Rupal Banerjee is staking her claim in the fashion world as a proud, Indian woman

This episode of Changemakers is brought to you by Toyota Crown.

Rupal Banerjee is a fashion designer who is seamlessly blending Indian culture with Gen Z streetwear style through her brand, Ru by Rupal (@rupaul.official). Proudly inspired by her heritage, Rupal is creating a strong brand identity rooted in both tradition and innovation. As the founder and designer of her brand, Rupal is always evolving and creating, while ensuring that her past remains part of the brand’s future.

“There aren’t very many women, especially Indian women, that are doing what I’m doing in this space,” says the designer. “I really hope to inspire other women by letting them know that they can really do it. It’s very possible.”

Rupal’s love for design began at just seven years old, when she made a garment for one of her Barbie dolls. “I used to use tissue paper and all these things and hand sew it together,” she says. Rupal learned to sew from her father, who the designer says is where she gets her artistic side from. “He’s a really amazing artist,” says Rupal.

While her artistic side comes from her dad, Rupal’s mother, who is also a business owner, served as a powerful example of perseverance and resilience. “My mom is a woman of color and she’s faced large amounts of adversity in her space,” says Rupal. “She is just the most strong, resilient person, and she created me to be like her in that way.”

Rupal has carried her mom’s lessons throughout her career, which has included no shortage of obstacles. But Rupal has pulled valuable lessons from every road bump, allowing her to create a brand that’s uniquely hers.

“What separates my designs from other people’s designs is definitely my cultural background. I definitely connect current trends with my Indian culture,” says Rupal. “At times I do it subtly [and] at times I do it in a loud way. I try to incorporate that in a lot of cool ways.”

Rupal’s designs are deeply personal, but she wants her clothes to inspire everyone who puts them on, regardless of their background. “When people wear my clothes, I really want them to feel as confident as possible,” she says. “I want them to feel like they are leaders themselves. Someone who can just go out there and get it.”

For Rupal, each Ru by Rupal piece is a statement designed to expand the perception of what women, especially Indian women, are capable of. “I want to impact the world by showing people that Indian women can also be in the fashion space—[and the] streetwear space—and create something beautiful,” she says. “You can express your art and still be you.”

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