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Ritu Kumar and the Design Revolution #AtoZChallenge 2017

[Tweet “Modern Indian designers have redefined Indian textile tradition with a new approach to traditional skills creating fashion with universal appeal.”]

A bare bones wardrobe

Despite the fact that India has a rich textile heritage, the fashion or couture tradition is fairly new. It may well shock you to know this but the average wardrobe of a woman was supposed to consist of just 5 saris . One she would wear. The other she would wash and hang out to dry. The third would be for sleeping in. The fourth would be a spare one. And the fifth would be a sari she wore for good occasions. You will be happy to know that no woman really followed this rule, but that is all that a woman was expected to really possess in terms of clothes.

The fashion revolution


Luckily things have changed and it won’t be wrong to say that RITU KUMAR was the one who spearheaded the Indian Fashion Revolution.


Since 1969, when she established her first workshop in Calcutta, she has slowly emerged into a leading Indian brand. She has developed her own unique style wherein she incorporates Indian embroideries ( especially zardozi ) and block prints on exquisite colour palettes in silk, cotton and georgette.  Even today the Indian contestants at the Miss Universe and Miss World Pageants are dressed in her ensembles.

Satya Paul with his bright prints in georgette, silk and chiffon has  contemporised the Indian sari . He has a range of Men’s wear too and what I particularly love are his scarves. Recently he has started his own pret label  which I am sure will be as successful as his saris.

Going Forward

Image for Tarun Tahiliani

The first designer to establish a multi-designer boutique has been Tarun Tahiliani with Ensemble. While he is also a fashion designer with his own label, this concept of showcasing several designers under one roof has established him as one of the big names in Indian Fashion.

The industry finally got its seal of approval when the Ministry of  Textiles opened the National Institute of Fashion Technology . This is on the lines of the Fashion Institute of Technology, NY. Since then the Indian fashion industry has seen a proliferation of talent :

Image for Manish Malhotra

Models in Manish Malhotra’s creations

Image for Manish Arora

Models in Manish Arora’s designs

And I could go on and on and on. There are a host of designers like Sabyasachi, Masaba, Payal Singhal and a veritable list of designers from A to Z. And each and every one of them has a design sensibility that is unique yet drawing on the rich heritage of India’s Textile Traditions.

Image for Sabyasachi

Now isn’t this a fantastic new tradition?

Acknowledgements :

Very obviously I’ve taken images from the designers’ own web pages and I do hope I haven’t violated any copyrights or infringed upon intellectual property rights. The intention was only to illustrate how modern designers have incorporated our traditional skills and created a new couture that combines the best of the East and the West. 

Join me and hundreds of other bloggers participating in the #AtoZ Challenge 2017. Linking this up with #Ultimate Blog Challenge and @Blogchatter 

Image for BellyBytes


A granny who always sees the humour in life and tries to do things differently. When others make cupcakes, this granny makes banana fritters. When she’s not busy chasing her grandchildren who love making her run around, she indulges in her passions of reading, writing, meeting friends and watching movies. And somewhere between all this she enjoys travelling and cooking!

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14 Responses

  1. Shilpa Garg says:

    Oh yes, these fashion designers have truly revolutionized the fashion scene in India. The first designer thing that I bought as a gift for my husband was a Satya Paul tie. The naive me (then), selected it without looking at the price tag and got the shock of my life when it was time to pay. I paid Rs 1000+ for it when I had a salary of Rs 7000 per month.
    Shilpa Garg recently posted…Ravaged #AtoZChallenge @AprilA2ZMy Profile

  2. Kalpana says:

    Who decided that women should have only 5 sarees? hmmmmmph. I can understand if it were an economic necessity but otherwise it’s sheer interference.
    These older designers set the stage for the present day where there are soooo many designers with young wearable fashion, using handloom and not so focussed on only the wedding industry.
    Kalpana recently posted…RomanceMy Profile

    • Bellybytes says:

      Must be some cheapskate moron who didn’t want to spend money on his wife!!! Thank God women have more saris and thank God they don’t have to ask any one permission to buy more . ?

  3. You are right they have revolutionised the Indian Fashion Industry though maintaining the indigenous charm. I remember buying a Ritu Wears Outfit from my first salary in Noida ??

  4. Vinodini says:

    I can’t imagine having only five pairs of clothes to wear! I agree it has to be some cheapskate thrifty moron. 🙂
    Vinodini recently posted…Rooting for Respect #AtoZChallengeMy Profile

  5. Parul says:

    You are right about how India designers have really transformed fashion and the meaning for Indians.
    Parul recently posted…R for Running a marathon #AtoZChallengeMy Profile

  6. Amrita says:

    I love their designs but it’s not very affordable nor makes much sense to buy clothes worth lakhs .Probably because I am not so much of a fashion follower.But I love the fact that thet showcase India through their work

  7. Shalini says:

    I remember when I first brought my Ritu Kumar ensemble- I died and went to heaven.
    I love satyapaul sarees n scarves n possess one saree from there.

    Ravanhatha-a unique musical instrument from Rajasthan
    Shalini recently posted…[S] A Summer Palace in Bangalore |#atozchallenge 2017|My Profile

  8. Tina Basu says:

    Ritu Kumar, Manish Malhotra, Sabyasachi have brought a new spotlight to Indian attire and Indian fabrics. I love works of Manish Malhotra & Sabyasachi
    Tina Basu recently posted…Ultimate Chocolate Chip Mug Cake – 60 second eggless mug cake in microwaveMy Profile

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