Beauty & Fashion >> Indian Fashion Designers >> Ritu Kumar

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Ritu Kumar

In the late 1960s India was going through profound changes; plastics had replaced mud, brass and silver; factory produced papers and woods took the place of sophisticated handicrafts and nylons displaced an ancient heritage of cotton and silk. It was not only a battle between tradition and modernity; it was also a confrontation of lifestyles and values.

During this time, a small group who had benefited from unique opportunities of study and travel began to see the depth of the craft and design heritage of their own country. They discovered that India was a reservoir of delicate skills. In an attempt to merge their international experiences together with the skills of their people, they became aware that contemporary designers must revitalize their own roots and identity. This was essential to take Indian creativity out into the world in such a way that benefited both craftsmen and the modern consumer.

This scattered group, including Ritu Kumar was to become the country's leading designers of the buildings, garments, fabrics and accessories. Ritu began with hand block printers and two tablets in a small village near Kolkata, and in the last 28 years, Ritu's team of dedicated designers have progressed to produce some of the country's most exquisite garments and accessories in cotton, silk and leather. These ranges embrace both traditional textile crafts and the lineage of Indian design.

Ritu has pioneered the term 'fashion' in the Indian context, and more importantly has demonstrated that hand made products can be as profitable and even more glamorous than those made by the machine.

Ritu Kumar's forte is traditional Indian clothes, that draw heavily on the textile and embroidery heritage of India and remains classics of their kind. But she evolved another style for European buyer. Her Indo-West fusion wear has all the trappings of block prints, embroidery and craft inputs on a western style.

Ritu's global achievements include the wardrobes comprising of the winning three Miss India's, for their participation in the International beauty pageants (Miss Universe, Miss World & Miss Asia Pacific respectively). At least six of these, to mention a few: Manpreet Brar, Ruchi Malhotra, Rani Jeyraj and recently Lara Dutta, have won the award for the Most Outstanding Evening Gown in International pageants.

Ritu has opened many outlets all over India. International style icons such as Late Princess Diana, and Jemima Khan wear her outfits, putting her designs and India's talent on the world map. Ritu has also launched her book ' Costumes and Textiles of Royal India' published by Christie's, London.

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