Glittering attendees clamor around Brooklyn Studios in Downtown Brooklyn's City Point. Fur bucket hats, checkered coats, Loewe sunglasses and head-to-toe hot pink are staples in the boisterous audience. It's Valentine’s Day, the tail end of NYFW, Black History Month, the 50th anniversary of hip-hop and Ice Spice is currently blaring through the speakers. The front rows know every lyric.
Everyone is here for the Ru by Rupal runway show, in partnership with online magazine MEFeater, for a NYFW Galentine's event to showcase emerging fashion designers and infuse NYFW with some much-needed Brooklyn attitude.
Rupal Banerjee, a fast-ascending designer in the streetwear space, started her brand in 2019 in an effort to blend women's empowerment with her Indian heritage. Her designs often combine male silhouettes with the cinched waists of womenswear to expose the duality of gender expression.
Tonight, her grungy, dystopian collection explores the edgier side of Ru's Indian culture. The color palette is muted, all shades that could be found in nature, and each model has a windswept look. Wrapped in gauzy materials, a delicate contrast to the structured moto-inspired jackets and skirts, the models look like they've been dirt-biking in the desert and needed chic protection from sandstorms.
The night is topped off with performances from Brooklyn drill artist Lola Brooke, rapping her TikTok viral "Don't Play With It," and NYC influencer-turned-rapper Maiya the Don who sings the fashion apropos single "Telfy."
Below, check out Ru by Rupal's FW23 lookbook.
Photography by Sarah Shen