We all buy clothes, but no two people shop the same. It can be a social experience, and a very personal one; sometimes it can be impulsive and entertaining, sometimes it is purposeful, a chore. Where do you shop? When do you shop? How do you determine what you need, how much you spend and what “you” is? These are some of the questions we ask prominent figures in our How I Shop section.
The success of “Never Have I Ever”, which is currently in the third season (!), has happened in the course of a global pandemic. Yet the star of Maitreyi Ramakrishnan has continued to rise and rise and rise.
The 20-year-old actor in that ever-important spot for an up-and-coming Hollywood name, building a platform, following and a body of work that grabs attention – and potential brand partners. For Ramakrishnan, the choice of whether or not to enter into a deal is quite simple.
“I’m all for collaborations where it makes sense. It’s not out-of-the-blue for me — it’s like, ‘I’m wearing this stuff,'” she says. “For me, the criterion is always, should I google what this brand is? Because if it is, then I probably shouldn’t, because that’s not authentic to me and I can’t get excited about it. If I’m If I’m not really into it then I really shouldn’t be the person to help promote it With brands it’s a big obligation I really have to believe in that product and in the message and say ‘I don’t’ I like it don’t mind showing my face for this, because this is something that comes naturally in my life’ – like a good old pair of jeans.”
“It also comes down to messaging,” she continues, “like, ‘What are we trying to say here?’ Is it just, ‘Oh, look at this, this looks cool.’ Or is it, ‘Look, this looks cool, let’s change the way we look at the world.’
Ramakrishnan’s latest campaign — for American Eagle’s Spring 2022 collection, starring Coco Gauff, Madelyn Cline, Joshua Bassett, Michael Evans Behling and mxmtoon — achieves that, she says.
“It’s all about inclusivity and bringing people from different backgrounds to this fashion world,” she says. “We get to see the visual representation of people from all kinds of different backgrounds. I couldn’t tell you how many billboards or ad campaigns I’ve seen in general with South Asian people on the front lines. That’s pretty awesome to be able to be in this mainstream commercial: ‘There’s a brown person who looks like me.'”
Photo: Courtesy of American Eagle
“It’s all about getting those images that are realistic about the world we see around us at a young age because then you feel like you belong,” she says. “If you don’t have that, it feels like you’re not really there — you can go and buy those clothes, but you’re not meant for the poster. Now we’re changing that, which I think is pretty cool.”
Moving on, Ramakrishnan discusses her personal style and shopping philosophies, how working with a professional stylist and professional costume designer has changed her view of fashion, and more.
Photo: Courtesy of American Eagle
“Like many Gen Z kids, American Eagle was my go-to in high school, and it’s pretty much still a go-to for jeans. [I have] all those memories of shopping back to school when I was in high school, going to the American Eagle outlet, going all wild there because I knew it was about to go under. I was about to make some good choices.
“My personal style has a lot to do with comfort. I can’t say that I’m one of those people who always wears sweatpants and wide jeans and all that, because I also like heels and really dressing up. My style is board everywhere , trying different aesthetics and just making sure I have jeans that fit nicely around my waist and still cover my butt because that’s a struggle Let’s face it Let’s talk about that. [If I’m] want to show up, just chill to work, it’s jeans and a good old sweater. I’m all for the wide hoodies. I am very much. I would go for a good really oversized baggy hoodie and jeans, maybe a crop top underneath. That’s kind of the atmosphere for me.
“When I do red carpet things, it’s the work of three people: makeup artist, hairstylist, clothing stylist. That’s an army of people doing that, but it’s also really bad for me, because I’m part of that process, of decide what it’s going to be I love my stylist to death Joseph Cassell is my homie He’s amazing and he shows me myself in all these different styles, including the one where I couldn’t see myself He pushes me just enough out of the comfort zone to say, ‘Oh my gosh, I look really good in here, this is pretty cool’ – when I might have been like, ‘Uh, that’s probably not going to look good, so we wouldn’t try.’ It’s also that craft of being able to bring color together.I’m so bad at mixing colors and patterns when I’m left to my own devices, but when he does it, I think, ‘Wow, this makes sense.’
“In December I went to the Unforgettable Gala and I got to wear this dress, made with several panels of sari fabric, recycle that fabric and sew it together to make one piece. It was really cool because it was made by Ashwin Thiyagarajan, a designer from India.It’s a perfect example of sustainable fashion, but also looks really cool and shows my culture in an authentic, not symbolic, kitschy way.It was a stylish way to show my culture.
Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images
“A few months ago he put me in these really vibrant green pants and then this robe for a SAG panel that I did with Mindy Kaling. I would never have picked a robe — that was kind of, ‘Okay, interesting. ‘ But it was really cool. I thought, ‘Wow, this isn’t much black.’ It was actually really cool.
“Salvador Pérez is all about the pops of color, everything about the stacked necklaces and bracelets. I realized that in ‘Never Have I Ever’ we actually wear a lot of American Eagle – but hey, it’s all about color. He made my eyes for that too open, but I think that’s a really nice distinction between Devi and myself. [I’ve learned to] make sure you have some sort of accessory with you, like, “Oh, it really makes a difference” and “Maybe you don’t wear the same shoes every time, with every outfit.” Shoes make the difference. I learned a lot from the costume team ‘Never Have I Ever’. I always joke that Nalini, Devi’s mother, has to earn a lot of money for how many clothes she has. Any high school student who dresses this coordinated… But why do we doubt it? Leave it alone. Just make fashion look great.
“Before the pandemic, I would have said I never want to shop online. I like seeing the clothes, trying on the clothes, walking around the rest of the store and thinking, ‘Hmm, should I buy that? I don’t’ I don’t know.’ Now with the pandemic of course you can’t really do that so I’m all for online shopping but for me shopping in general is still a buy-as-you-really-need not-as-you want [thing], because there are so many trends and things that just go through the fashion cycle. It’s about making sure you buy within reasonable limits because you don’t want to just add anything to landfills. I’m always like, ‘Hmm, these are really cute, but do I need them? Probably not.’ So that’s how I buy.
“When I was in high school, every time I went through my closet and cleaned it out, I looked at what clothes I could give away… every time I saw a shirt in the back, I’d say, ‘Oh wait, this is cute, why did I take it all the way back? That’s kinda bad. That’s kinda not cool. That’s kind of a waste. You forgot the shirt existed. That’s pretty privileged. Maybe you should relax ‘ Then I thought, ‘Okay, okay. We need to have some control. We need to know every piece that’s in our closets.’
“It’s all about good basics, like the right basics and stuff. One of my favorite things to buy at American Eagle is the soft tees. They’re so soft, but they’re also classic basics that you can make with a skirt and totally summery or springy, or you can just pair it with jeans and it’s a nice fall look, or you can just tie it up and wear some sweats to chill out at home, that shirt goes with you for a variety of looks, which is nice .
Photo: Courtesy of American Eagle
“Recently I bought a pair of these boots that I really like from Naked Wolfe – the Impact boots. I stared at them for almost a year and did the whole thing, ‘But do I need it?’ Then I thought, “You know what? I’ll do that.” I love them. I can wear them with so many different outfits. As soon as there’s a chance to slide it in, I’m like, ‘Yeah, let’s go.’ I completely googled all the different images of other people wearing these shoes so I could get a realistic idea of how many outfits I could pair them with.
“The influence of social media really helps [with style inspiration]† The best thing is when someone posts a TikTok and it’s a joke about something that has absolutely nothing to do with what they’re wearing, but you know someone in the comments asks, ‘Where did you get that shirt? Where did you buy that dress?’ That person is actually asking the question I want to ask, so I’m just checking to see if the creator of that TikTok video responded. And when I’m on set – when I’m going through Devi’s wardrobe, every time I see something that fits me really well, that I like the cut and the quality, I will always notice the brand name. I don’t know how many people can take advantage of that, but it sure helps to have a revolving closet, 70% of which you don’t even wear and get through.
“Something that’s exciting to me about fashion is that it opens up in a way that, for me and for where I’m in the industry, I can try all these different aesthetics. I can try a more vintage look or more of a punk look – this idea to be able to try is really nice Joseph always says to me “Maitreyi, you are young. Now don’t lock yourself up in one particular image. If you want to explore, go explore.” I think that’s really cool. That’s my own personal excitement, of my own personal fashion journey. I want to look back at my pictures when I was my age and say, ‘Damn “What was I thinking? But I know I had fun.” I might cringe at what I’ve worn over the years, but I look back and know that I really liked it. I really liked it at the time, and that’s pretty special.”
This interview has been edited and abbreviated for clarity.
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This post How I Shop: Maitreyi Ramakrishnan
was original published at “https://fashionista.com/2022/03/maitreyi-ramakrishnan-fashion-style-interview”