she would do just that.

“Slowly I started to get more creative with what I wore,” she says. “I wanted to feel really confident so I could establish my presence. That’s all I wanted to do.”

From then on, Rithu used fashion as a medium to tell her own story.

“I love to put a lot of personality into my outfits because I want them to represent who I am as a person,” she says.

As she honed her styling skills and uncovered her own personal style, Rithu realized the true meaning of fashion for herself.

“What you wear can be such a symbol. I don’t mean it has to be revolutionary, groundbreaking or designer. No. To me, fashion is none of that. It’s what makes you feel confident. It’s what message you want to tell everyone,” Rithu says.

This definition of fashion aligns perfectly with what Rithu says she loves to do most — tell stories. Just as she finds inspiration in music, she finds exceptional value in observing the people in your daily life.

“I think people in general are just so interesting. I love connecting with people,” Rithu says. “I love people watching and creating stories out of that.”

Rithu wants the stories that she translates into fashion to have meaning. She often looks back on the times in history people, especially women, have made statements with their clothes. The landscape of fashion and who can exist in it has shifted dramatically over the years, and Rithu thinks that we have all of the female fashion pioneers that redefined fashion and who it was meant for to thank for that.

“We as women have taken [fashion] and made it into this really powerful thing. Everyone, no matter their gender, can feel comfortable in what they want to say with their outfit,” Rithu says.

Rithu hopes that this modernized world of fashion allows for everyone to be able to express themselves freely and wholeheartedly with the clothing pieces they wear.

“I feel like in this world, we’ve been sheltered for so long, and now we’re in a time where slowly people are learning to except each other. Clothes is really a way to break stereotypes and break that cage that people put you in,” she says.

But what is it that makes Rithu’s style so extraordinary? For one, she refuses to accept the trends that revolve in and out of what we consider fashion.

“I feel like we’re in a culture where following trends is such a big thing and I absolutely hate that. I want to be very timeless with my style. If I wear something today, I should be able to wear that same outfit 10 years down the road,” Rithu says.

As much as her style is unique, the individual pieces that she incorporates into her outfits have sentimental value and stories behind them.

“Some of my favorite pieces are traditional Indian but you can’t tell with the way I style things.”

Rithu finds pride in wearing what others may not feel comfortable wearing themselves yet. She hopes she can inspire others to break out of their fashion shell.

“At the end of the day, if what I’m wearing can make someone else confident, then I’ve achieved something. I hope people think, ‘hey, if she can do it, so can I.”

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