Rhea Gupte is an extraordinary creative director of the online website FUSS. Based in Goa, India, she is growing her practise in the field of mixed media art, combining photography with digital manipulation and collage creation. Rhea Gupte also works as a creative consultant and content creator in the fashion and lifestyle segment with selected brands on a long term basis. The aim of such projects is either to create a usable and unique aesthetic for the brand in order to portray their story in the best way. But the best story is her own!
Rhea Gupte, start by tagging yourself with three words.
Optimist, Dreamer, Meticulous
We believe that “hands tell stories“. What do your hands tell about you?
I feel my hands tell the history of everything I have been doing physically since I was a child, from little cut marks of rock climbing expeditions to slightly discoloured skin from my days of swimming competitively. They are story-tellers. In my family, they say that people with long fingers are artistic by nature. I inherited my hands from my mother, who got them from my grandmother. They make me feel connected to them: apart from the varying degrees of wrinkles, I feel the three of us have the same hands.
What is the last thing you created with your hands? If you could choose, what would you like to be able to do with your hands?
The last thing I created with my hands was a Christmas tree created out of over 150 paper tetrahedrons. I made it with three of my closest friends and experienced the joy of cutting and pasting after many years. It would be incredible to be able to sculpt one day.
Looking back on everything you’ve done in your life – What is the one thing you are proudest of?
I feel I am proud of the hard work I have done and the improvements I have made within my work as a creative. There is always more to learn and more practise to put in, but seeing that growth curve makes it all worth it.
“One of a Mind” underlines our strong belief in equality and the value of sharing. How does intercultural exchange benefit our global society in your eyes?
I feel it brings about empathy and today, it is one the most important qualities to have. The more you know about other lives, cultures and short-comings, the more your mind cares and finds ways to reach out.
As a native Indian, what would you say differentiates India from other countries? What does it have that no other culture has?
There may be similarities with other cultures, but India, to me, is the most diverse nation. The sheer variety of languages, traditions, types of costumes and food is overwhelming and so inspiring.
Talking about other senses – how would you describe the “Tastes of India” and what is your favourite?
I think the taste of India in terms of aesthetics is all embracing. People aren’t scared of bold colours, prints, mixing and matching. In fact they have the ability to carry it with an unparalleled confidence.
You are the face behind the blog FUSS. You recently started a new series called “ethical threads” – could you describe what it is and what inspired you to start this?
The idea behind Ethical Threads is to start conversations about sustainable and ethical fashion. I interview designers who have been working in this area and have them talk about their experiences, their inspirations and the difficulties they face. For a long time, I had no idea that the fashion industry was the second most polluting industry in the world. Similarly, these are topics which a lot of people aren’t aware about and probably, if they come across these interviews on FUSS, they will know more. This might help them to start somewhere and make a change, no matter how big or small.
Talking about a women’s wardrobe – How would you describe your style and how do you combine local and global aspects in your wardrobe?
My style is a bit grungy and very comfortable. I like to layer, so I always have thin shirts and jackets which I can easily throw on. Sometimes, I buy handcrafted pieces from the parts of India I travel to. I usually combine them with my casual jeans and shirts. I like to have that bit, both as a memory of a fond trip and a memento to the art of the place I visited.
Are “ethical threads” represented in your personal wardrobe, too?
For a long time I wasn’t aware of these issues, due to which, like most people, I have a bunch of clothing from high street shops and other random outlets. However, ever since I educated myself about these problems, I am very careful of what I buy and as much as possible don’t buy anything at all, but re-use and recycle the clothing which I already possess. Whenever I make a new purchase it’s either from second-hand vintage shops or from brands which produce ethically. This year it’s one of my new year resolutions to not buy a single piece of clothing and in general, to buy less and buy mindfully no matter if it’s groceries or shoes.
© All photos via Rhea Gupte