Ritu Kumar is one of India's foremost designers, who has developed a unique style of her own, reflecting the ancient traditions of Indian craftsmanship in a contemporary vocabulary. With a background in art history and museology, which has enriched her horizons, Ritu Kumar's understanding of ancient designs and the innovative use of traditional crafts has created a new classicism.
Ritu holds the status of a revivalist in the Indian fashion industry, which has successfully bridged the gap between traditionalism and modernity. Ritu, who began her work with four hand-block printers and two tables, in a small village near Calcutta thirty years ago was the first woman to introduce the "boutique" culture in India under the brand name "Ritu".
Ritu Kumar's range of western and Indian apparel is all about traditions and individual talent, and women across the continents can easily identify with her vision of design. Ritu has gone a long way to redefining the term "fashion" in the Indian context. Most importantly, she has demonstrated that the products of the work of the hand can be as profitable as and even more glamorous than that of machine, and that Indian fashion is more than capable of holding it's own in the international arena of haute couture. Her couture is readily recognizable by its classicism, beauty and finesse.
Her design philosophy is based on the premise that everything founded on a good aesthetic cuts across all borders-be they geographical, cultural or otherwise. This very aesthetic is the factor central to the Indian handwriting which underlies her creations. As the world truly becomes a global village, more and more of the elements that make up modern culture are taking on rich hues and ethnic tones. Pluralism is the mantra, while tastes are fast becoming eclectic, be it in music, arts, food or fashion. Within fashion, Indian techniques have increasingly commanded a premium for their creativity, style and finish.
Today her clothes are retailed in 27 stores across India. In addition to these she has opened branches in London (which closed after three years), Paris and New York. In 1999 the company’s annual turnover was estimated as the highest of any Indian fashion outlet.
In 2013 Ritu Kumar was awarded by the Indian Government with the Padma Shri award. She has also been featured in a project run by the Harvard Business School called ‘Creating Emerging Markets’.
Many well known figures have donned Ritu Kumar clothes including Princess Diana, Jemima Goldsmith and Madhur Jaffrey.