Coming out of the closet is a more fashionable way, designer Rudraksh leads the way
With an aim to make fashion genderless and using the rainbow as his canvas, young gay designer Rudraksh is going all vivid and vocal with radically visible clothes for his label, Gagged
The fashion fraternity today would be nothing without the active involvement of the LGBTQ+ community. Creating revolutions and making bold statements, especially in the last two decades, they have used fashion as their main medium of expression.
As is the case with young Ghaziabad-based designer, Rudraksh, who launched his label, Gagged, earlier this year. As more and more individuals come out of the closet, choosing their right to live life on their own terms, fashion, too, is keeping pace, he says. “It has blurred the lines between men’s and women’s clothing—almost everything is pan-gender now,” he explains. This is why, he says, Gagged is a label that believes in making fashion a free art.
Its design language? Rainbow colours. The label takes an “inclusive slow fashion” approach to clothe, crafting unique shirts and totes. “We wanted to promote flamboyance via our designs by playing with colours and art,” Rudraksh says.
Indeed, the patterns are a beautiful amalgamation of maximalism and minimalism, mostly in hand-painted, one-of-a-kind pieces, all at affordable price points. The brand aims to create a label and space where no individual has to refrain from expressing themselves through fashion due to the lack of being able to afford it.
Being gay has never been easy, Rudraksh recalls. “When I was in high school, I was bullied heavily for being feminine and having an ‘atrocious’ sense of style. Prints, patterns and colours always excited me... it was my aesthetic. I identify as gay and for me having my niche style was my only escape. It gave me the expression I needed to showcase myself,” he says, adding, “After entering college, my clothes became my identity. People often used to borrow my shirts and always had a compliment for my fits. This gave me the chance to accept myself and turned my escape into my identity.”
Despite having a degree in communications, the young designer couldn’t find a job. It was then that he decided to open a consignment digital store. He interned at a few designer studios and fashion magazines to look at their functioning more closely. And what started as a slow fashion thrift store, slowly transformed into a homegrown label in 2022.
“We aim at being a first queer-owned and gender- free brand and wish to succeed in representation of our community via our fashion and style internationally.” As of now, Rudraksh’s home doubles up as his office space, but there’s to be a physical store pretty soon.
On the challenges, he says, “From marketing, production check, sourcing raw material, creatively directing shoots to even shipping, it takes a lot of effort but our aim is very clear, to make fashion ‘genderless’.”
A huge part is played by his supportive family. “My parents, sister and friends are my biggest cheerleaders. My sister has styled my shoots, modelled for me and helped me at every step. I am indeed very privileged to have received this acceptance,” he says. Find them on Instagram @_.gagged._