Fresh off showing at the Paris Couture Week last week, Delhi-based designer Rahul Mishra has entered into a partnership with Reliance Brands Limited (RBL) and will create a new ready-to-wear brand.
As part of the agreement, it would be launched through a 60:40 joint venture. The brand is expected to grow both vertically and horizontally to include accessories, footwear, home, beauty and jewellery for a global customer.
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In an interview with Mint, Darshan Mehta, RBL's managing director, said: “The journey of the ready-to-wear line by Rahul Mishra promises to be both exciting and unconventional. With the launch of a capsule collection planned for 22 September at one of the major fashion weeks, the intent from the start is to target the global consumer. The first store both online and physical would, in all probability, be in an international fashion capital: London, New York or Dubai.”
Mishra, India’s first winner of the International Woolmark Prize (in 2014) and the first Indian designer to be invited to show at Paris Couture Week, says, “With this new brand, it is our desire to look at our strengths of ready-to-wear, which is a part of our DNA. We seek to further consolidate and expand it with a larger presence that will also look at other unexplored product categories. This will enable us to have equal focus on the segment and institute the brand's experience and its mindful vision across more territories worldwide.”
Corporate India has been on a shopping spree for over a year now, with brands like Sabyasachi, Tarun Tahiliani, Manish Malhotra, Ritu Kumar, Anamika Khanna and Masaba Gupta receiving funding to help them explore new regions and customers.
Talking about Mishra, primarily known in India for his bridal couture, Isha Ambani, director of Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd (holding company of all retail companies in Reliance Industries Limited group), said: “Rahul Mishra’s flawless contemporary design sense and stunningly intricate pieces have spotlighted Indian expertise in crafts globally. Accompanied with his expertise in leveraging international fashion forums to accelerate brand building and creating a global customer base, it’s the perfect secret sauce to co-create a global brand. It’s a strategic part of our ongoing commitment to nurture Indian art and culture.”
RBL will be playing on the international cache that is Mishra and joins the current race that is on to become India’s first global brand between RBL and Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd (ABFRL).
ABFRL, the owners of menswear brands like Louis Philippe and Allen Solly in the Indian market, have a 51% stake in homegrown bespoke apparel brand Shantanu and Nikhil. ABFRL also acquired a minority stake in Tarun Tahiliani, as well as a majority stake in Masaba Gupta’s brand and aims to position the brand as an affordable luxury fashion house. It also owns a majority stake in Sabyasachi Mukherjee, a brand with one of the largest turnovers in the sector.
Mukherjee, the designer, who recently worked with global fast fashion brand H&M, is expected to open his own flagship store in New York this year.
RBL’s intent with Mishra is to have a worldwide footprint, with dedicated flagship stores in fashion capitals across the world. Mehta says, “The clever adaptation of Indian craft techniques with a cosmopolitan design narrative has put him at the forefront of being a ‘must watch’ brand in the global fashion arena.”