We’ll explore his unique sense of style and what inspires Rikesh, whose work spans across various creative fields. It offers a glimpse into his background, his approach to clothing, and his interests outside of the style world.
Whether he’s discussing his love for British brands or his journey into music, Rikesh’s story is a testament to the power of individuality in the fashion industry. Read on to learn more about his personal style, favorite brands, and how his heritage and upbringing have influenced his singular approach to fashion.
Could you share a little about your background?
I was born and raised in Luton. My parents moved to the UK in the early 1970s from India and Tanzania. Luton (about a 45-minute drive north of London) was quite a rough neighborhood to grow up in — there was a lot of racial tension which I won’t get into, but a quick Google search will tell you everything you need to know.
Attending a Pakistani-majority all boys’ school as an Indian kid came with its difficulties, too, but it was here that I first started to really enjoy literature and the creative arts. While I’ve lived in London for over ten years, you can’t take Luton out of the boy. It’s a place I dreamed about leaving for so long, but home will always be home.
What’s your earliest memory of being into menswear?
My interest in menswear came fairly later than you’d probably expect. I was working as a full-time creative at a social media agency in East London in my early twenties, specializing in photography and copy. I ended up being assigned to a couple fashion brands and found that I really enjoyed what we were working on together.
At the time, London Collections: Men (the menswear-focused equivalent of London Fashion Week) was in full swing and, coupled with the client work, I ended up shooting street style because When In Rome… It really kick-started my interest not only in fashion, in general, but personally: I wanted to make sure I looked as good as the people I was documenting.
Dressing well does wonders for your mental health, and it extends a level of respect and kindness to those around you.Rikesh Chauhan
How would you describe your style?
I really find this question hard to answer, and prefer leaving it to knowledgeable folks like yourselves to decide! In terms of my approach to dressing, I love wearing clothes that tell a story, that represent me well, and make me feel good about myself. Some days that could mean a full on suit, shirt, tie and shoes, and the next I’m in workwear or casualwear.
Dressing well does wonders for your mental health, and it extends a level of respect and kindness to those around you – that is, you respect their presence by dressing well. It’s a beautiful notion and sort of overrides what you wear, and instead focuses on how you wear it.
Tell us about what you’re wearing here.
This outfit was a bit of a happy accident. I had the intention of wearing all of these pieces at Pitti Uomo — just not together. The coat is by Private White V.C., and was a necessary garment to take to Florence, especially when the temperature drops in the evening. The brushed cotton shirt and silk tie are by Budd, as well as the peccary leather gloves. The jacket is from an old collaboration between The Rake and Fox Brothers, which was part of The Rake Tailored Garments’ debut collection — a 6×1 DB. Super cool. The wide leg trousers are by Abbie Leach Atelier, and the shoes are by Crockett & Jones. The leather tote is by Bennett Winch and you’ll see me carrying it around 99 times out of 100.
When I laid out all my clothes for the trip, I noticed how these particular garments all had a cool monochromality. It allowed the tie — the only piece which had a modicum of colour — to be championed. The other thing I never realised until after I got back from Florence was that all of the brands featured in this look are British, so I was unintentionally representing my home. Well, bar the glasses which are by Saint Laurent, but we’ll let that slide.
What are some of your favorite brands?
I’m very grateful you haven’t limited me to select two or three. At the moment I’d have to say Acre & Row for their tailoring, Anderson & Sheppard for knitwear and accessories, Budd Shirtmakers for – you guessed it – shirts, Private White V.C. for outerwear, Drake’s for basically everything. But honestly a different day will get a different answer, there are so many incredible brands around the world doing incredible things.
Most recent menswear (or accessory) purchase?
The fun answer: 1970s vintage-styled Saint Laurent glasses. The boring answer: Uniqlo Heattech underlayers.
Favorite piece in your closet?
Currently I’d have to say my pair of bespoke Abbie Leach trousers. They’re obscenely high-waisted, wide-legged. The slickness of the 1920s meets the bounce and flair (and flare) of the late ’60s.
Most-worn item in your closet?
Ironically, the one piece of tailoring I own that isn’t bespoke. It’s a sports jacket I picked up from ARKET prior to my first trip to Pitti Uomo. It is, to date, the only RTW piece of tailoring that fits me perfectly without the need for alterations. It’s made from an English tweed, but, due to the softer structure, it’s incredibly versatile. I’ve worn it formally, as well as with sportswear and it looks just at home.
In addition to your work as a photographer and creative, you’re also a musician. When did your interest in that begin and where can people check out some of your music?
I grew up in a very musical household; everyone could sing and write. At school I gravitated towards more performance-based subjects — drama, expressive arts, music, and continued to pursue the latter throughout college and university. It was in college where I first started making music with a few friends. We used to rap, sing, perform, DJ, dance, all the above.
With unlimited access to recording studios at my university campus, I released a lot of music from 2010 onwards which was played on various local and national radio stations. It took a little bit of a back seat while I ventured into my menswear career, but the success of my single “Careful” (about to hit four million Spotify streams) sort of kick-started everything for me again. As of 2024, I’ve signed to Aviary Bridge Records and will be releasing my first EP with them in February. All of my music can be found on my website as well as on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube et cetera – just search for RKZ.
How has your style changed over time?
I’ve definitely learned to dress more for myself than my surroundings. When I started working on Jermyn Street, and eventually Savile Row, I would be in suits daily. While, of course it was fun, as I learned more about clothing (fit, cloths, shape, history, all that good stuff) I realized that I didn’t necessarily feel as if what I wore was truly representing who I am. It was very safe, for lack of a better term, and didn’t incorporate any other elements of my life, say for example heritage, interests, background and upbringing. It did, however, provide me with good foundations to experiment.
I now very rarely wear suits, and prefer separates as you can be a lot more playful. Shirts are regularly swapped out for knits, roll necks, neckerchiefs, layers. I love technical outerwear and well-made casual pieces. It means I get to mix-and-match a lot more and blend different styles and interests together. Most importantly, as I mentioned earlier, is just ensuring that whatever I wear makes me feel good, and says what I want it to say.
Do you have a “style icon”?
Everyone and no-one. I believe style is a very personal expression, but I can appreciate people that dress well: Cary Grant to Ian Wright, Gerardo Cavaliere to David Nolan, Anda Rowland to Shaista Deen.
“Rules of Civility” by Amor Towles. However, I am currently reading “The Limits of Genius” by Katie Spalding and I can’t remember the last time I’ve laughed out loud so much.
Tricky. I never turn off Goodfellas whenever it’s on TV, so let’s say that..?
After a long day, how do you unwind?
There’s nothing like coming home to spend time with my wife and daughter. They’re my favorite people in the world and the moment I step out of the house, I can’t wait to be back. I don’t know how I got so lucky to have them in my life, but I’m certainly grateful.