11 November 1944 |
Amritsar, in Punjab, India
|Education||Lady Irwin College Delhi|
|Awards||Padma Shri 2013|
|Labels||'Ritu Kumar', 'Ri', and 'LABEL Ritu Kumar|
Ritu's designs have been featured by many Bollywood celebrities like Vidya Balan, Aishwarya Rai, Priyanka Chopra, Lara Dutta, Dia Mirza and international celebrities such as the Mischa Barton, Anoushka Shankar and Anna Ivanovic. Since 1994, Ritu has also designed the wardrobes for the Femina Miss India contestants for their participation in international beauty pageants such as Miss Universe, Miss World and Miss Asia Pacific World. Ritu Kumar’s outfits have also been patronized by style icons such as Late Princess Diana and Jemima Khan.
Ritu Kumar has been awarded the Padma Shri Award 2013, the country's fourth highest civilian award for her exceptional and distinguished service in the field of fashion, textile and craftsmanship.
Ritu Kumar was born on 11 November 1944 in Amritsar, Punjab. A native of Delhi, Ritu graduated from Lady Irwin College  in 1964 and did her higher education from Briarcliff College, New York, USA in 1966. The ace designer had a humble beginning in a small village, near Kolkata, in 1960, with a set of hand block printers and two tables and today the business has grown to retail from more than 35 stores across the country. Ritu Kumar is the mother of Ashvin Kumar, the youngest Indian writer/director to be nominated for an Academy Award.
Ritu Kumar is credited as being one of the first Indian designers who was catalytic in bringing a contemporary idiom to several ancient skills and has been a strong force in marketing them to a dynamic modern India. Over the years, Ritu Kumar’s work as a fashion designer has shown a progression, which has matured beyond textile crafts. She has a unique ability to evolve with each collection into creative styling, translating textures and embellishments into refreshingly new and contemporary silhouettes, making her work particularly relevant from India’s fashion point of worldview.
While Ritu Kumar’s forte lies in traditional Indian clothes that draw heavily on the textile and embroidery heritage of India, she has also evolved another style for the young buyer, a collection that in her words has “redefined traditional handwriting to meet the changing needs of the new generation.” The inspiration of these garments is basic Indian motifs, prints and embroideries but with the usage of a wide range of western silhouettes mingled with Indian styles.
Awards and achievements
- Padma Shri Award 2013, the country's fourth highest civilian award for her exceptional and distinguished service in the field of fashion, textile and craftsmanship.
- Achievement Award at the L’oreal Paris Femina Women’s Awards 2012.
- Indira Gandhi Priyadarshini award for her achievements and contribution in the field of fashion.
- "Chevalier des arts et des lettres” (knight of the order of arts and letters) bestowed by the French government for her contribution to Indian textile crafts, and traditional techniques.
- Lifetime Achievement Award by the Kingfisher Group of Industries in 2000.
- Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Institute of Fashion Technology in 1998.
- The Outstanding Women Entrepreneur Award 1998 by the PHD - Chamber of Commerce.
- Delhi Women of the Decade Achievers Award 2013 for Excellence In Fashion Retail by the ASSOCHAM Ladies League.
Revival initiatives and notable words
Since the company was built on patronage of craftsmen, it has made a significant impact in creating employment in underdeveloped areas. Over the years it has patronized several organizations working in these sectors and helped in developing and marketing such products.
In early 1970s, Ritu discovered the embroiders of Ranihati, settlements based outside Calcutta and provided them with a workspace in their own environment. Gradually the craft of Zardozi, which had once flourished in the great workshops of Mughal emperors, was revived to produce bridal outfits and evening wear of great beauty. In contemporizing these skills, Ritu Kumar evolved a unique blend of pattern, fabric and gold embroidery.
In 1999, Ritu Kumar also published a book “Costumes and Textiles of Royal India” which chronicles the history of textiles and art design in India. In 2005, she became a founder-member of All India Artisans and Craft Workers Welfare Association (AIACA), along with Pritam Singh (Anokhi), Laila Tyabji (Dastkar), Madhukar Khera and Fabindia.
Creative expansion - Label
In 2002, the company launched a sub-brand LABEL Ritu Kumar, spearheaded by her son Amrish Kumar. LABEL uses the established forte of traditional Indian aesthetic to create fashion oriented international products. The brand’s charter involves pushing boundaries and forging alliances with design talent across the world to create a unique, sophisticated product. This is aimed at the young, global Indian woman with a contemporary lifestyle. LABEL retails from all Ritu Kumar stores as well as some standalone stores.
- Kumar, Ritu; Muscat, Cathy (2000). Costumes and Textiles of Royal India. Antique Collectors' Club. ISBN 0-903432-55-2.
- Kamra, Diksha (July 24, 2010). "I met my hubby 'coz of my college". The Times of India.
- "Ritu Kumar Profile". ritukumar.com.
- "Ritu Kumar to win the Padma Shri - Times Of India". Articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com. 2013-01-28. Retrieved 2013-09-05.
- "Star studded Femina Women Awards 2012 - Times Of India". Articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com. 2012-03-26. Retrieved 2013-09-05.
- "Ritu Kumar presented ''Indira Gandhi Priyadarshini'' award - News Oneindia". News.oneindia.in. 2007-11-19. Retrieved 2013-09-05.
- "French honour for Ritu Kumar! - Times Of India". Articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com. Retrieved 2013-09-05.
- "Kingfisher Lifetime Achievement Award". IndoGenius. 2013-02-27. Retrieved 2013-09-05.
- "Few designers you must know – Ritu Kumar | Zee Trendz!". Ztrendz.wordpress.com. 2011-10-21. Retrieved 2013-09-05.
- "Ritu Kumar - I am What I Am, Girls Only". Bharatstudent.com. 1944-11-11. Retrieved 2013-09-05.
- "Harmony Org". Harmonyindia.org. Retrieved 2013-09-05.
- Ritu Kumar. "Costumes and Textiles of Royal India by Ritu Kumar - Reviews, Discussion, Bookclubs, Lists". Goodreads.com. Retrieved 2013-09-05.
- Radhika Singh (2010). The Fabric of Our Lives: The Story of Fabindia. Penguin Books India. p. 251. ISBN 978-0-670-08434-0.
- "CNBC-TV18". Moneycontrol.com. 2008-05-13. Retrieved 2013-09-05.