Meeting designers is a mixed bag, like a box of chocolates, it’s never clear what your going to get. Some are loud and gawdy, some have an eerie calm, others are manic and extra. The good news is, Runa Ray has a slightly quiet and unassuming nature about her that translates brilliantly into her clothing.
Even though she hasn’t been on the American fashion scene for long, she’s been hard at work in her
native India, showcasing at Singapore Fashion Week and building a line that is both eco-friendly and a
couture lover’s dream.
I sat with her fresh from a twenty-four hour flight, in the library/conference room of the Dream hotel in
downtown New York as day four of Fashion Week swirled around outside.
Raay, made the leap from medical student to fashion designer in 2000…“I choose art, because I love it, and fashion is wearable art”. After working for an Indian design company Raay took the opportunity to showcase her talents at a trade show, selling shirts she made by hand and using the proceeds from her sales to fund her first collection.
“My first collection was seven garments of women’s evening wear, inspired by the seven cycles of the
salmon fish” (Google it…) The collection was beautiful and made from silk, it was also what sparked the eco and philosophical side of her designs. “Imagination is the only weapon against reality, was the
inspiration for that collection, I want people to think about what they wear”, that philosophy led to her
debut at NYFW 2016.
This year, she came as an IMG invited presenter and brought with her a new collection based on the
philosophy of Once Upon A Time… “Every good story starts with Once Upon A Time”. This collection
was done the old fashion way, dresses were hand pressed with leaves “it will age over time and the
leaves will change colors, like the seasons” . There is also a hand beaded silk dress, organza robe, and full hoop skirt with the words Once Upon a Time written in black.
Like most designers, Raay is looking to create something unique and special, but for her this isn’t about “fast fashion”. “I don’t mass produce pieces for Runna Raay, buyers can request only a certain number of pieces, the idea is that you want to buy the whole collection and keep it for yourself”.
The truth is, you will want to keep all the pieces, not just because of the look, but because of the
thought, energy and handcrafted intelligence that you can watch age like a good painting. If your going to see a million designers present a million pieces over fashion week, you want to keep you eyes on the ones who will outlast the rest. I’m staring at Runna Raay.
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