Raghavendra Rathore launches denim range for small-town India

Raghavendra Rathore might just become the modern-day Levi Strauss of small-town India. The blue-blooded designer, known for his made-to-measure bandhgalas and achkans, has launched a new label, Club J, bringing his signature style to the world of denim.

“We’re looking to design for the smaller towns, because that’s where the aspiration is being built. The response from Calcutta has been great, for example,” says Rathore.

Rathore illustrates the level of customisation that will go into his new project, which is arguably the first time an Indian menswear designer has taken to the masses on this scale.

“We have released a darker coloured denim in Delhi, whereas in Ranchi, the fabric is almost indigo. After going through the feedback, we make changes. Recently, I instructed the design team to reduce the detailing on the buttons,” he says, adding, “This is not possible for a brand like Zara, where the clothes created for Israel are the same ones being sold in India. International labels design for a hemisphere rather a region.”

He admits that unlike his high-end eponymous label, Raghavendra Rathore, he is not looking at the fashion capitals of the world to track trends for Club J. “These clients are younger than my regulars. They are looking for what they see on TV, not what they see in magazines.”

The Club J line, which retails for Rs 3,000 to Rs 8,000, will soon feature a complete accessories section. And Rathore already has more plans on the anvil. Club Jodhpur, an ethnic wear spin-off following the same business plan, will be launched this year during the wedding season.

He reveals, “We will be releasing affordable achkans and wedding trousseau, priced between Rs 15,000 to Rs 35,000. But the designs will be created by the same team that works on the luxury label.”
 

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