Rahi Chadda is taking over the world, one look at a time. The tastemaker gives us a glimpse into his journey and personal style peppered with natural diamond jewelleryBy Divya Gursahani |
The world is Rahi Chadda’s stage. The fashion superstar and influencer has an audience of over 1M that is glued to his sartorial take on style. Unlike other influencers, his content looks like a series of editorial photoshoots, self admittedly his favourite kind because “each picture has a narrative behind it.” His original aspiration was to become a Solicitor and so he found himself studying law. However his innate creativity, cultivated through a childhood full of reading and painting, manifested strongly and Chadda found himself in the middle of a rather unusual career pivot. It’s safe to say that the risk paid off and following his heart was certainly the right move.
Born and brought up in North-West London, Chadda credits his family for instilling in him a deep love and reverence for their Indian heritage. Given how intrinsic his roots are to who he is today, it comes as no surprise that he proudly represents India on a global scale, recently becoming the first brown male ambassador for Dior Beauty. For someone who started as a part time model and now sits front row at Giorgio Armani, Zegna, Prada and Fendi as a premier fashion tastemaker, his definition of success is overwhelmingly simple—happiness.
Through our chat, we discovered what keeps Rahi Chadda ticking—the man behind the accomplishments, the source of his inspiration, deep love for fashion, representing his country of origin, and why natural diamond jewellery is such an important part of his personal style.
It’s been a fascinating journey from law straight to fashion. Tell us more about that!
When I was studying law I was in a very different phase of my life. I actually really enjoyed the degree and my university experience overall. I know it may not seem like I’d speak law jargon but trust me, I know my thing!
Modelling started as a side gig that I became invested in. As a child I spent a lot of time reading and painting at home. I think that’s when my creative instincts really developed. It’s very fulfilling to be able to pursue risks and follow your heart. Lifeis really one big journey. The initial stages are always a little rough and haphazard because you’re trying to find your feet, but with time, experience and exposure you’re able to start finding the playing field that works for you.
Today, you’re representing modern India on the global map.
While I’m a Londoner through and through (North-West London born and raised), I’ve had an Indian upbringing. This keeps me connected to my heritage and I have my family to thank for that.
Growing up there were no pivotal South Asian figures I could look at in fashion as inspiration or even role models. I had to unsubscribe from what I wanted to do, because there weren’t people like us doing what we are today. Social media and the projection of diversity and inclusivity has opened many opportunities for creatives like myself and I’m really grateful for that. Having a large social media following also lends a certain amount of responsibility. We’re in rooms, leading conversations and somewhat creating doors for a generation to feel inspired and motivated to achieve their creative pursuits and that’s really special—it’s what drives me.
What does success mean to you?
The meaning of success has changed for me through my 20s. Now it would mean following through in decisions where total happiness is the main priority with whatever I do.
How important is innovation in the space you’re in?
Creativity and innovation is a large part of what we do. It’s important to keep reinventing and coming up with new ideas particularly with the content we produce. I like to take inspiration from what is around me, my travels, the culture, childhood, social media and other motivating factors.
How do you choose the projects you collaborate on?
It’s really about aligning myself with brands which share objectives similar to mine. Whether that’s in a space of beauty, fragrance or fashion. When a brief is received I like to give it ample thought and see how my creative vision feels inspired. That’s one of the reasons I enjoy creating editorial style content because each picture has a narrative behind it.
Brooch by Chaumet, Link necklace and Circular pendant by Boodles, Jumper and Bomber jacket by Giorgio Armani.
Describe your personal style.
Authentic, rebellious, reinventive. The meaning of fashion is very subjective but I see it as a creative medium where I get to play different characters depending on how I want people to see me. It gives me the confidence to transform into this persona to face the outside world.
Who is your style inspiration?
My granddad was very well dressed. He always had a meticulously ironed shirt on, paired with high waisted trousers and a belt, which as we know, I love. During the winter he would wear his classic tweed blazer. It was a strong look for his time and still is today. I take joy in the way I dress, and in the way other men dress as I see looks that make me think ‘oh, my grandad would have loved that!’
Tell us about the exciting looks you curated for NDC.
Today I am wearing Armani and Berluti, very much staple brands in my wardrobe. They’re so effortless and easy to wear, I don’t have to think twice when grabbing their pieces. I’ve also styled this with a few pieces of natural diamond jewellery, namely a bit of Boodles, Chaumet and Bvlgari—classic brands. Jewellery is very special to me, whether it was gifted to me or something I bought myself there is always a story. For instance, the Bvlgari B.zero ring reminds me of my adventures with Fashion Week but also some cover shoots I’ve done—they carry fond memories. Another key piece for me is the natural diamond chain link necklace, it is something I keep going back to when getting ready lately. The details on it are beautiful, and I can spread this across all occasions in my life.
What is your relationship with natural diamond jewellery?
In my eyes natural diamonds have more of a transcendental worth. Today, we are a lot more aware of the life changing value precious stones provide to those in mining, cutting and polishing. Natural diamonds therefore have a great positive social benefit and lasting value.
On a personal note, I grew up seeing my mum wear her diamond ring which she bought for herself and that for me was a symbol of self-love. I am fascinated by how many facets a diamond can have and how it affects the reflection of light. It’s like looking at a constellation of stars—so beautiful.
When it comes to heirlooms, my dad on his recent trip back from India brought along some pieces which belonged to my grandmother and great-grandmother—the ancestral nose-ring, bangles and matha-pati. Quite a few pieces were from my grandmother’s wedding. They were wrapped in tissue paper and kept in these archaic tins, it was really quite fascinating.
What is your most treasured diamond piece?
I have a few diamond rings I’ve recently invested in combined with precious stones. They’re quite special to me because it’s something that I bought for myself.
What does luxury mean to you?
Luxury isn’t easy to define. It’s about experiencing new routes, experimentation and appreciating craftsmanship. I find the concept of conscious luxury very interesting—I’ve grown to look after and be sustainable with my clothes as I like my items to last.
Currently on top of my playlist…Harry Styles – As It Was.
My favourite occasion to dress up for…You know you never need an occasion to dress up! Dress up for yourself, that’s what I do!
My biggest goal? There are many aspirations. I’d have to bring my vision board from home, I don’t think words can explain it!
What I love most about my profession? No two days are the same. Being a creative, each day is different, with its own set of tasks and challenges.
Diamonds make me feel…Elevated, empowered.
On top of my travel bucketlist…Oh I really need to go and see the Northern Lights!
My first ever diamond jewellery purchase…A pair of earrings I bought for my mother from a jeweller in Ajmer.
On my diamond wishlist…The Chaumet brooch, from their Déferlante High Jewellery Capsule Collection.
Three things that bring me joy… A walk in the park, spending time with friends, going for a meal to my favourite restaurant.
Favourite food? Of course, my mum’s homemade Punjabi food.
If I weren’t a model & tastemaker, I would be…Couldn’t see myself doing anything else!
The best advice I have ever received…Just be your true and authentic self.
My favourite thing about my Indian heritage…Culture, music, food.
Talent: Rahi Chadda
Photographer: Nathan Singh
Cinematographer: Oliver Chen
Styling: Kay Ganesh
Talent Agency: Hypesight
On ground production: Sandr
Production: By The Gram