Almost 18 months ago, Italian Group Zegna had partnered Reliance Brands and Reliance Industries Group to purchase 12.5 per cent in Raghavendra Rathore’s Future 101 Design, the parent company of Raghavendra Rathore Jodhpur Brand. Since then, Zegna has been gaining greater insights into the lucrative but tricky Indian market, where it has only three stores despite its 10 years in the country.
India has been in many a luxury brand’s sights over the past two decades, but its lack of retail infrastructure, high import tariffs and the unique cultural demands on menswear have proved difficult for many European brands. Alfred Dunhill, for example, left the country in 2012 after six years.
With men’s formal tailoring worn by celebrities like actor Saif Ali Khan and Virat Kohli, captain of India's national cricket team, Rathore, is known for his signature bandhgala and jodhpur breeches, both items closely tied to the royal history of the Rajasthan city of Jodhpur — which also happens to be Rathore’s history. The Zegna investment, has allowed him to open more stores across India. He is now considering international expansion.