Profile: Roopa Pemmaraju

Roopa Pemmaraju is an Indian designer based in Melbourne who debuted at RAFW with her stunning resortwear collection. We spoke to Roopa in this recent interview:

Tell us a bit about your designs..

I create all my own prints and my intention is to successfully fuse western and eastern influences to create modern, wearable silhouettes. I am besotted with beautiful fabrics: soft cottons, textured crepe, flowing chiffon and luxuriant silk.

I procure all of these from my native India, a country known for its rich textile heritage. Onto these materials, I emboss my prints. My designs feature ornate patterns, elaborate beading and jewellery embellishment, teamed with clean, simple lines on fluid fabrics.

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What will we see in your new Beach Goddess collection?

You will see brights mixed back with muted greys and whites, bold prints, maxi hemlines, beading and embellishment. 100% silk kaftans, floaty dresses, harem pants and glamorous swimming costumes make up the collection.

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(Image: Summer collection courtesy of RAFW)

What is ethical fashion?

Ethical fashion involves supporting local artisans, providing clean and comfortable work conditions, using organic materials where possible and supporting fair trade. Being ethical is extremely important to me in my business and I was delighted to be invited to showcase my ethical range at this year’s Ethical Fashion Show in Paris.

Your brand is successful in India, was it difficult bringing it to an Australian market?

It is a very different market so it’s been quite the learning curve!

What was it like showcasing your clothing at RAFW?

A complete and utter thrill. I was overwhelmed by the positive reaction.

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(Image: Summer collection courtesy of RAFW)

Where do you get your inspiration?

From nature, art, film, glamourous women I have had the privilege to meet… Inspiration comes from everywhere and everything and I am lucky to have a rich cultural heritage to draw upon.

For my summer 2010 resortwear collection, ‘Beach Goddesses’, I drew inspiration from the divine beings of Asian mythology. Using various goddesses as my muse, I created prints in hues of sea green, sky blue, sunny yellow and fiery red, worked back with holy white and stormy grey.

Ganga, the Hindu Goddess of the Ganges river, lends her name to a floor-sweeping red halterneck dress, embellished with gold beading, while Ratu Kidul, Queen of the South Sea, inspired a diaphanous floor length kaftan in a frothy azure print, reminiscent of sea foam.

What kind of woman would wear your designs?

She is well travelled, educated and slightly nomadic by nature. She is a free spirit, and very confident in her own skin. She is interested in fashion, but does not slavishly follow trends. She knows what suits her and works her unique features to her advantage.

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(Image: Summer collection courtesy of RAFW)

What has been the most challenging part of getting your name out there?

It has been difficult to bring everything together at once. I have now sourced a great support network and I will leave the business and marketing side of things to them, the experts, so I can concentrate on my real love – designing!

What’s next for Roopa Pemmaraju?

You’ll have to wait and see!

What does being a woman mean to you?

Being confident, kind, nurturing and true to yourself.

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