She was my senior at college, Lady Shri Ram; my alma mater. Incredibly smart and chic, she has always been a star! Even back in those days when she was just a teenager. The differentiator was always her confidence and self-assurance. She possessed the wisdom of an old soul. A born winner who scaled the pinnacles of success on her own terms. Some ascending, she did! It was great to delve into the mind of this enterprising lady and get an insight into her life and times. Some excerpts of my recent interview with her.
Who is Ritu? Describe your journey from the bylanes of New Delhi to the international fashion powerhouse that you are.
RB: RituBeri, the person, is very family oriented. She is more of a home bird, loves her own space. She is very chilled out and relaxed. RituBeri, the designer, is a REBEL who loves taking risks and and likes to create her own path.
Today, I have completed a full circle and know what I should do and most importantly what I should not do. In the past twenty five years I have chased my dreams and worked on ambitious projects. I have been lucky to experience the world of fashion in India and abroad which was fabulous! My designs represent my journey as a human being, a true representation of all the influences that I have had in my life; most importantly in India and Paris. I have learnt a lot and evolved tremendously as a designer and even more as a person. It has been a great creative voyage for me!
Describe the pivotal moment when you were absolutely sure that ‘’designing’’ was your calling.
RB: I come from a Defence background. Army parties are very formal, structured & British in their approach to dressing. The environment encourages you to be fastidious about your appearance: my mother is beautiful and is always stunningly dressed. I remember as a child, she lit up the army evenings with not just her looks, but her intrinsic style. I always loved to watch her dressing up. Her pastel chiffons that floated around her and her elegance in pearls and diamonds were her trademark. My father, too, is an immaculate dresser and has a great sense of colors. With such fine examples, I had to be influenced and wanted to dress up everyone like them.
How have you sustained in the fashion industry for so long? Do you have to constantly reinvent yourself?
RB: My work is my passion and I do nothing in half measures. I think big and am always ready to experiment- there are no limits for me. I am a dreamer, enjoy impossible situations and put all my efforts to make challenges a reality. My work is a great moment of dream for me and is greatly influenced by my personal state of mind. I love to explore new possibilities and work in an inspired mode, taking risks and choosing my own path. I try to be a perfectionist and aim at achieving the impossible. There is never a dull moment! Today, I want to take fashion beyond clothes into everyday life.
Can you speak of a high point in your career and also a low one so that our viewers draw inspiration from you?
RB: High points in my life would be Paris and Scherrer. Back then not many Indian designers had done shows in Paris, and for an Indian designer to be heading a French fashion house was an impossible dream. And being featured in one of the best international fashion forecast magazine ‘Promostyl’ is truly memorable. Working with Francois Lesage was a lifetime experience.
I learnt from all my mistakes and they became part of my final achievements. Therefore, I consider them not a struggle so much but a memory of my journey. The key is to give your best in whatever you do.
Is there any project you are working on right now?
RB: Today, more than anything else I am deeply involved in my charity for children, ‘The Blessed Hearts Foundation’ that works to improve and uplift the condition of the less fortunate children. It also works to raise funds for autism. I’m also deeply involved in the creation of ‘The Luxury League’, which is a not-for-profit Global Foundation, established to promote the concept of culture & creativity.
Would you like to enlighten us on the non- profit initiative, The luxury League, that you have launched recently? Will it be beneficial to our artisans and their craft?
RB: ‘The luxury League’ is established to promote the concept of culture & creativity. My desire is to open the Indian doors to luxury brands from various countries and to strengthen the voice of India abroad – the idea is to create an increased pool of knowledge and competence. It will aim at strengthening the influence of India in the Global Luxury industry.
The Luxury League epitomizes the spirit of global creativity, perpetuates traditional artisanal skills and subtly sustains the element of fantasy that Indian luxury has always inspired. It offers its members tools for ensuring future business growth. The purpose is to showcase the creativity of its Members and attract attention to them in the artistic scene globally, through creative interactions and dynamic networking.
What would you have been if not a fashion designer? – I am sure this is an oft-asked question
RB: I always wanted to be a doctor. Complete with stethoscope and a black bag for my medical tools. But I must honestly admit my doctoral ambitions were somewhat thwarted by the fact that I spent more time musing over how the wardrobe of the medical team should look rather than more noble aspects of the trade. Mentally, I was always designing the Doctor`s overcoat with an interesting pocket detail for his or her stethoscope. My mind would buzz with designs for dressing up the nurses; designing starched headgear and improvising their apron, adding frills at the hem. It didn’t take me long to figure out that designing was my calling.
You often sport beautiful vintage jewelry. Do you make them as well?
RB: Yes, I like creating and experimenting with unusual statement pieces of jewelry.
What would you advise our women subscribers?
RB: Don’t shy away from embracing new trends and have confidence to stand up against all the set rules. Have a positive attitude towards life, don’t set limits. Follow your inner self. Follow fashion to boost your confidence and bring joy and happiness to your life.
-All Images provided by RituBeri, Designer.
Written byKakoli Roy
Content Writer, Technical Writer, Entrepreneur, Designer, Travel junkie, Avid reader, Innovator, and Dreamer ! My work has perks because I meet a wide array of people who make my life multi- dimensional. And unshackle me in many ways! Writing is my calling and I live and breathe to write.