The British Brand Bringing a Couture Mindset to Ready-to-Wear

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As RŪH debuts its A/W18 collection, founder Sonia Trehan tells AnOther why it is a name that we should know

  1. Who is it? RŪH is a British clothing brand doing things differently when it comes to e-commerce
  2. Why do I want it? Exquisitely crafted clothes made in the same factory as Dries Van Noten and Oscar de la Renta, at a mid-range price point
  3. Where can I find it? Online at Net-a-Porter and exclusively from September 7

Who is it? “The name means ‘soul’ in about fifteen languages,” explains Sonia Trehan, the founder of RŪH, of how her brand got its name. “In Arabic, in Hebrew... There are so many references to the word so it felt like something ancient and historic, but meant something that we stand for today; getting back to the heart of the person wearing our pieces and to individuality.” Indeed, the label focuses on eschewing flash in the pan trends, placing emphasis on craftsmanship and longevity, while not skimping on quirks (and if the A/W18 collection is anything to go by, there are plenty of those in its covetable Phoebe Philo-esque designs).

Although it was conceived three years ago by the American-born Trehan and her partner Furhaad Shah, RŪH is only just debuting its first line of pieces, demonstrating, rather refreshingly, that it is in no rush. “From day one of starting the brand it has been an interesting process,” says Trehan. “I didn’t come from a fashion background at all, although I always had an interest in it. I’d just graduated from college at that time, I studied religion at Columbia in New York. And then I did a Computer Education course, where I really started becoming immersed in the world of digital technology. I started speaking to other people about how this technology has changed the way we approach fashion, in one’s thoughts and aspirations, and how much it has been reduced to images on Instagram. I really wanted to do something differently.”

Subsequently, RŪH has approached its e-commerce in a completely different way than one would expect from a fledgling brand in 2018. Its Instagram is private and its website requires a membership, almost referencing the modus operandi of Parisian couture houses. Additionally, although RŪH is now based in Oxford, its production takes place in a factory in Naples, which also constructs pieces for the likes of Dries Van Noten and Oscar de la Renta. “That was a big deal as a young brand because these factories don’t like to take on new brands if they haven’t proven successful,” explains Trehan. “It took a lot of convincing and really bringing them into the story and the business strategy and I think they really loved the idea that we were for the consumer.”

Why do I want it? Despite its production values, prices – surprisingly – remain at mid-range for the high level of quality that RŪH delivers. “Our cheapest piece is around £200 and £1,000 is the most expensive,” says Trehan. “It is very competitive because we’re not focusing on wholesale and therefore our margins are really different from a traditional luxury brand. We really wanted it to feel luxurious, but democratic – I don’t think those things are mutually exclusive anymore.” The pieces in the A/W18 collection, inspired by the work of constructivist artist Victor Pasmore, encompass abstract shapes, clean lines, and asymmetric cuts. It is a heady mix of timeless classics with outré detailing, including patent blouses with angular Peter Pan collars, trouser suits with unusual proportioning and simple wool skirts with odd, yet charming, button placements. “There’s also this killer coat: black, double-breasted and made in virgin wool that we sourced from Italy. It hugs the body in a way that we found to be just really beautiful. And I think it’s something that demonstrates that RŪH has a lot of longevity in the wardrobe, so I’m excited about that one.” 

As for the future, Trehan notes that there are further plans to draw customers into the brand’s universe – one that doesn’t only focus on sales. “Our universe is not about consumption, and we want to focus on initiatives that uphold this. So, we plan to create an editorial platform on our website. It’s kind of a journal where we feature creative women from many fields who are grappling with the same question that we are: what does identity mean in a digital landscape? We’re also doing offline activations of that same thing, setting up salons in New York for people to come and give talks and collaborate, to have a real life community that is as much a part of RŪH as the clothes themselves.”

Where can I find it? Online at Net-a-Porter and from September 7, 2018.