There is not one person in today’s time, who is unaware of the name Ritu Kumar. She is not just a name, but an entire brand in herself. She is a self-made woman, who has worked day and night to make her label rise to the starlight. Be it fashion designing, or interior designing, she has left no stone unturned to expand her brand.
She was born in Amritsar, Punjab, but hails from Delhi. She completed her higher studies in 1964 from Lady Irwin College in Delhi and pursued her further education from Briarcliff College in New York. She has a strong hand background in art history and museology. Her firm as an Indian designer began almost 40 years ago in West Bengal. She hired Four hand-block printing craftsmen from a small village nearby who served the executors of her design. Starting from this, she has evolved to owning 35 high-end stores across 14 cities in the country and gradually spread out her brand in the rest of the world. She is one of the avant-gardes of Indian fusion garments and has thus brought a myriad of laurels under her name.
When somebody talks about Indian Traditional Designing, Ritu Kumar is the only name that pops up. Her name is the reflection of Indian Traditional Textiles and Fashion. Tracing back to her beginning, it started when she returned to India from America with a desire to learn more about our country and its cultural heritage. She then took up a course dealing with histology which provided her exposure to museology and this became the core area of her interest in the various craft forms. As she progressed, she got introduced to hand block printing and eventually started interacting with a cross-section of artisans across Kolkata. There was an undocumented repertoire of knowledge and skills and that was the foundation of her continued association with Indian designs and hand-woven textiles. chanderi, silks, khadi, and tussars are her favorite materials to experiment with because she feels that these materials have the true Indian touch.
Ritu Kumar also has a bridal collection under her label. Every Indian bride has a dream of a fairytale wedding, and that involves wearing something from her collection on her special day. Her bridal collection is considered a show-stopper on the runway and features a lot of zari, zardozi, and other forms of embroidery that make use of this precious metal. Her designs are an unmatched amalgamation of traditional and elite.
Her day and night hard work paid off when she was awarded The Padma Shree in 2013, and after that, there was no looking back. She also received the Achievement Award in 2012 at L’Oréal Paris Femina Women’s Awards and the Indira Gandhi Priyadarshini award for her role in the development of the fashion industry. Throughout her career, she has been bestowed with many other honors. She has carved her niche with an unmatched spirit and ability in her field. She is an inspiration for every aspiring designer in today’s time. Ritu Kumar is indeed a starlight name.