In a fashionscape often considered to be tricky and impenetrable – what does it take for a fresh idea to become a reality? We’d say a nurturing atmosphere, being educated about the market and the right kind of mentorship; Radha Kapoor Khanna, entrepreneur and fashionista, has placed herself amidst challenges to find solutions for precisely these problems. Whether it’s making investments in budding businesses in India or merging different disciplines of design with innovation, Khanna has a keen eye assimilating talent into the mainstream market and help it grow. Daughter of Rana Kapoor (MD and CEO, Yes Bank), Radha always wanted to veer away from the usual and did her studies in fine arts from The University of Arts, London and Parsons School of Design, New York. It was here that she realized how interdependent different fields of business, innovation, and design are. She also got to understand how a world-class ecosystem can be created to harness design thinking.

Image: Courtesy Radha Kapoor Khanna
Image: Courtesy Radha Kapoor Khanna

In 2013 she launched The Three Sisters: Institutional Office (TTS: IO). The idea was to promote design and innovation across fields such as media, retail, education, and sports. She runs the firm with her two sisters Raakhe Kapoor Tandon and Roshini Kapoor. It is under the aegis of TTS:IO that Khanna has been able to bring the reputed Parsons, Parsons School of Design in New York to India. That’s not all through her venture DOIT Creations, she retails the French luxury brand Longchamp in India.

Longchamp Amazone matelassé
Longchamp Amazone matelassé

Amidst all this giving space to younger minds remains her passion and priority and as an extension of her interest, she launched the Ladies Who Lead in 2019, a networking community for entrepreneurs with Abha Bakaya of AB Network. Khanna wants to ensure that younger minds with innovative ideas have a platform to share and discuss their thoughts, this is what drives Ladies Who Lead; they had their very first conclave this year women’s day.

Radha Kapoor Khanna spoke of Lifestyle Asia India decoding her many talents and what makes India a great market for luxury.

On luxury in India

The consumer behavior is directly proportional to the exposure of both the individual and society. Having said which, due to growing exposure of brands amongst the Indian youth and a higher purchasing power of the middle and upper classes, especially in tier II and tier III cities; India has risen as one of the fastest growing markets for luxury and services. Statistically, India’s luxury spending is on par with that of UAE, far ahead of Turkey, Thailand, and Argentina, and growing faster than Singapore and Australia. Favorable trade and the influx of organized sector in our country are amongst the other significant contributors towards making India one of the most promising markets for international brands.

On bringing Longchamp to India
Image: Courtesy Instagram
Image: Courtesy Instagram

We believe there is a buyer for everything and Indians definitely have the appreciation for detailed work and fine making that Longchamp has to offer.  We wanted to partner with a global fashion brand and were looking for synergies.  When I met the team in Paris, we realized there was a lot of alignment in our vision and what we wanted. Longchamp is completely family-run, and we are also doing things within the family, although we make it professionalized. Its products are universal, simple, sophisticated and cater to a wide audience. While Longchamp is a premium affordable luxury brand, it does not compromise on craftsmanship, creativity, and quality. It remains timeless!

Longchamp Tote bag L Le Pliage
Longchamp Tote bag L Le Pliage . Image: Longchamp

The classic, origami-inspired bag – Le Pliage is definitely one of the hero products. It’s a bag that’s sophisticated, lightweight and can be folded to the size of a paperback book – which is what intrigued people the most. The Amazone collection as a whole, too, did really well because of its snake-skin like design and French finesse.

Since the brand’s presence in the country in 2016, the Indian market has welcomed it wholeheartedly. The response received has truly been a testament of the evolving tastes of a growing luxury market. Out strategy however is to engage with influencers that have a brand fit and voice share with the millennials, and to constantly keep the store as the highlight of our conversations.

On India as a luxury market

The Indian Luxury Market is in a phase of rapid & dynamic growth and there is a substantial increase in the retail presence and consumer awareness of global luxury brands. There are three key filters which I always apply: I focus on the segment and its need in the Indian Market. Secondly, the vision of the brand and its growth plans. And most importantly the core values that the brand stands for – excellent craftsmanship, creativity, design, and sustainability.

On her initiative Ladies Who Lead

Ladies who Lead is an initiative where empowered women come together to share inspirations, network and witness a synthesis of like-minded individuals. The all-day exclusive meet organised in Mumbai recently touched upon the need to aspire, motivate and elevate; bringing together new voices, keynote conversations and insights from a diverse range of female visionaries. The aim of this initiative is to strengthen and celebrate the women around us who, through their grit and determination have made significant changes in their fields. What makes this different is that its an extension of my efforts towards creating a larger eco-system for creativity. A place where young minds come together to connect and generate business possibilities, in which, men are equal contributors.

On her experiences as an entrepreneur

The experience has been extremely fulfilling so far.  As an organization TTS: IO has always focused on incubating and making strategic investments in business’ in the country. Additionally, having worked with women, I have found that they are dedicated, focused, can empathize and can multi-task.
Ladies Who Lead, hence became a natural step for us to create a platform that brings these two together and help us engage in conversations that stimulate growth and celebrates women. This platform has helped us all discover the work being done by some incredible women and truly celebrate each other.

 

Anupam Dabral
Sr. Associate Editor
It was while studying fashion journalism at London College of Fashion that Anupam developed a keen interest in the anthropological aspect of the discipline; for him, fashion only makes sense when seen in the context of its environment. He is always on the hunt for great stories, and in his spare time binge-watches films/shows starring Whoopi Goldberg, Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders.