Luxury retailer Reliance Brands Ltd (RBL) has invested in Abraham & Thakore’s A&T Exports Pvt Ltd for a majority stake.
The partnership aims to build a lifestyle brand that offers new categories in women’s and men’s fashion and reintroduces Abraham & Thakore’s loungewear and home collections.
Using weaving and design intervention in unconventional ways, the 30-year-old brand has been carrying the Indian flag across the world. An Abraham & Thakore ikat sari, which is part of the permanent collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum, and its creations have been chosen for Fabric of India, V&A’s first major exhibition that explored the rich, multi-faceted and dynamic world of Indian handmade fabrics.
The designer trio, David Abraham, Rakesh Thakore and Kevin Nigli will continue to lead the creative direction of the brand as creative directors.
In an interview with Lounge, David said: “In particular, we are looking at bringing back lifestyle, which is our home collection, which we will integrate with the fashion collection and do a proper lifestyle offering, which we used to do earlier, and roll it out hopefully at retail and digitally.”
One of the reasons for the focus on home furnishings is the pandemic. “Pandemic has changed the way people look at their houses. The way people are beginning to live their lives… it's reflecting a change in society. More and more you or people setting up independent homes. In nuclear families, the interiors become all the more important.”
Talking about the partnership, Isha Ambani, director of Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd (holding company of all retail companies in Reliance Industries Limited group), says, “Abraham & Thakore’s interesting use of material and fresh take on traditional textile techniques have crafted a highly distinctive design signature for the brand. With Indian luxury customers undergoing a generational consumption shift, there is heightened appreciation of their timeless design.”
Agrees Darshan Mehta, the managing director of RBL: “More people are investing their time to buy special things rather than say, oh, I saw this item at 40% off or this one was at a very low price. There's no mindless consumption. People want to invest money in good products. This is the change we are seeing in how fashion is consumed.”
The latest association expands RBL's long list of designer brands. Its current portfolio of brand partnerships comprises AK-OK, Armani Exchange, Bally, Bottega Veneta, Brooks Brothers and West Elm. It has equity investments in Indian couture brands Manish Malhotra and Raghavendra Rathore.