Rahul Mishra is the latest name to join the glossy list of designers in RBL’s extensive portfolio. The corporate giant and the design house will be launching a new ready-to-wear label in a 60:40 joint venture (either by itself and/or through its affiliates). Last week, Rahul showcased his 5th couture collection at the prestigious Paris Couture Week – presenting alongside names like Dior, Chanel and Valentino in a calendar that is strictly invite only, decided by the federation. For Rahul, global exposure or international platform isn’t exactly a top priority. We caught up with him to ask him what persuaded him to form alliances with Reliance Brands Limited. “While our couture business was booming, I was simultaneously thinking about expanding our ready-to-wear section. Due to Covid-19, a lot of multi-brand outlets globally are struggling, hence I needed something with a direct-to-consumer approach – that’s where RBL comes in. Right from the beginning – their thought process, business ideas and vision for the label mirrored our ideologies. Global exposure is great, but what you do with it is more important. With RBL, we plan on creating a larger physical and virtual network that is multi-dimensional yet holistic in terms of approach.”
RBL has lately been partnering with major names in the Indian fashion industry like Anamika Khanna and Manish Malhotra – Rahul Mishra is the newest entrant to this roster. President and chief executive of RBL, Darshan Mehta weighs in on what these associations mean for the conglomerate. “To begin with, we have a track record of never overwhelming the brands we partner with, over the period of 14 years we have built a cache of over 50 international brands. But there has been a systematic change in our consumer’s wardrobe and psyche over the last 10 years – the Indian buyer from 2010 to 2020 have matured exponentially. 2010 was all about logo-seekers – but in the last decade through a combination of many things, the consumer has evolved and now looks at fashion through a form of personal expression. On the other hand, designers like Rahul have been clever enough to build their brand on craftsmanship, techniques and surface treatment – reducing the logomania gradually. Through our wardrobe research, we have been discovering that more and more Indian consumers are making space for Indian designers in their closets and taking pride in them. We can provide platforms for brands like Rahul Mishra to catapult to a global arena, not just to showcase at fashion weeks but to find a footprint where international shoppers can shop from.”
Rahul Mishra is known for his grassroot craftsmanship and sustainable DNA – to retain the central ethos of his label while corporatising his labour of love is a challenge he is willing to take head-on. “We are not here to create seasonal clothes that go out of trend – even a ready-to-wear attire will be crafted to be passed on to the next generation,” expressed Rahul. Creating timeless clothing is the best endorsement of sustainability, by making more fashion is causing more harm – hence we intend to go seasonless and create classics that stand the test of time,” added Darshan.
In a joint statement, the designer and the establishment have shared their vision for the future. From footwear, accessories to beauty and homeware – the possibilities are endless. While on paper, these affiliations are strictly numbers – in practicality, what does it mean for the creative and the corporate entity behind the closed doors? “We don’t hold partnerships to shareholding percentages, our job here is to be their sounding board, enable their ideas and fundamentally be 2 steps behind. The idea is to put Rahul Mishra’s creative sensibilities into many categories beyond clothing without putting a hard timeline or checking conventional boxes, expressed Darshan.”
“I have done multiple collaborations, my line with Swarovski was sold out and even people I knew couldn’t buy it – in cross-pollination like this, the expertise of RBL will come in handy. Sometimes the lack of production kills the excitement of a new launch – to have a partner that will help us navigate through this while letting our creative juices flow is a win-win situation for us, Rahul chimed in.
To read more about Rahul Mishra’s latest work, tap here .