Ritu Kumar

Ritu Kumar is one of India’s foremost designers. She has developed a unique style of her own, reflecting the ancient traditions of Indian craftsmanship in a contemporary vocabulary. With a background in an art history and museology, which has enriched her horizons, Ritu’s understanding of ancient designs and the innovative use of traditional crafts has created a new classicism.

Ritu, who began her work with four hand-block printers and two tables in a small village near Calcutta forty years ago, was the first woman to introduce the ‘boutique’ culture in India under the brand name ‘Ritu’. Today she has outlets in 14 cities in India. Ritu’s boutiques feature a multifaceted showcase encompassing the very best of Indian design, with specially produced range of high fashion garments and accessories using silk, leather and cotton. Ritu’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.

She also is credited as being one of the first Indian designers who was catalytic in bringing a contemporary idiom to several ancient skills and has been a strong force in marketing them to a dynamic modern India. Over the years, Ritu Kumar’s work as a fashion designer has shown a progression, which has matured beyond textile crafts. She has a unique ability to evolve with each collection into creative styling, translating textures and embellishments into refreshingly new and unexpectedly contemporary silhouettes, making her work particularly relevant from India’s fashion point of worldview.

While Ritu Kumar’s forte lies in traditional Indian clothes that draw heavily on the textile and embroidery heritage of India, she has also evolved another style for the young buyer, a collection that in her words has “redefined traditional handwriting to meet the changing needs of the new generation. The inspiration of these garments is basic Indian motifs, prints and embroideries but with the usage of a wide range of western silhouettes mingled with Indian styles.

In 2002 Ritu Kumar, joined by her son Amrish, launched a sub brand – Ritu Kumar, LABEL. LABEL uses the established forte of traditional Indian design and converts it into a fashion oriented international product. This is aimed at the young global Indian woman with a contemporary lifestyle. LABEL retails from most Ritu Kumar stores as well as some stand alone stores.

Her book “Costumes and Textiles of Royal India” published by Christies in October 1999 chronicles the history of textiles and art design in India.

Ritu has recently been awarded the 'Indira Gandhi Priyadarshini award' for her achievements and contribution in the field of fashion. Mother Teresa, Birju Maharaj, Pt. Hari Prasad were previous recipients of this prestigious award.

To add to her achievements the French government has bestowed the prestigious award of "chevalier des arts et des lettres (knight of the order of arts and letters) on veteran designer and revivalist Ritu Kumar. The award is recognition of her contribution to Indian textile crafts, and traditional techniques. In the past, this award has been conferred upon Shahrukh Khan, M Balamurali Krishna, Merryl Streep, Daneille Steele, Leonardo Dicapio, and Anjalie Ela Menon amongst others.

Ritu Kumar, has also been awarded  the Padma Shri Award 2013, the country's fourth highest civilian award for her exceptional and distinguished service in the field of fashion, textile and craftsmanship.