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Meet Ritu Beri, India's first designer to head a French label

Last updated on: July 16, 2013 16:55 IST

Meet Ritu Beri, India's first designer to head a French label

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Salil Jayakar, Careers360

Her love for taking risks and following her heart always helped Ritu Beri achieve success. The international fashion designer shares the inspiration behind her career decisions.

The first Indian designer to launch her luxe collection in Paris, Ritu Beri was also the first Asian designer to head French fashion brand Scherrer.

A graduate from the National Institute of Fashion Technology, Beri knitted a sweater and wore it to her NIFT admissions interview.

Of all the experiences, the designer claims that working with the late French embroidery maestro François Lesage was an education in itself.

In this interview, she tells us what inspired her to pursue a career in fashion, the decisions that shaped her life and how success comes at the price of rejecting norms.

Did you always want to pursue fashion?

I always wanted to be a doctor. However, when I was young, I spent more time musing over how the wardrobe of the medical team should look rather than more noble and gory aspects of the trade.

Mentally, I was always designing the doctor’s overcoat with an interesting pocket detail for his stethoscope.

My mind would buzz with designs for the nurses, starched headgear and improvisations for their apron.

It didn’t take me long to figure out that this was my calling.

Do you remember your first assignment as a designer?

I was intrigued by fashion design. I could not draw, so I hand-knitted a sweater and wore it for my NIFT interview to show how it would look.

I was accepted into the fashion session of India’s fashion institute, NIFT and from there, with thanks, to the rest of the world.

Ten woollen balls and knitting needles -- a recipe for my success!

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Image: Ritu Beri
Photographs: Courtesy Careers360.com

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'Working with Francois Lesage was an experience worth a lifetime'

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Tell us about your first salary

I have worked with Francois Lesage (French designer) and that experience was worth a lifetime.

What inspires / motivates you?

I love my work and enjoy most doing challenging projects that are out of the box.

When working for yourself, you are working 24x7.

I try my best to find a balance between achieving all at work and spending time with my daughter, Gia, and family.

Were you afraid of being rejected as a designer? How did you deal with it?

I love taking risks and like to follow my own chosen path. I try to be a perfectionist and aim at achieving the impossible, always.

My work is greatly influenced by my personal state of mind.

I love to explore the impossibilities and work in an inspired mode while mostly designing to satisfy myself.


Image: Ritu Beri with Jesse Randhawa
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com

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Meet Ritu Beri, India's first designer to head a French label

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Your advice to youngsters today wanting to get into design?

Youngsters today have more opportunities. Those who want to make it big must think big and be hugely experimental. There should be no limits and they must must push the envelope!

Your take – choose a career that pays or one you love?

I have always done what I love to do. And the result to it is my presence as an international designer.

Whatever I felt I had to go for it, I never cared for the result. It is always the effort.

Finally, what does it take to be successful in any field?

For a successful career, one should be self-motivated and have full confidence in themselves even if it includes breaking norms. In order to do so one might have to stand away from the rest.


Image: Ritu Beri is applauded at the end of her show for Scherrer's spring/summer 2003 ready-to-wear collection in Paris, 2002
Photographs: Jack Dabaghian/Reuters

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