‘I wanted streetwear with an Indian essence’: Vijay Deverakonda on re-launching 'RWDY'

Telugu superstar Vijay Deverakonda on why he is re-launching RWDY with a streetwear apparel line.
Vijay Deverakonda (centre)
Vijay Deverakonda (centre)

Actor Vijay Deverakonda is returning to the fashion business with streetwear apparel after a sixmonth hiatus. Giving a fresh and revamped appearance to his clothing brand RWDY – earlier called ‘Rowdy’, the Telugu superstar aims to offer trendy silhouettes rooted in the rich history and culture of the country. The collection goes live on December 8. Excerpts from a conversation with the actor:

How is Hyderabad streetwear different from streetwear in other parts of India?
Streetwear across the urban landscape of India is common and mostly apes the West, their silhouettes and prints. We usually wear international brands or Indian brands that imitate them. After all, streetwear is American culture that came into being after athleisure met hip-hop met skater met streets. In India, we have workwear that is formal or uniformed, homewear that is a colourful mixture of some cultural clothing like lungis down south and loose kurtas up north and our grand ethnic wear that we reserve for our festivities. However, lately, I have observed a strong trend of original voices and original designs, which have an Indian essence, rising to the occasion. Our story is also on the same lines.

Your earlier fashion brand was about casual wear for the middle class. Why did you pick streetwear to make a comeback in the fashion business?
In 2018, I started my first fashion brand, Rowdy. I was in my late 20s, I had just found success and wanted to do everything under the sun. I was young and was imitating the West in fashion. I decided to bring Western fashion to the Indian audience at an affordable price. Over the years, my tastes and preferences changed. My knowledge and pride in India’s rich textile and cultural history made me want to celebrate and contributetoit . So, I wanted to pick a global fashion trend, and make it as Indian as possible, and streetwear is currently extremely popular among the youth.

What or who is the inspiration behind the all-new avatar of RWDY?
India in the 1700s was one of the biggest textile manufacturers. When I travelled the world and observed the fashion trends, it was dominated by the West. So I thought, when India is making a mark on the global platform in various respects, why should we be behind in fashion? With our history and culture, there is an unlimited supply of stories and resources that can be used to build an authentic face of Indian fashion. That’s where RWDY draws its inspiration from.

The Indian streetwear market is flooded with multinational brands and homegrown brands. Why will RWDY stand out?
Oh! The clothes are beautiful. When I wear them, I feel a sense of pride. A pride of wearing my artisans’ work, a pride of representing my culture. It’s top-quality clothes and extremely comfortable to wear anytime, anywhere.

‘Reclaiming Indian Supremacy’ is your brand’s tagline. Could you elaborate on it?
Earlier, India exported Kalamkari (a local term for hand-drawn textiles), also called Chintz, throughout the West. It became so popular that the mills across Europe and Britain were out of business because everyone wanted to wear Chintz. The Europeans and Britishers were impressed with the detailing and beauty of our textiles and fabrics. We are proud that with RWDY’s streetwear aesthetic, we are reviving Kalamkari or Chintz to resonate with the current trends and yet remain rooted in ours. We aim to be a brand made in India and for the world.

Why did you pick lotus as your brand logo?
Is it a lotus? Is it a crown? I would call it a lotus-crown. This design represents the fusion of royalty and purity in our streetwear brand.

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