Creative Journey: An Interview with Rikesh Chauhan

Talking with Rikesh Chauhan, its very clear that under his a calm exterior there is a lot of energy bubbling underneath waiting to escape and make itself known via a plethora of talents and creative pursuits. As a menswear photographer and writer, he captures the essence of  heritage brands with unparalleled skill and finesse. Beyond photography, Rikesh's musical endeavours under the moniker RKZ showcase his versatility and passion for storytelling through music.



Just as sharp in front of the camera as he is behind it, Rikesh embarked on a personal campaign to bring our latest release—the E17 Chore Jacket in brown twill—to fruition. Through his passionate advocacy, he championed for its production. Join us as we sit down with Rikesh to explore the stories behind his creative endeavours and the inspirations that fuel his remarkable journey.

Hi Rikesh, can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

Hey mate! I'm a menswear photographer and writer by trade specialising in luxury heritage brands, and prior to that I was working for an east London agency as a Senior Creative. I'm also a recording artist signed to We Are Home/Aviary Bridge, and have released several projects—singles, EPs and one album to date—under my stage name, RKZ.

Being a multi-hyphenate creative with your fingers in many pies, how do you divide the time between the different disciplines whilst making sure to have a strong output in each of them?

I have a lot of creative pursuits, so the most important thing for me is time management and organisation. I'm extremely structured and methodical, and I have to be in order to make sure I am dedicating enough time to each craft. There has to be some give or take, and flexibility however. I can't allocate a set amount of hours on a music project, if I don't feel creative or inspired. It's a waste of everyone's time. Therefore, I make sure I plan to the best of my ability, whilst having some leeway here and there. It's also a case of seasonality. Given that I work in menswear, I know too that I'll have certain months within the year where everything else will need to take a back foot. It's the nature of the industry, and fortunately so far, a relatively predictable one.

Where does your inspiration for these creative outlets stem from?

Great question, and genuinely don't have a straight answer to that! I suppose I grew up in a very creative and musical household. Everyone can sing; my sister worked in the fashion industry for years before I had any vested interest. Now, I suppose I just love the element of storytelling, and working with a brand to see what they create—that is usually the inspiration in itself. I've worked for magazines, in studios, and I guess it's the amalgamation of all of that throughout the years.

Is it fair to say that photography is your main gig? How did you get into it?

It's the one that pays the bills, and the one I enjoy the most. Lucky coincidence! At the agency I worked as a multi-faceted creative, and with the nature of the marketing and social media industry, you had to be kinda good at everything. I picked up a camera a couple years prior to working there, so I knew a thing or two, but it was only when I started getting fashion clients that my love for it began. I worked there for a couple years before moving in-house at bespoke shirtmaker, Turnbull & Asser. There I was doing a lot of copywriting, social media management and photography—be it in the shops, or on campaign shoots. Then when I joined The Rake, that really helped diversify my portfolio, network and relationships. It was an incredible place to work, as it essentially opened doors that previously may not have.

You have a fantastic sense of style and self expression, how has that evolved over time?

Thank you! It's a very new thing. I was still trying to figure out what my personal style was, all throughout my time at Turnbull and The Rake. Before Covid, it was sort of easy as suits were a mainstay. Afterwards, everything changed and I found myself not feeling as comfortable. I also felt my clothes didn't really represent my heritage, nor my music, nor my personal beliefs of style being fluid and adaptable. Don't get me wrong, I still wear tailoring a lot, but now you'll notice my approach is a lot more relaxed. I love room and breathability, soft structures, wide legs, beautiful cloths, and now incorporating elements of India, elements of Japan, elements of Americana. Anything that I think looks cool, basically.

You’re also a bit of a coffee geek right? 

Yes—although I eyeball everything. I don't own scales, a machine or any of that stuff, but I know good coffee and I know bad coffee. No one can convince me that pods taste good. Anyway, the reason I'm really into it is because I don't drink coffee for the caffeine hit. I genuinely like the taste, so when I go out and spend money on it, I want to make sure what I'm getting is good quality. The same way I don't shop fast fashion, I won't go to Starbucks. Plus, the idea of supporting independent and ethical shops is much more appealing, and especially when you're usually getting phenomenally tasting coffee, and not paying as much for the pleasure.

Can you tell us what you look for in a pair of jeans?

Durability, and meticulous craftsmanship. It needs to be good quality and hard wearing because I will rinse them to death. If the jeans aren't made of proper quality denim, aren't constructed well, they won't last a month. Silhouette, I love a full, straight or wide leg — nothing too fitted. I don't have the legs for that.

You launched The Accessible Magazine last year, can you tell us the goal of this publication?
It's to tell stories you wouldn't necessarily read about, with a unique photography perspective. It's a photojournalism magazine (I say magazine, it's more akin to a coffee table book) specialising in travel, sports, fashion, politics and basically anything we find interesting. It's the only magazine where you'll be able to read an interview with a female South Korean Savile Row tailor, get a unique view on Aqaba, see Naples descend into chaos on 35mm film as they win the Scudetto, and learn how to fly a helicopter. But if you think that was cool, wait until you see what we have lined up for Issue 2 this June...
You can follow Rikesh's journey via his Instagram 

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