Verve’s Power Women: Ritu Kumar
Since 1969, Ritu Kumar has effortlessly seamed together traditional Indian craftsmanship with contemporary couture. Starting off with barely four hand-block printers in a small village in Kolkata, the veteran designer today retails from over 27 stores across the country. Besides her significant contribution to the fashion circle, she has supported indigenous crafts, revived age-old traditions and generated employment for numerous artisans. She launched her own sub-brand titled ‘LABEL’ in 2002. Her work has garnered a loyal Bollywood fan following that includes Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra and Rekha, among others, and she has created ensembles for the late Princess Diana, Mischa Barton and Anoushka Shankar. Her unfailing passion has not gone unnoticed, and she is the proud recipient of the Indira Gandhi Priyadarshini Award, the Padma Shri award in 2013, and the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French government.
POWER IS: “The ability to make decisions and then see them through.”
ON DESIGNING A CLOTHING LINE: “It is perhaps one of the most demanding professions, which needs a lot of study and research. One also must have an inherent ability to sense a style and an aesthetically sound understanding of textiles.”
HER MUSES: “Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay and Pupul Jayakar.”
EXCITING MILESTONES: “Writing the book Costumes and Textiles of Royal India, as well as all the successes in the craft areas where revival took place, especially in the area of embroidery and printing.”
CAREER-DEFINING MOMENT: “I am never really sure; it happened by accident and not by design…especially fashion designing. I am still not sure if I want to only do this for the rest of my life, and not become an author or painter again.”
GREATEST STRENGTHS: “Perseverance and a constant craving for research.”