You couldn’t have missed it while crossing Camac Street anytime in the past one month but Raghavendra Rathore’s first Calcutta store “officially” opened doors on Sunday evening. The yet-to-open status, however, did not stop a steady stream of shoppers from trooping into the store for the past month, making the designer from Jodhpur a happy man. “The response I’ve got from the store even before opening it is completely unexpected. In terms of recovering money, even the Bombay store is struggling to beat the Calcutta store,” the designer told t2 at an exclusive chat on Saturday afternoon, in between putting finishing touches to the store.
The words that describe the store are precisely the ones that you associate with brand Rathore’s design DNA — simple, classic and understated. Done up in a colour scheme of off-white, black and red, the decor is as no-frills as can be with the collection on the racks being the focal point. “I had designed my first Delhi store myself and all my other stores are replicating the design so that there is uniformity,” adds Rathore.
The 600sq ft space might seem too small for a brand as big as Rathore’s but the designer explains the idea behind the size. “This is not primarily a retail store… the clothes hanging on the racks are samples. Of course, if anything fits you, you are free to pick it up, but essentially one would come here, see the samples and then sit with my design team who will customise the design for you. So the main business happens through interaction with the design team,” he explains.
And customisation is indeed the keyword for Rathore. From buttons to pocket scarves, you can even get your name inscribed on any accessory you choose. “This kind of service makes a place unique and this model makes sense because the trend in fashion is towards a customised wardrobe,” he adds.
The city’s sales figures have been an “eye-opener” for the designer who has a “great regard” for the Calcutta man. After two stores in Delhi and one in Mumbai, this is Rathore’s fourth in India. “It was the first city that gave us the confidence to go national,” he says. It’s the “simple clothing” that has raked in the moolah at the store so far. “Calcutta men like the classic clothing that their fathers and grandfathers wore. They don’t want to be flashy. And they certainly don’t want to have a designer’s signature all over them. In fact, it’s kind of passe to wear an outfit that would scream out a certain designer’s signature,” feels Rathore.