photography, rhea gupte, floating dress, ethical threads, shift by nimish, surreal, surrealism, landscape, melancholic, minimalism
photography, rhea gupte, floating dress, ethical threads, shift by nimish, surreal, surrealism, landscape, melancholic, minimalism
photography, rhea gupte, floating dress, ethical threads, shift by nimish, surreal, surrealism, landscape, melancholic, minimalism

Project Brief

Conversations and visual narratives about ethical clothing


Ongoing personal project to encourage conversation and education about ethical and sustainable fashion, and what we can do to improve our thinking and actions in this direction.


Using a surreal visualisation of floating clothing to assert the beauty and superiority of the sustainable and ethical approach in fashion.


Photography, Digital Art, Creative Direction by Rhea Gupte

Styling Credits

Shift Dress

It has been almost four months since I made the resolution to not shop at all for the duration of this year. No clothing, no shoes, no accessories. Hell, no new underwear even. Being a frugal shopper to begin with, this resolution has been easy for me to partake. Although the dying soles of my remaining four pairs of shoes may vehemently beg to differ. The thing that is more valuable to me about this resolution, is the time I am taking to research about brands and labels which I may start investing in from the following year. I want to know and make an effort to know everything about every single item I consume, right from the eyeliner I use to the socks I put on; their manufacturing processes, the labour laws they enforce, the raw materials they use… There is information out there if one only takes the time to know more and thus spends their money on the right products. For a large part of my life I have been more or less mindful about the purchases I make. In the beginning, a modest pocket money allowed me to buy only the most useful pieces purchased on birthdays and special occasions, while later on, consciousness about the fashion industry made me want to consume lesser and lesser. Although I still regret not being informed about the gruesome truth about how the fashion industry affects lives and the environment, save for the last few years. Since then, I made it a point to only shop from vintage/second hand stores in my neighbourhood which carry age old dresses and denims. I feel recycling and finding a home for these already existing plastic pieces is just as important as banning their production going forward, should they end up as another one of the thousands piled up in landfills. This sentiment may change with further research and conversation about what can be done of garments produced in excess or rejects which end up being in these shops. The coming year I also want to support brands doing their part and doing the right thing irrespective of the hardships they face. The conversations I have been having with designers in our country is one way I plan to nurture my thoughts about this subject. It will always be a work in progress as there is always scope to do better and more.


Your label was one of the finalists of the Vogue Fashion Fund a few years ago. That was when I came across your work and instantly fell in love. I have since then followed the journey of the brand and you, as a designer, through interviews you have been a part of. Many a times they have inspired me to think further about what it means to have a sustainable approach. How did you reach here?
I think I was fascinated by fashion imagery, cultural costume and the beauty of clothes. I got lucky to have pursued something I could make a career out of, I was quite uncertain for the longest time – but always wanted to be associated in the creative industry.

Every collection from the label has been unique and I see it as a journey of your sensibilities, which remain grounded to certain roots. At the core, how do you see your brand?
I compare it with living life beautifully, it’s a sensibility with common sense. In a narrower picture and in specific context to clothes – something very basic and simple that you absolutely love and cherish. Its about those khakhi pants, that silk blouse, the dress that fits every time, irrespective of your fluctuating body. I also like to have that one number for times when the old soul wants to party.

Let’s go back to the beginning.
It was in London when I was doing my undergrad – There was this massive movement going on in the food industry at the time where there was a lot of talk about organic and vegan and conscious food. It inspired me to look at fashion in a very political sense, and it was all at infancy. I decided to do my thesis on the future of sustainable fashion. I did extensive research and conducted interviews with government bureaucrats, it was all eye opening, the scale of consumption and waste. I saw both sides, the power of fashion and large conglomerates as well as the negligence and lack of vision.

How did this knowledge translate into your brand?
At the time, it was setting a good boundary – almost insuring my idea of wanting to do basic clothes with novelty.

Since you started out, what are some of the problems you have faced along the way or still have to deal with?
Irregularities in the supply chain, lack of innovation and the fact that designers have to undertake innovation at the fabric construction stage. (It is not my specialty.)

I would love for you to share one pearl of wisdom with the readers here.
Rethink & use common sense. Contrary to popular assumption – cotton is the most notorious crop and far more unsustainable than many other fibres. So break through the connotation of ethical fashion.

What have been some of your early inspirations?
Stella McCartney, Howies, Patagonia… so many! I love glossy well-done fashion one can look forward to. For me to be inspired, it has to excite and not be passive.

Our previously featured designer, Karishma from Ka-Sha would like to ask you, “Does the cause that you have taken on with your work also affect and shape decisions in your daily life? If yes, would love to hear about it.”
Yes – it almost dictates everything I do, including the food I eat, the holidays I want – it has even tweaked my bucket list. I think it has got to do with growing old with a certain belief. Almost like practicing a religion.

I would like to ask you to contribute a question I can ask the next designer I interview for Ethical Threads.
In what areas would you like a strong government intervention?

Join the conversation

  1. Beautiful images, I wasn’t conscious of fashion consumption when I was younger, though never felt the need to buy all the clothes, but now I have learned more about the fashion industry I charity shop and am learning more about ethical brands. It’s a great journey