By: Maja Von Horn
Photography: Bliss Braoudakis
One of the biggest lessons from the pandemic is that we can actually do more with less. We should not forget this one – says Ramya Giangola, founder of fashion and retail consultancy Gogoluxe, who mastered the style of LA boho meets New York chic to perfection.
Maja von Horn: Did the place where you grew up influence your career choices?
Ramya Giangola: I grew up in Southern California, near the beach in Orange County. I think if anything, it steered me toward the opposite: growing up in a very casual, relaxed setting made me seek out a more urban, and aesthetically driven path. My parents are both doctors and I was expected to follow in their footsteps. While I realised being a doctor was not in my future, I did start to pursue a career in law. But at the point when I was about to enter law school, I did some serious soul searching and realised I did not want to be a lawyer and that my actual dream was a career in the fashion industry. Where and how I grew up helped me realise what I didn’t want, and thanks to that, I was able to discover what I did want to do with my life.
M.V.H.: Your consultancy Gogoluxe helps luxury fashion retailers connect with creative new talent and emerging brands. How did you come up with the idea for the company?
R.G.: While doing my MBA in Paris I met a woman who would change my life. She told me that her job was to travel the world meeting creatives, artists, and designers, that she would then present to retailers for them to pick up for their stores. She was essentially paid for her eye, and retailers would rely on her to find them the best, coolest, and newest talent from around the globe. I had a chance to start my own consultancy whose roots were essentially the same. It’s been super rewarding work to discover talent from far-flung places and to be able to support them to grow their vision and make their collections accessible around the world.
M.V.H.: What does it take to spot genuine talent?
R.G.: I think the most important thing is that the person and product they have created feels authentic to them, where they're from, their background, their vision. It’s also super important that they bring to our culture something that is meaningful, thoughtful, and unique.
M.V.H.: You had lived in New York City for nearly two decades, but then moved back to Los Angeles a couple of years ago. Why did you decide to leave the East Coast?
R.G.: I had lived in NYC for quite some time and my husband and I were ready for a change. I will always cherish NYC and I wouldn’t be who I am today without my time and experience there, but the West Coast was calling me back. Also LA was having a cultural renaissance when we arrived, which it still is (aside from the pause we have had with Covid). As a scout, and someone who is also looking for talented new innovators, it felt like the right time to come back and help support this community of creatives. But NYC will always be in my heart, and I do miss many things about living there. I can’t really say that I prefer one city over the other, that’s like choosing between two children! I love NYC for it’s hustle and bustle, it’s energy and romantic vision. I love LA for the light, the hills, and the sushi!
M.V.H.: Tell us about your new project El Vino. What inspired you to get involved in the wine industry?
R.G.: It all started as a passion project amongst four dear friends from the fashion industry. We wanted to start a female-founded wine brand that married a creative aesthetic and delicious, easy-to-drink wine. We discovered the gorgeous region of Valle de Guadalupe in Baja Mexico where our wine making partner is based, and El Vino was born. Our concept is that for each wine that we launch, we will partner with a different artist or creative to create unique labels for the wine, along with a collection of merchandise that will be available for sale on our website and in the stores of some of our retail partners I discovered our first collaborator,the artist LRNCE, when I was in Marrakech at the end of 2019. Her art and creative vision truly embody the spirit of El Vino. Our goal is to create a community of like-minded individuals who are inspired by coming together, art, culture and fun times.
M.V.H.: You’re famous for your fantastically eclectic style. What shaped your sense of fashion throughout the years?
R.G.: Growing up in an Indian family surrounded by my mother and aunties with their piles of gorgeous silk saris and jewels, it was super inspiring to see them get dressed up to go to parties. I definitely think that had a major influence on my sense of colour. My style has evolved quite a bit over the years, but I feel at this point I have a bit of a uniform, an eclectic one at that. The Phoebe Philo chapter at Cèline has also had an indelible influence on my style.
M.V.H.: What are your current fashion staples?
R.G.: Dresses by Vita Kin and Kika Vargas, caftans from Pippa Holt, basket bags and shoes from Loewe, knits from old Cèline and The Row, Chylak handbags. I love how timelessly chic they are, while also being very well made and utilitarian. They fit into my eclectic style.
M.V.H.: And who are your interior design crushes?
R.G.: Gosh, that is such a tough question! We are in the process of building a new home and I am completely obsessed with interiors at the moment! I really love Kelly Wearstler’s work, but also Studio Lowsheen, and Amber Interiors. I love following Como Studios for daily interiors inspiration, and I love Athena Calderone’s style as well.
M.V.H.: What advice would you give to young people on how to develop an eye for great style?
R.G.: The best advice is to keep your eyes open, don’t judge or avoid looking at things that may not be totally connected to your own personal style, because this is how you can refine your eye. Traveling and meeting people is also an amazing way to develop your eye. Great style is not about a price point, it’s really about authenticity and being true to yourself.
M.V.H.: Last but not least, what has been the biggest change in the fashion industry after over a year in the pandemic?
R.G.: I think one of the biggest ones was learning that we can actually do more with less. Despite not being able to travel or even have access to the same materials, brands were able to continue to be creative and dream on different levels. I hope we do not forget what we have been through, and continue to be mindful of how important human connection is. And that even though we are all so excited to be back together to travel and have fun, we should proceed in a mindful, thoughtful way and not just jump back on the hamster wheel of the non-stop fashion cycle, producing more and more and faster and faster. I think being smarter with less is an important lesson we should not lose.