An American Sojourn

Nachiket Barve and Rahul Mishra are the first Indians to have their work available on America’s premier designer dress rental website.

Written by VIDYA PRABHU | Published: April 27, 2013 11:42:31 pm

Nachiket Barve and Rahul Mishra are the first Indians to have their work available on America’s premier designer dress rental website.

Last October,a few days after he had showcased his Spring-Summer 2013 collection at Wills India Fashion Week (WIFW) in Delhi,Nachiket Barve had some visitors in his studio. “Designer Bibhu Mohapatra,along with members of Rent The Runway,came down to browse through my work,” recalls the Mumbai-based designer. The team,which represents America’s premier designer dress rental website,placed an order with Barve for his SS ’13 line. “This is an important order for us as Rent The Runway has an immense reach within the US,” explains Barve.

Founded in November 2009,the New York-based website offers people across the US over 25,000 dresses and accessories by over 165 designers,including leading international names such as Badgley Mischka,Vera Wang and Calvin Klein. Apart from selling designer apparel and accessories,its business model allows people to rent these high-end designer items on a four- to eight-day-basis. The order having been placed last season,garments from Barve’s SS ’13 collection are now available on Rent the Runway.

However,Barve isn’t the only Indian name to enjoy this distinction: Mumbai-based Rahul Mishra’s designs have also recently been on the website. For him,too,the selection process was similar.

Both the designers have produced capsule collections for the site,comprising four styles each. Their outfits — an array of sheath,shift and maxi dresses — have a bright and summery feel. So while Barve has worked with hues of fuchsia and turquoise blue,Mishra’s line has cheery yellow,spunky black and white,as also shades of blue and white.

The response has been encouraging. Mishra points out that even though the website primarily deals in rentals,it chose to purchase the lots from him,as opposed to offering him a commission. “It shows their commitment to our brand,” says the designer,whose dresses command a rental of up to $115 per outfit on the site.

Even as the US warms up to their creations,both Barve and Mishra believe that the concept of designer dress rental websites is still new in India. “Rentals are easier on the pocket,which is their strongest point,” says Mishra. However,he believes that in India’s ready-to-wear segment — both for sales and rentals — ethnic wear (kurtas and churidars) has more takers than western wear. “On the other hand,in the US,sales/ rentals are driven by how appealing your outfit is. As long as it’s a pretty and eye-catching dress,it will attract business — and this is irrespective of the designer or brand,” adds Barve.

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