Narendra Kumar’s journey in the Indian fashion industry began in 1990 when he graduated from the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT). He started off as a designer for Ensemble – India’s first multi-designer boutique that was co-founded by Tarun Tahiliani.
Narendra Kumar, or ‘Nari’ as he is popularly addressed, is the first and the only Indian designer to enter Britain’s prestigious Esquire’s Big Black Book of Style. He was also the fashion founding editor of ELLE India when the magazine was launched in 1996. Kumar was responsible for the conceptualisation and shaping of the Indian version of the fashion magazine. After having helped ELLE take wings, he also worked extensively with Verve magazine.
In 2000, Narendra Kumar launched his eponymous label after acquiring comprehensive invaluable experience by working with various designers and collaborating with India’s leading textile companies. His collection comprised of a complete range of western wear for both women and men.
His style essentially reflects modern silhouettes and sharp tailoring. He ensures to include an Indian touch in his outfits by using rich Indian fabrics and intricate hand crafted detailing. His flagship store in Delhi and Mumbai display a mesmerising array of well crafted outfits that in a mind-boggling range of colours and textures.
What makes Narendra Kumar stand out is his hands-on working style. The designer does his own sketches and is involved in every aspect of creation that a garment goes through. The end result is exquisitely crafted clothes that bear his stamp of design sensibility. He is known for his androgynous styles that are simple and chic – jackets, structured tops, tailored pants and jumpsuits for women that are edgy and modern. However, his repertoire does not end there. His collections for women also include floor-sweeping gowns with bright floral prints, dresses with clean lines that are fashionable and comfortable and beautiful skirts.
When it comes to menswear, his principle is very simple – to make clothes that are wear-able and practical. This is the reason why he reserves all the flamboyance for his women’s wear line and keeps the men’s wear classic. Sharp jackets, smart shirts and tuxedos and classic jodhpuris compete for space amongst bespoke suits in a wide array of colours. He has dressed celebrities like John Abraham, Saif Ali Khan, Akshay Kumar and Kabir Bedi and also designed outfits for many Bollywood movies.
Not just individuals, Kumar has also lent his expertise to a number of corporate identity clothing projects for companies like the Mariott Group of Hotels, Kotak Mahindra Bank, HSBC and Unilever. Aside from this, Narendra Kumar is also on the faculty panel of the NIFT where he teaches Garment Manufacturing Technology, Fashion Trends Forecasting, Design, Draping and Fashion Marketing.
A big believer in the power of e-commerce, Narendra Kumar has now taken over as the Creative Director of e-commerce giant Amazon. Despite being a veteran in the industry, the designer still puts the same effort into a creation that he did when he started over two decades ago. He says that the secret of his success is the fact that he focuses on creating beautiful designs rather than making money, is aware of the demands of the industry and that is why he constantly reinvents to produce clothes that strike a chord with the buyers.