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Reliance Brands Inks Joint Venture With Indian Designer Rahul Mishra

Designer Rahul Mishra (left) with Darshan Mehta, managing director of Reliance Brands Limited (right).
Designer Rahul Mishra (left) with Darshan Mehta, managing director and CEO of Reliance Brands Limited (right). (Reliance Brands)

Indian couture designer Rahul Mishra has inked a deal with the country’s retail giant Reliance Brands Limited (RBL) to launch a ready-to-wear brand focused on international growth.

RBL has taken a majority 60 percent stake in the new joint venture for an undisclosed sum that will see the brand open flagship stores in major cities within in the next five years.

Mishra, whose aesthetic marries his Indian heritage with European cuts and tailoring, became the first Indian designer to showcase at Paris couture week in 2020 as an invited guest member by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. His namesake couture label is available at two flagship stores in India and through both international and domestic distribution channels.

The RBL deal is aimed at leveraging the designer’s expertise and established prestige to create an as yet unnamed new global brand that will span accessories, footwear, home, beauty, and jewellery in addition to ready-to-wear.

“We have followed Rahul’s journey for years so it was never to my mind a question of whether but when,” says RBL managing director and chief executive Darshan Mehta. “Very often people get into partnerships because they want to tick a box, or to put it crudely, pick up a trophy, but we have spent a lot of time thinking about mutual respect and what we both bring to the table.”

From the perspective of the Rahul Mishra business, “it was very important to back our strengths with a company we can co-create something based on their proven expertise and philosophies,” says Mishra. “The (new) brand will be easy, modern and edgy and I am sure we will create a global universe in very a short time.”

RBL has equity investments in Indian couture brands Manish Malhotra and Raghavendra Rathore. Other companies under the umbrella of RBL parent company Reliance Industries have been investing in or partnering with Indian designer brands in recent years including Anamika Khanna and Ritu Kumar. The deal with Ritu Kumar, for example, was done through Reliance Retail Ventures (the holding company for all Reliance retail companies) which is a Reliance Industries subsidiary. RBL is a Reliance Retail Ventures subsidiary. Mehta says the deal with Mishra could be a portent of further deals to come.

In the India market, RBL has also built a sweeping portfolio of international fashion brand partnerships with companies including Bottega Veneta, Burberry, Canali, Ermenegildo Zegna and Michael Kors. Its physical presence today encompasses 1,596 doors split into 680 stores and 916 shop-in-shops around the country.

Learn more:

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