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February - March 2004


Ritu Beri - First Lady of Indian Fashion

by Rajan Patel

Ritu Beri

She is considered the "First Lady" of Indian Fashion. Not only is she a household name in India, she is one of the first Indian Fashion Designers to boast of pivotal International Acclaim in the World of Fashion Designing. She has just started a Prêt line -- 'Ritu Beri Prêt', which promises to be trendy and premium in quality while being reasonably priced. To ensure that fashion is within the reach of every discerning customer, Ritu Beri also announced the launch of a chain of 'Ritu Beri Prêt' stores in the country. 100 stores are slated to open by August 2004. Rajan Patel gets the gorgeous Ritu Beri to briefly chat about her designing and her future plans.
1. Why the need to do a Prêt Line?

The fundamental parameters for Prêt in India appear to be very strong - a booming economy, rising consumerism, fashion conscious consumer - and most importantly- a very large population of middle-class consumers.

2. Dont you feel that a Prêt Line in a country like India, undervalues a "brand"?

No, for one thing brand equity is established with ready-to-wear. It is important to realize that Value for Money can only be met if production is done in large volumes. This therefore, means a large retail network to start with. Indian prêt today is plagued with high consumer prices due to the fact that the volumes simply do not exist due to very small retailing networks.

3. As a "creative" person, does it feel tough to think "commercially"?
I have always been very conscious of being well dressed and used to design for friends and family. I soon realized that there is a vast chasm between designing on paper and successfully producing a 'Collection.' When NIFT (National Institute of Fashion Technology) opened its doors in 1988 in Delhi, I was among the first batch. In 1990 I launched my own label.
4. Where do you look at yourself after 5 years in the Fashion World?
Yes, I prefer to stick to designing. I hope that in 5 years I'll have achieved my goal of seeing Ritu Beri Prêt stores all over the world.
5. How does it feel to design for Bollywood films?
I have designed for Madhuri Dixit and Preity Zinta for the film, 'Yeh Raste Hain Pyaar Ke' and I would definitely like to do more films.
6. Do you have any plans in the UK at this point in time?
My plans for Ritu Beri prêt stores definitely include the U.K., after India.
7. Tell us more about you and how you chill when not working?
I like to spend my leisure time with family or very close friends. I enjoy reading, traveling and listening to music - I simply cannot do without music!

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