In conversation with designer Ritika Mirchandani
In conversation with designer Ritika Mirchandani
by Analita Seth | September 30, 2021, 21:45 IST
Ritika Mirchandani believes in serving couture at its best. As she evolves with the changing times, Analita Seth finds out more about her journey so far.
Fashion is about intricately weaving a dream that not only serves you with the luxury of style but also the comfort that comes with it. Giving her contemporary take on traditional couture, designer Ritika Mirchandani has given ethnic wear a touch of modern minimalism while keeping the beauty and intricacy of Indian wear alive in the embroidery and silhouettes. As the fashion world transforms and evolves, we find out what it takes a luxury brand to survive and keep up with the ever-changing times.
When did you know you wanted to be a designer?
As a young girl, I watched my mother work tirelessly to run a successful brand under her name Usha Mirchandani. Her talent and ambition inspired me to tap my own creative potential.
How was it when you just started out? What were the setbacks and how did you overcome them?
When I started 10 years ago, marketing relied on advertising in print media and via word of mouth. In the absence of smart digital media, it was difficult to reach out to my target market in an effective way. I had to participate in exhibitions to showcase new collections and we tried to get ourselves featured in fashion magazines and spreads to create visibility in India and worldwide. On the contrary, today with digital marketing being at the forefront brands have it easier in terms of showcasing their product worldwide. Social Media has served as a plus point today in providing a wider audience for retailers and brands like us.
As a luxury brand, it is hard to be entirely sustainable, but what are some ways you try to be conscious in your collections?
We have reworked most of our packaging away from plastic to paper and fabric, including even our ribbons. Since embroidery and hand beading is a large part of Indian couture, there is a presence of plastic in them, which, with product innovation should be eased out over the next couple of years. My designs are elegant and luxurious but also practical and timeless. RM clothes can be mixed and matched and worn in different ways according to the occasion.
When was the first time a celebrity wore an outfit designed by you?
Karishma Kapoor had worn an ivory lehenga and belted jacket, styled by Isha Amin, which has been our signature silhouette over the years. The embroidery on it consisted of our signature geometric artwork. Karisma has always had flawless style and this was a big deal for us at RM.
Which has been your favorite styled look on a celebrity?
During Diwali 2020, Deepika Padukone was styled by Shaleena Nathani in our signature ivory sharara and belted peplum kurta. This look revived the spirit of our festive demand during the pandemic. Other looks I’ve loved – Our red belted beaded lehenga sari on Madhuri Dixit and our blush pink Sharara set Kiara Advani styled that she wore recently. I’ve also loved our label on Karisma Kapoor yet again.
How do you see the fashion industry evolving post the pandemic?
I think the focus will be on sustainability and less on fast fashion. The era of influencers is here and will continue, as will the impact of digital marketing. I believe there might be fewer physical fashion shows and the focus largely will be diverted to online outreach.
Luxury collections might be less frequent and styles might be more timeless. The customer has become more discerning and the looks have become more versatile. Today’s bride is looking for fewer frills and more style.
What are some changes you’ve seen in your own brand in the last 2 years?
I’ve seen the sharara develop into a signature timeless Ritika Mirchandani trademark style. Customers are embracing my belted silhouettes and clean lines. The digital push over the last two years has resulted in the overseas market welcoming my brand in markets like the USA, the UK, and other European & Southeast Asian countries. I feel blessed to be amidst all this. Weddings are more intimate and customers are liking our fuss-free and versatile silhouettes.
What is your process and motivation while designing?
My inspiration lies in the evolution of art history. From cubism to art nouveau and Art Deco our collections have been inspired by different periods in art history. Our signature geometric artwork has always been from one of these eras. Our autumn-winter 2021 collection which is yet to be released had been inspired by Art Deco – think, the vibe of the Roaring 20’s and the Great Gatsby. Art Deco pattern is known for its precise and clear lines, geometric shapes, and patterns which are implemented on the surface or attached to a structure, it is also characterized by rich colors, bold geometric shapes, and lavish ornamentation.
How has the rise of social media helped you as a brand?
The rise of social media has given my brand a strong sense of visual identity all the while connecting me with a wider audience throughout the world. It has opened gates by not limiting to a particular city or country, but to the entire world.
What would be your advice to young designers trying to make it in the industry?
I would advise young designers to give as much importance to the business aspect of fashion as much as they would focus on design. I struggled with that initially and over time I realized that the importance of a strong structure in business goes a long way. Additionally, it’s vital to create your own signature which stands out in a market that is currently so saturated. Following trends in creating collections is great but a strong signature style defines a brand’s identity in a deeper way.
What do you as a brand stand for?
Ritika Mirchandani as a brand has always delivered luxury without any compromise and I feel all these celebrities have done justice to portraying exactly that. Be it a decked-up white sharara worn by Deepika or a red lehenga worn by Madhuri exuberating timeless elegance; be it a fresh makeup look of Kiara or fun & young look of Ananya or even a sophisticated sober look of Karishma. They all portray the essence of Ritika Mirchandani.