Raghavendra Rathore’s quiet RTW model

Why RR Blue, the most recent males’s label launched by the Rajasthani designer and backed by Reliance, determined to go low-key

Amid the numerous new style labels launched or introduced within the current previous — with established designers like Tarun Tahiliani, Ritu Kumar, Anamika Khanna, Masaba, Shantanu and Nikhil Mehra, and others getting company backing — none has been as quiet, virtually secretive, as designer Raghavendra Rathore’s new ready-to-wear model, RR Blue. Backed by Reliance — Rathore’s model obtained joint funding from Ermenegildo Zegna and Reliance in 2018 (one of many first within the nation) — RR Blue is an accessible males’s label that is aimed toward bringing the Rathore aesthetic to a wider viewers. But that is the place the similarities between it and, say, a model like Tarun Tahiliani’s newly-launched Tasva, finish.

A full six months after it began retailing on-line, I chanced upon its Instagram deal with by sheer coincidence. At first, I assumed it was a lookalike model, a replica. But when I discovered it retailing on Rathore’s personal web site, I reached out to the designer. “The blueprint for RR Blue came into being almost four years ago when Reliance came into the picture,” he stated over the telephone from a jungle retreat. “We were waiting for the right time… and seeing the rise of online retail over the course of the pandemic, it seemed like the ideal moment to test the waters.” The Rajasthani designer, recognized for his bespoke bandhgalas and jodhpurs, is fast to level out that he didn’t need a massive launch.

Raghavendra Rathore

Trying a brand new technique

According to Rathore, the RR Blue model is aesthetically an extension of his bespoke style label, and an enormous launch would result in overlaps in design that would presumably muddy the waters. This is a brand new sentiment to come across in a quickly increasing market area the place established designers are virtually too able to capitalize on their type signatures. And why should not they? Designs from labels like SN by Shantanu and Nikhil and Tasva by Tarun Tahiliani are, if something, an entry level right into a design universe for a brand new, and arguably bigger, phase of customers who could not have the pockets for couture, however have the style and want for well-designed RTW from the identical commemorated homes.

Not so for Rathor. “We wanted to avoid overlapping the looks, silhouettes, and storyboards that we build for our premium brand,” he stated, and added that he sees the RR Blue model as offering on a regular basis style for individuals who already put on Rathore. The collections to this point function cotton, silk, and blended materials, and should not marketed on their textiles notably. The prints, developed in-house, are patterned and simple to pair with quite a lot of separates and lowers. “It’s more about giving Rathore wearers their staples so their existing wardrobe can get regular updates. This is why we aren’t looking at doing hyper-seasonal collections. We’re concentrating on smaller drops of easier shirts, kurtas, and pants…we’re doing prints and including simpler cuts so that the clothes can fit in with bespoke Rathore pieces.”

RR Blue ready-to-wear looks

And when on-line will get loud?

Being retailed completely on-line, although, this reasoning could appear counter-productive. After all, on-line availability opens the model as much as all customers, and lots of could not have bespoke Rathore designs to start with. And by Rathore’s personal account, even with out the blowout of a full-scale style launch, the response to RR Blue’s on-line retail has seen sudden progress inside these few months. “It’s been a very pleasant surprise,” he stated. With kurtas starting at ₹5,999 and the extra design-forward achkans going as much as ₹59,999, this isnt information. But the very presence of the model on-line would — ought to — trace at an aspiration for bigger retail numbers. It’s one thing that the Reliance behemoth might simply step into by way of manufacturing, similar to the Aditya Birla group does for SN by Shantanu and Nikhil in addition to TT’s Tasva.

A waistcoat, kurta and trousers from RR Blue

RR Blue although, differs on this side. Rathore’s personal studio and manufacturing services — owned or contracted — tackle the onus of manufacturing and provide. And protecting his management on manufacturing brings Rathore a number of advantages as effectively. As doesn’t having any plan to open bodily shops but. Smaller manufacturing portions are simpler to handle, whereas additionally permitting his design staff to introduce newer kinds extra regularly. It offers the designers and merchandisers the time, and with it, the info, to grasp their market and what works for it. The on-line retail format itself requires a smaller funding than opening a number of shops, and pares down the need for prepared inventory that would pose a danger.

What can be really fascinating to see, although, can be how Rathore and Reliance interact with RR Blue’s progress trajectory. In lay phrases, intentionally and slowly will not be how Reliance often does issues. I’m wanting to see whether or not this cautious strategy, distinctive proper now for RR Blue being the one corporate-backed model that is training it, results in constructing a label that is each unique in its designs and accessible in its worth factors… with out evolving the marketing strategy to incorporate extra factors of sale.

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