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June 4, 2013

Journey of Women Entrepreneurs- Ritu Kumar

Style Quotient

She adapted and created new outfits for each of her collection without failing to surprise her patrons. New styles, texture translations and embellishments of contemporary silhouettes have been her strongest arts in designing comfortable and niche outfits. Beyond traditional clothes that draw heavily on textile and embroidery from the heritage of India, she has pushed the boundaries of fashion with her vision for clothes for the young generation. In her words these unique outfits for young buyers are “redefined traditional handwriting to meet the changing need of the new generation”. These garments originate from the unexplored recesses of Indian motifs, prints and embroideries incorporated into an indo-western fusion, to draw the attention of the range of European buyers. As pioneer and veteran of fashion in India she has proved that hand made products can be profitable and even more beautiful than those made by machines. Her company is a now an important source for the revival of Indian textile and is also providing employment to hundreds of indigenous artisans.

In early 1970’s Ritu Kumar opened new gates of opportunity for embroiders of Ranihati, based outside Calcutta and provided them with workspace in their own environment which led to the craft of Zardozi, a flourishing art during the period of the great Mughal Empire. This revived art became a rage in bridal fashion and evening wear of exquisite beauty blended with unique fabrics and gold embroidery.

With the growth of fashion and her maturity in understanding the industry, in 1999 she co-authored a book named ‘Costumes and Textiles of Royal India’, which chronicles the history of textile and art design in India.

Recently, Ritu Kumar was in the news for designing costumes in the wedding sequence of the film ‘Midnight Children’ directed by Deepa Mehta. Previously she has also designed outfits for Frieda Pinto in the Oscar winning film ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ and her son Avinash Kumar’s film ‘Road to Ladhak’ (2002).  

Growth of the Company

As a brand, Ritu Kumar not only restrained her art to fashion but also catered to the luxury segment with the launch of the fragrance named ‘the tree of life’. In 2002, her company launched a sub-brand named LABEL aimed at forming alliances with design talents across the world to create matchless products to cater Indian aesthetic designs to International market.

Recognitions and Awards

For her hard work, determination and extensive work of beauty and art, Ritu Kumar has received many awards of recognition across platforms. In 1998 she was awarded The Outstanding Women Entrepreneur Award by the Chamber of Commerce. In 2000 Kingfisher Group of Industries awarded her the Lifetime Achievement Award. The French government awarded her ‘Chevalier des arts et des lettres’ for her exceptional contribution in reviving Indian textile crafts and traditional techniques. In 2012 she was awarded the Achievement Award at L’oreal Paris Femina Women’s Award. And finally in 2013 she earned the Padma Shri Award, India’s fourth highest civilian award for her work in fashion textile and craftsmanship.

Balance between Professional and Personal Life

In an article posted by India Today for Women’s Day Special Ritu Kumar commented that family is the most essential part of a woman’s life, both socially and emotionally. She said that it is a challenging task for every woman to balance her professional commitments against family responsibilities, but one needs to and can overcome such trivial issues with family support and a focused attitude. When asked to choose between work and its fame or the love and support of family, she said, “whenever such situations arose, my career took a back seat!” When she is not working she likes to go on a family vacation and converse with her sons over art and books.

As a fashion veteran and a woman entrepreneur in India Ritu Kumar has recognized the fact that the strength of a woman lies not only in her art and determination but also by playing an active role as a caring mother and family member.


Tags : ritu kumar fashion designer, ritu kumar, women entrepreneur in india

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I have been writing for almost 3 years now for various clients