Reliance Brands forms joint venture with Indian designer Anamika Khanna

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Reliance Brands Limited (RBL) is partnering with Indian designer Anamika Khanna in a joint venture that will control and develop Khanna’s AK-OK label, with RBL taking a controlling 60% stake in the new company.

The deal does not involve Anamika Khanna’s main line and Khanna will remain as AK-OK’s Creative Director, RBL CEO and Managing Director Darshan Mehta told BoF.

Although Khanna says AK-OK started out as a millennial-oriented concept, the designer – who was one of the first Indian designers invited to present at Paris Fashion Week and has become well known around the house and overseas over the past two decades for designs that merge traditional Indian aesthetics with modern cuts and styling – said it quickly became apparent that the label was not about an age group in particular.

“The way someone thinks at 24 can also be the way someone thinks at 50, so it’s about that mindset,” she said of the line, which includes such products as $ 500 embroidered bomber jackets and $ 350 silk kaftans designed to be worn every day. and night.

This mindset and positioning gives RBL confidence that the label has great potential, not only in the Indian market but also globally, said Mehta, adding that the time has come for more. Indian brands to be visible on the world stage.

“This is an idea whose time is long overdue and we see, as Reliance, a very important and powerful role that we will play… We will do all we can to make this happen,” he said. .

The latest move is part of a growing trend in India for retail giants to invest in local labels, often with a view to post-pandemic growth in their country and international opportunities. In October, RBL took a 40% stake in 16-year-old luxury brand Manish Malhotra for an undisclosed amount, and then a few days later Reliance Retail Ventures Limited (RRVL), another subsidiary of Reliance Industries. , took a majority stake of 52% in Ritika. Pvt Ltd, the company that owns the fashion and housewares brands of Indian designer Ritu Kumar.

Meanwhile, RBL’s retail rival Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail acquired a 51% stake in Sabyasachi brand from Sabyasachi Mukherjee in January, before acquiring a 33% stake in the Tarun Tahiliani’s luxury demi-couture business for 670 million rupees (about $ 9.25 million) in an all-cash deal in February.

RBL has a large portfolio of fashion brand partnerships in the Indian market, with international labels such as Burberry, Diesel, Versace and Tory Burch. It has built a substantial physical retail infrastructure that includes 1,596 doors across 680 stores and 916 shop-in-shops in India.

Learn more:

Reliance Brands acquires 40% stake in Indian luxury label Manish Malhotra

The retail giant aims to make the designer brand of the former Bollywood stylist the world’s leading luxury brand in India.

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