Reliance Brands Limited (RBL) has announced a 60:40 joint venture partnership with designer Rahul Mishra for a new, yet-to-be named brand. Delhi-based Mishra, known for incorporating traditional Indian textiles and handmade artisanship in his work, is the first Indian designer to make it to Paris Couture Week. RBL, that falls under Reliance Retail, markets dozens of foreign fashion brands in India and has inked deals with several Indian designers in the recent past.
The JV, executed either by RBL or through its affiliates, will launch a ready-to-wear brand.
Mishra will lead the company as the creative director. The brand will have accessories, footwear, home, beauty, and jewellery collections. This is a new joint venture and Rahul Mishra Couture will continue as separate business of the designer.
The intent is to have a global footprint with flagship stores at fashion capitals around the world in the next five years under this brand, the company said. The first store will be both online and offline "and in all probability be in an international fashion capital, perhaps, London, New York or Dubai," Darshan Mehta, managing director, RBL, told Mint.
“Rahul Mishra’s flawless contemporary design sense and stunningly intricate pieces have spotlighted Indian expertise in crafts globally. Accompanied with his expertise in leveraging international fashion forums to accelerate brand building and creating a global customer base, it’s the perfect secret sauce to co-create a global brand. It’s a strategic part of our ongoing commitment to nurture Indian art and culture,” said Isha Ambani, director at Reliance Retail Ventures Limited which is the holding company of all retail companies in Reliance Industries Limited group.
In January 2020, Mishra became the first Indian designer to showcase at Paris Haute Couture week, RBL said. He has, through the past five seasons at the couture week, focused on environment, employment and empowerment in his collections.
His brand made its debut at the India Couture Week in 2015. His couture label has two flagship stores in India. In 2014, Mishra became the first Indian to win the Woolmark Prize at Milan Fashion Week.
Mishra has an international footprint retailing at stores like Colette in Paris, 10 Corso Como in Milan, Harvey Nichols in London, Saks Fifth Avenue in New York, David Jones in Australia, Joyce in China, and Moda Operandi and Farfetch with online retail.
“We are excited to have the opportunity via this JV to partner with Reliance Brands that brings with it a strong know-how in management of the luxury and retail landscape. It has been our desire to equally focus on ready-to-wear business and extend our universe by democratising the fashion cultivated by us," Mishra said.
“There have been many conversations for the last couple of years regarding investment in our brand. My (other) brand, Rahul Mishra Couture will always remain my lab that nurtures the fountainhead of our creativity in all its different forms of expression. Our Indian and western-wear brands have always had great synergy coming from the same DNA,” he added.
In December, the Reliance Retail subsidiary had tied up with couturier Anamika Khanna in a similar 60:40 joint venture to own and develop the designer’s ready-to-wear AK-OK brand selling chic skirts, dresses and pants. In October, Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd had acquired a majority stake in legacy couturier Ritu Kumar’s Ritika Private Ltd. RBL also has equity investments in Indian couture brands Manish Malhotra and Raghavendra Rathore.