The Indian fashion scene has been changing rapidly. The upwardly mobile audience wants fashion that speaks to them and makes a statement for them. So quirky, edgy, comfortable, the audience today wants it all. Catering to this everyone who is looking to show up and own a space, is AK-OK. What’s exciting is that Reliance Brands Limited and Anamika Khanna (yes, that fabulous designer) have agreed to join hands for a 60:40 joint venture (either by itself and / or through its affiliates) to own and develop the brand AK-OK. We caught up with Anamika Khanna and Darshan Mehta, MD Reliance Brands Limited to get the deets on this association.
Elle: So Anamika, how did AK-OK come to be?
Anamika Khanna: For the longest time, we were doing embellished, event-based clothing. But at the same time I was wearing clothes that were grabbing a lot of attention. People (friends and family) were taking my clothes. There was this awareness that one needed clothes that were not embellished to wear from morning to evening, as you go about your day and yet feel super special and have your own identity. Creating this was always on my mind. But it was when my boys came in (her sons Viraj and Vishesh) that I had the mindset of a younger, fresher approach and it helped that they were interested. I thought we could start something fun and experimental and interesting. So about 2.5 years ago, we gave life to the concept of AK-OK.
I was going through a health crisis and the term AK-OK was coined by the boys. It was about reassurance and optimism. Once this term was coined, we just took off. There was no holding back.
Elle: That’s pretty cool! Tell us, will the design sensibility at AK-OK be completely different?
AK: The aesthetic and sensibility roots out of India, which is where we are. Having said that, it’s a complete departure from Anamika Khanna and increasingly so because it is also catering to a mindset. This mindset does not have a barrier. It’s not dependent on time, space, gender, anything. It’s about owning that space that is yours. This is a brand for everyone.
We start with this mindset that this is targetted to a millennial or a younger audience but when we launched our first collection, my friends who are much older and my mum’s friends, very interestingly, were picking up AK-OK pieces and that’s when we realised we can’t have this defining barrier of who wears this.
Elle: Darshan, why is AK-OK an natural fit for Reliance Brands Limited?
Darshan Mehta: I have for a while now believed that fresh design sensibilities coming out of this part of the world is an idea whose time has come globally. And AK-OK symbolises exactly that. The audience is a global citizen, at least in terms of the mindset. And AK-OK fits right in.
Anamika Khanna will continue to lead the creative direction of the brand as Creative Director.
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