Masaba Gupta: Traditional Made Modern

Jordana Weiss

Masaba Gupta has never been afraid of contrast. Since her first collection paraded down the runway, she’s relished using traditional fabrics in brand-new cuts, or pairing bold and outgoing contemporary prints with more traditional designs. Blending modern and traditional elements isn’t a new idea, but no one has been able to do it like Masaba Gupta. Every time she designs a new line, critics and customers alike praise her ingenuity and creativity. Then they buy up her entire stock.

Although Gupta made her professional debut at an extremely young age, she was no stranger to the spotlight. Born to famous cricketer Sir Viv Richards and actress Neena Gupta, Masaba grew up in Mumbai and was always extremely conscious of the ways in which she stood out. To her grandfather, her skin was too dark. To her friends, she was too wild, with curly hair that could never be contained. Most of those who feel out of place grow up longing to fit in. Fortunately, Gupta took that frustration and used it to fuel her creative work.

In 2008, at the age of 19, she debuted her first collection at Lakmé Fashion Week, where she was the youngest designer ever featured. After that, she had enough momentum to open up her own label, Masaba, which has been producing her clothes since 2010. She hasn’t been shy about spreading her talents around, though. She worked at Satya Paul between 2012 and 2014, where she dabbled in bridalwear and couture outfits, and after that, she moved back to the ready-to-wear category, where she’s been working and innovating ever since.

Since her own vision is so clear, Gupta is the ideal collaborator for brands like Puma, Maybelline, and Levi Strauss. Her recent collaboration with Puma featured 50 hand-painted pairs of sneakers, which were sold online and in the manufacturer's Mumbai flagship store.

In her most high-profile collaboration yet, in 2017 Gupta was selected as one of 50 designers tasked with redesigning Levi’s iconic denim jacket. Her version was displayed alongside the work of pop star Justin Timberlake and fashion designer Virgil Abloh, and was later auctioned off for charity.

Currently, Gupta’s website offers tons of unique saris, lehengas, kurtas, and hybrid clothing options based on unique modern themes. You can even find Game of Thrones–inspired outfits, alongside her own ingenious prints and patterns. Her exceptional vision, combined with her love of ready-to-wear garments, means that any aspiring fashionista can be runway-ready without breaking the bank.