South Asian Fashion as You've Never Seen it Before

Design by Bhumika Sharma

Design by Bhumika Sharma

South Asian weddings are the ultimate meeting place for breathtaking colors, materials, and movement. From scallop hemmed sarees to embroidered lehengas that soar on the dance floor, the beauty of culture is undeniable at wedding celebrations. Riya Collective was created in an effort to bring this essence to the festivities and everyday lives of South Asian American communities.

Founded by Arian Agrawal and Sarina Siddhanti, Riya Collective began as a high-end fashion platform that rents South Asian formalwear for Desi American weddings and events. The collective was inspired by Siddhanti’s struggle to find outfits for her own wedding. As Agrawal describes it, “We needed nice outfits and none of us had anything in our closets. Finding wedding clothes was so expensive and, at the end of the day, we were left with all these outfits, thinking: ‘Well, we can’t wear these again.’”

Sarina Siddhanti (left) and Arian Agrawal (right) co-founded Riya Collective in 2019.
Photo by Emily Trinh for Vogue Business.

Tired of the garments consuming closet space, Siddhanti and Agrawal created a website to rent clothing out to people in need of show stopping outfits. Almost instantly, orders began to land and Riya Collective took off.  

Design by Shloka Khialani

“Agrawal and Siddhanti realized they had stumbled into a collective need: Both Desi Americans and their friends needed to be outfitted for weddings.”

San Francisco Chronicle

Design by Shloka Khialani

“Agrawal and Siddhanti realized they had stumbled into a collective need: Both Desi Americans and their friends needed to be outfitted for weddings.”

San Francisco Chronicle

Design by Shloka Khialani

“Agrawal and Siddhanti realized they had stumbled into a collective need: Both Desi Americans and their friends needed to be outfitted for weddings.”

San Francisco Chronicle

A home away from home

Riya Collective now hosts a variety of garments, all fluid and authentic. By collaborating with artists whose work is true to their own identities, Riya Collective aspires to make their customers feel the same way in each outfit that is purchased.

Agrawal and Siddhanti are deeply proud of South Asian designers, and are committed to showcasing their pieces in Riya’s clothing rotation. The rotation includes the incredible work of Mahima Mahajan, Bhumika Sharma and others. Through these collaborations, Riya Collective functions as a platform to showcase art that breathes life into South Asian culture in the Western world. And so, individuals across the diaspora are able to access a piece of home with the click of a button.

“They saw a need for a solution where women could get trendy, Indian designer clothing...with shorter lead times and without spending the money to buy new."

Vogue Business

Design by Sonam & Paras Modi

“They saw a need for a solution where women could get trendy, Indian designer clothing...with shorter lead times and without spending the money to buy new."

Vogue Business

Design by Sonam & Paras Modi

“They saw a need for a solution where women could get trendy, Indian designer clothing...with shorter lead times and without spending the money to buy new."

Vogue Business

Design by Sonam & Paras Modi

South Asian style meets sustainability

Purchasing a Riya outfit is not your average online shopping experience. At Riya Collective, access comes with accountability. Both designers and customers contribute to the mission of improving circular fashion by making the industry more sustainable.

Here’s how: after a buyer orders an outfit from the store, Riya Collective creates a customized outfit to their size and preference. By making the garment only after it is ordered, Riya avoids overproduction and drastically reduces waste levels as a result. Buyers are then free to wear their personalized item as many times as they would like. Once they grow tired of it and begin the scout for the next fresh look, they can sell the outfit back to the shop for 50% of the purchase price. Assuming the item is in good condition, Riya takes it back, and customers are then welcome to buy another clothing item that is already in rotation. Through this model, Riya Collective has elevated important conversations around South Asian fashion and sustainability. This initiative is rooted in the staunch values of its founders.

        Design by Mahima Mahajan            

Design by Prathyusha Garimella

Recognizing Riya

Riya Collective began as a reflection of Agrawal and Siddhanti’s life experiences, and this continues to hold true. By the time Agrawal’s wedding came around in early 2020, the collective was functioning in full force and the burden of searching for wedding outfits was alleviated. This is only one of many wedding days that Riya has enhanced through its services.

“Many of the women who attended the wedding and the sangeet wore dresses from Riya Collective, the bride’s clothing company.”

The New York Times

Arian Agrawal and her husband, Arjun Naskar, on their wedding day.
Photo by Alfonso Duran for The New York Times

Since then, Riya Collective has been highlighted by numerous publications including but not limited to The New York Times, Vogue Business, and the San Francisco Chronicle. The store will also be hosting an event during NYC Fashion Week this September, with their designer styles hitting the Riya runway for the first time in the U.S!

Agrawal and Siddhanti are excited to make their culture accessible to more people through rising recognition of their work. As the platform continues to grow, the goal of Riya Collective remains the same: to make the world more beautiful, one article of clothing at a time.

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