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Fashion designer Kartik Kumra: Always wondered why there wasn’t an Indian brand at global stores

ByShweta Sunny
Jun 23, 2024 11:00 AM IST

After his recent showcase at Paris Fashion Week Menswear Spring/Summer 2025, Kartik Kumra shares his idea and process behind the collection

For the 24-year-old Kartik Kumra, fashion design wasn’t always his calling, but he was curious about it. After launching during the pandemic in 2021 in Delhi, his label, Kartik Research, recently showcased their new collection at the recently concluded Paris Fashion Week Menswear Spring/Summer 2025.

Kartik Kumra(Photo: Instagram)

Post their debut last season at Paris Fashion Week Men’s Autumn/Winter 2024 and becoming the first Indian designer to do so, Kumra shares about this season, “Before the show, it was a lot of work, stress, preparation and putting out fires. Once it was done, there was a sense of relief. Overall, it went really well. People liked the clothes and that’s what we wanted.”

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An Economics graduate from the University of Pennsylvania (USA), Kumra “always wondered why there wasn’t an Indian brand at global stores or platforms”. Bridging the gap and putting Indian craftsmanship on the global map, he develops his menswear collection out of the Gurugam studio without using electricity, which is the brand mantra. He shares, “I always felt like I had a perspective to contribute. So, I started experimenting a bit and that’s how the label was born.”

Models walk the runway from Kartik Research’s Paris Fashion Week Menswear Spring/Summer 2025 showcase (Photos: Instagram)
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His second and recent collection called Delhi Dreaming consists of knits, surface embroideries, patchwork and paisleys with woven textiles and marigolds as accessories. Talking about it, he says, “This season, I wanted to ground it in the idea of uniform and how people find hope within in a conservative environment. In the day-to-day India, you’ve to be conscious of a lot of things. So, I was inspired by how people find escapism from that. I did a documentary photography about people on pilgrimages — how they combine workwear with wooden beads, marigold garlands so that was the main reference point.”

Ask him the story behind his brand name and he says, “Earlier, it was called Karu Research as Karu is how my friends know me as and it comes from the Sanskrit word karigar for artisans. Research because I was doing original research for the new collection. But later, we got into some legal issue, so I had to change it.”

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