Why RR Blue, the latest males’s label launched by the Rajasthani designer and backed by Reliance, determined to go low-key
Amid the numerous new vogue labels launched or introduced within the latest 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, nearly 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’s geared toward bringing the Rathore aesthetic to a wider viewers. However that’s 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 believed it was a lookalike model, a duplicate. However when I discovered it retailing on Rathore’s personal web site, I reached out to the designer. “The blueprint for RR Blue got here into being nearly 4 years in the past when Reliance got here into the image,” he stated over the telephone from a jungle retreat. “We have been ready for the proper time… and seeing the rise of on-line retail over the course of the pandemic, it appeared like the best second to check 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.
Making an attempt a brand new technique
Based on Rathore, the RR Blue model is aesthetically an extension of his bespoke vogue label, and an enormous launch would result in overlaps in design that would probably muddy the waters. This can be a new sentiment to come across in a quickly increasing market house the place established designers are nearly too able to capitalise on their model signatures. And why shouldn’t 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 consumers who might not have the pockets for couture, however have the style and want for well-designed RTW from the identical commemorated homes.
Not so for Rathore. “We wished to keep away from overlapping the seems to be, silhouettes, and storyboards that we construct for our premium model,” he stated, and added that he sees the RR Blue model as offering on a regular basis vogue for individuals who already put on Rathore. The collections to date function cotton, silk, and blended materials, and usually are not marketed on their textiles significantly. The prints, developed in-house, are patterned and straightforward to pair with quite a lot of separates and lowers. “It’s extra about giving Rathore wearers their staples so their present wardrobe can get common updates. This is the reason we aren’t doing hyper-seasonal collections. We’re concentrating on smaller drops of simpler shirts, kurtas, and pants…we’re doing prints and together with less complicated cuts in order that the garments can slot in with bespoke Rathore items.”
And when on-line will get loud?
Being retailed solely on-line, although, this reasoning could appear counter-productive. In spite of everything, on-line availability opens the model as much as all consumers, and plenty of might not have bespoke Rathore designs to start with. And by Rathore’s personal account, even with out the blowout of a full-scale vogue launch, the response to RR Blue’s on-line retail has seen surprising progress inside these few months. “It’s been a really nice shock,” he stated. With kurtas starting at ₹5,999 and the extra design-forward achkans going as much as ₹59,999, this isn’t information. However 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 when it comes to manufacturing, similar to the Aditya Birla group does for SN by Shantanu and Nikhil in addition to TT’s Tasva.
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 holding his management on manufacturing brings Rathore an a variety of benefits as nicely. As doesn’t having any plan to open bodily shops but. Smaller manufacturing portions are simpler to handle, whereas additionally permitting his design crew to introduce newer types extra steadily. It provides the designers and merchandisers the time, and with it, the info, to grasp their market and what works for it. The web 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 threat.
What can be actually fascinating to see, although, can be how Rathore and Reliance interact with RR Blue’s progress trajectory. In lay phrases, intentionally and slowly shouldn’t be how Reliance often does issues. I’m desperate to see whether or not this cautious method, distinctive proper now for RR Blue being the one corporate-backed model that’s practising it, results in constructing a label that’s each unique in its designs and accessible in its worth factors… with out evolving the marketing strategy to incorporate extra factors of sale.