Reliance Retail Ventures Limited (RRVL), a subsidiary of Reliance Industries, has taken a majority 52 percent stake in Ritika Pvt Ltd, the company that owns Indian designer Ritu Kumar’s fashion and homeware brands.
Financial details of the deal were not disclosed, but the acquisition included the entire 35 percent stake in Ritika Pvt Ltd previously held by Everstone Capital, a private equity firm.
The Ritu Kumar brand universe, which includes Ritu Kumar, Label Ritu Kumar, RI Ritu Kumar, Aarké and Ritu Kumar Home and Living, began life 50 years ago when Kumar herself returned to India having studied art history in the US and began her work reviving and promoting the textile and craft history of her homeland.
Over the last two decades, a resurgence of consumer interest in Indian design and crafts has helped propel this revival, which Kumar describes as a “miracle,” having seen it grow from almost nothing in the 1960s. The partnership with Reliance, she hopes, will really “put it on the map.”
“India’s entire fashion industry rests on the back of the craftspeople of India and what I am seeing now is the revival of every pocket of design,” Kumar added.
According to Darshan Mehta, Reliance Brands Limited (RBL) managing director and chief executive, RRVL’s interest and investment in Ritika Pvt Ltd stems largely from the commitment Ritu Kumar has shown to this mission over decades.
“Not to belittle… the [commercial] organisation that has been built [around them] but the fact that, after 50 years… Ritu and Armish [Kumar, Ritu’s son and her company’s managing director] amid the cacophony, stayed true to their soul and their roots,” he said. “That’s what creates enduring brand value.”
This acquisition comes less than a week after Reliance Brands Limited (a subsidiary of Reliance Retail Ventures Limited) announced it was taking a minority stake in Indian designer Manish Malhotra’s fashion label and in a year that has seen numerous other investments from major Indian conglomerates in Indian designers.
“The partnerships created by us and other players in the market show it’s an idea whose time has come,” Mehta said.
“I’m more confident than ever that the next Giorgio Armani or Valentino on the global stage will come out of India and we want to be there as a partner,” he added.
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