Emerging Designer Brings an Indian Flavour to MSFW

Designer Divya Rao
Designer Divya Rao

The flavours of India are hitting Melbourne streets this summer with an emerging fashion label set to revamp Indian fashion. Indian born designer Divya Rao has combined her cultural roots with western fashion to create her namesake label Divya R.

The Melbourne designer showcased her latest collection in the Melbourne Spring Fashion Week Emerging Designer Market last weekend, making her appearance for the second year in a row.

Beginning her studies at India’s National Institute of Fashion Design, Rao decided to take her dressmaking experience to Melbourne by furthering her studies at RMIT University.

“Fashion wasn’t a big thing in India a few years ago and I needed to get out to study and experience a different side of fashion,” she said.

Divya Rao at MSFW Emerging Designers market. Photo - Danni Roberts
Divya Rao at MSFW Emerging Designers Market. Photo – Danni Roberts

Her label Divya R was first launched in 2012 as a Debut Finalist at iconic Melbourne fashion exhibition Fashion Exposed.

Rao has anything but strayed from her roots with each design taking inspiration from India combined with a modern-Western style.

She said that she draws heavily on where she came from, with inspiration coming from “the background, the colours, the embroidery and the beading” of Indian culture and fashion.

When asked about her experiences of fashion design in India and Australia, Rao said it was like “two different worlds”.

“Now every thing is quite global so people are being influenced by western designers. Now it’s okay but when I was there it was completely different.”

Rao believes the Australian fashion industry has embraced ethnic inspired designers and said ethnic fashion such as her label is becoming more prominent in the western world.

Divya Rao's collection showcases the bold royal colours of India. Photo - Danni Roberts
Divya Rao’s collection showcases the bold royal colours of India. Photo – Danni Roberts

“You see a lot of beading and embroidery in everyday wear nowadays, its all prints, you definitely see them more often now.”

Her latest collection was inspired by her travels back to her home country late last year. The designs feature bold royal purples and greens taken from the vibrant atmosphere of India.

All garments are made from silk and have a lightweight, beachy look ready for spring and summer wear and the label also included Indian inspired leather bags and crystal jewellery.

Rao’s designs are currently sold in Singapore and her online boutique. Her next goal is to establish a physical store in Melbourne.


For more information and to view the Divya R collection visit http://divyarthelabel.com/

Danni Roberts

Author: Danni Roberts

Danni Roberts is an RMIT journalism student who was born and raised in Melbourne. Her parents are immigrants from Burma and India. She is currently a fashion contributor for online publication the Toorak Times. You can follow Danni on Twitter @dannirobertss