The epitome of elegance, Ritu Kumar has lent more than just her name to this fashion brand. Her garments draw insight from the princely clothing of the royal families in India and have helped revive traditional textiles like zardozi (gold and silver thread ornamentation), badla (flattened gold and silver wire) and kalamkari (painted cloth), which had been slowly losing appeal to the mechanized looms of Europe.
In addition to reviving the textile tradition in India, Ritu Kumar also introduced boutique culture to the country. One of the first designers to offer luxury Indian wear to the domestic market, her initiative helped establish the concept of the “high fashion brand” in the Indian fashion industry.
Today Ritu Kumar is a timeless and iconic fashion label known to mix eclectic elements in a palette of hues—majestic maroons, fiery reds—and shades possibly picked up from an Indian spice market. Her chain of standalone and multiformat stores across India showcase clothing that is a vivid representation of her personal style: the fusion of ancient Indian handicraft techniques with a contemporary aesthetic, paying keen attention to silhouette and drape. As a 40-year-old brand, Ritu Kumar honors tradition while remaining relevant in today’s evolving fashion landscape.
But does Ritu Kumar online embrace the same fashion sensibilities while dressing up its virtual space?
The moment you enter the site, the brand showcases a flash intro with images alluding to Indian history and folklore. This is followed by a rollover display of contemporary models in Ritu Kumar clothing. The random exhibition of images with no accompanying text does not radiate any heat; instead, it’s an apathetic introduction to the brand’s online possibilities.
Similarly, the entire site does not echo the brand’s attention to detail and craftsmanship exhibited in its clothing. From aesthetic elements like the font size to design elements like page layout, the brand’s virtual effort resembles unstitched attire with several loose ends.
For instance, in the Company section, the site provides interesting information about the evolution of the brand. For a brand like Ritu Kumar, which is known for its élan, we expect more than just a bland display of content. Perhaps the use of more web design expertise would help present the information in a more stylish manner and make the virtual visit as irresistible as a visit to the offline store.
Currently, the craft collection sub-section and Tree of Life section explain the different handicraft forms adopted by the designer while designing her line. While the content is definitely read-worthy, its presentation lacks finesse. An interactive display where one can zoom in on the photographs to see the styles and details more clearly will make the brand’s virtual shelf display more appealing.