aarké, the ready-to-wear label from the house of Ritu Kumar, aimed at the mid segment, that launched earlier this year, has put out its second collection called Vintage Soiree. The autumn winter ’21 collection is a mix of easy styles and fresh colours, just right for the intimate festivities – subtle and young. Amrish Kumar, managing director and creative director at Ritu Kumar, chatted with us on Vintage Soiree and pandemic learnings.
aarké by Ritu Kumar is accessible, young, and with Indian sensibilities. Drawing its lineage from the brand Ritu Kumar, a heritage design house, we pride ourselves in understanding the Indian woman and have constantly adapted and evolved our design and product offerings. The Vintage Soiree collection has been conceptualised and designed with the same ideology. It is a vibrant mix of comfortable, easy-going and flowy outfits.
What are the hero pieces?
The complete Vintage Soiree collection is a hero. Every piece is as beautiful and elegant as the other.
The collection has festive pieces too. Is it a homage to the undying human spirit that refuses to dim?
More than ever, it is now that the world has witnessed the power of the human spirit. The pandemic has evoked a feeling of gratitude for all that one has and added the importance of little celebrations. Vintage Soiree, with its festive pieces, is a tribute to life, celebration, occasions, festivities and to the youth.
What do the words ‘vintage’ and ‘soiree’ bring to your mind?
For me, ‘vintage’ and ‘soiree’ personify timelessness and celebration. Ritu Kumar as a brand has always been about timeless pieces. The ’AW21 collection from aarké is a beautiful blend of the modern and the traditional.
‘Soiree’ seems ironic too given the present circumstances. Does this collection also have a sense of wish fulfilment or a longing for the soirees we love so much?
This collection is aimed at cherishing small moments in style. We want our customers to feel happy and content with themselves and have a soiree with the self.
How have these few months been for aarké?
In its first few days itself, the brand had to deal with the second wave of coronavirus, but we have still received a lot of love from our customers. We have recently launched our first store in Jalandhar and the response has been overwhelming.
What have Ritu Kumar’s inputs been like?
She has been an integral part of the brand-building and has been involved in each stage of the collection.
With aarké, you have reached the mid-segment. How do you think the middle class is shopping now?
Customers these days are very clear in their heads and they exactly know what they want. We have a great range of products for each segment of customers and we aim to reach as many people as possible with our new season launch. In this season we have introduced a pocket-friendly festive range which will have a steep edge over competition.
What have been the bigger takeaways of such a huge brand like Ritu Kumar and how has that changed business priorities?
With the aarké launch, we have penetrated into Tier-2 cities at a more affordable range. The brand was launched to bridge the gap for affordable designerwear.
What new verticals will the pandemic force fashion to explore?
The pandemic has opened doors to more leisure-cum-work-from-home comfort clothing. The customer now wants easy-breezy outfits on a day-to-day basis and our AW’21 collection is all about that.