Beyond designing, Ritu Beri eyes lifestyle space

New Delhi, Aug 2 (IANS) She is one of the rare names in the Indian fashion fraternity whose international presence and impact are wider than at home. Now designer Ritu Beri wants to spread her wings by opening lifestyle boutiques to cater to everyone's needs under one roof.

"My dream is to open lifestyle stores all over the world. I want to cater everything that a person needs - from clothes, accessories to footwear, perfume and food. I want to start everything under one roof," Beri told IANS in an interview.

She is currently meeting people to translate her dream into reality and says: "Hopefully, one day that's what I will be doing."

Beri has made a mark with her chic apparel.

From showcasing at the prestigious Paris Fashion Week to dressing up notable international celebrities such as Bill Clinton, Prince Charles and Nicole Kidman, the designer's journey is a perfect representation of Indian fashion's inroads into the worldwide fashion scenario.

Beri sells her creations through boutiques in France and Germany and a store in New Delhi. Any plans of entering retail tie-ups?

"My work is my passion and I do everything in a way that I actually enjoy doing it. So I want to get into retail, but in a very organised way. For me, the whole concept of retailing has to be done in a scientific way," she said.

A graduate of the National Institute of Fashion Technology, the designer launched her label in India in 1990.

She became the first Indian designer to present a show in Paris, where she successfully launched her first luxe collection in 1998. Her gradual success led her to be named by Time magazine among the People to Watch in International Business.

Though the Indian fashion industry has grown by several notches over the years, Beri believes there's still time before "we can say our fashion world has come of age".

"We haven't made a place (internationally) yet. But we have definitely worked hard enough and that's why we are being noticed. I agree people are looking at India positively, but I think it is too premature to say that we have made a mark in the international arena," she said.

For now, the designer is back for business in India with a show at the Lakme Fashion Week, which kickstarts in Mumbai Friday. She last participated in the extravaganza in 2009 and has associated with Volvo for her comeback show.

She blames her hectic work and travel schedules for the gap, but is glad she was available for the event this time.

Beri, who is married to businessman Bobby Chadha, is also mother to a five-year-old girl. She says her daughter is already an aspiring designer.

"The Indian fashion industry is growing manifold and this is the reason why there are many kids who want to become designers. My five-year-old already aspires to be one," she said.

(Nivedita can be contacted at nivedita.s@ians.in)