If you follow the Bollywood movie industry, you’ll most likely have heard of Rahul Kanada and his company RRK Designs. The Indian-born entrepreneur is arguably most responsible for the current explosion in popularity of hand-stitched leather products as the company he founded in 2007 made it possible for people to buy quality items made by artisans in India. In this interview, we’ll discuss what drives him, his business philosophy, and the impact he’s had on the luxury leather goods industry. We also asked some of our favourite products from RRK Designs and why.

Early Life And Education

Rahul Kanada was born in Mumbai, India in 1970. He grew up in Canada and moved to the UK in the ‘90s where he acquired a degree in textile engineering from Roehampton University. After working for a number of high-profile companies, Kanada started his own textiles business in 2001 and began approaching industry bigwigs to see if they would be interested in acquiring his designs. At the time, textile design wasn’t something many investors were looking to get involved with so Kanada started up a company of his own to offer pre-made fabrics with his design imprint.

In the course of researching this article, we came across an interesting infographic about the earliest forms of costume and fashion. It’s worth a look if you’re interested in the topic.

How Does His Design Philosophy Influence Business And Fashion Purposes?

While in the process of founding RRK Designs, Rahul Kanada came up with the following criteria for the quality of a hand-stitched leather product:

  • Genuine leather,
  • Correct grain flow,
  • Even application of the leather,
  • Attention to detail, and
  • Hand stitched.

These are all important factors in creating a luxurious product, but perhaps the most significant one is the last one: hand-stitched leather. Kanada realised that machines could never replicate the complex patterns that could be created by a trained hand so he decided to place an emphasis on the artisanship of his products as much as possible.

The entrepreneur has been widely criticised for valuing craftsmanship above all else, which is why a lot of his products have a traditional Indian aesthetic to them. The main reason behind Kanada’s choice of design is that it makes use of genuine leather, which is more durable than synthetically produced varieties. Another important consideration is that Kanada creates designs that are aesthetically pleasing to the eye so that even the most casual fashionista can get on board with the idea of owning a leather product with his design on it.

One of the earliest and arguably most influential designs created by RRK Designs is the messenger bag. This bag has been spotted on A-listers for years now and continues to be a firm favourite with fashionable individuals. The craftsmanship and attention to detail behind the making of this bag is exceptional, which is one of the reasons it has become such a popular choice.

The Rise Of RRK Designs

Prior to 2007, most hand-stitched leather products were available only in small quantities and were rather expensive. That is because few manufacturers could produce such high-quality items in large quantities. This changed with the advent of modern-day rapid-prototyping technology, which made it possible to create custom designs on a smaller scale and at a more affordable price point. With this new technology, individuals could create their own designs and share them with others via social media websites like Reddit and Facebook.

In early 2007, Kanada decided to give it a go and uploaded his design for a mobile phone wallet to a Facebook group for designers. One of the members of the group, Chris Beck, recognised Kanada’s talent and reached out to the entrepreneur to see if he could help him source the leather for a new product that Beck was planning to bring to market. In the process of designing the messenger bag, Kanada ended up sourcing the material from a tannery in Germany. He also provided the stitching and the hardware.

After the success of the messenger bag, Kanada began working with Beck and a third member of the design group, Jonathan Anderson to create a whole collection of hand-stitched leather items. This collection consisted of a hand-stitched wallet, belt, and two separate messenger bags. The brand’s distinct design aesthetic and ability to produce high-quality leather products at more affordable prices made it a hit amongst design fans and social media stars alike. Since then, the brand has continued to grow and expand its product range, releasing a women’s briefcase, a satchel, a day bag and even a rollerball pen made from leather.

One of the most exciting aspects of a brand such as RRK Designs is its ability to constantly evolve with the times. The company has been responsible for a number of design classics over the years but continues to produce new items that it judges to be of high quality and suitable for its target audience. Kanada personally designs all of RRK’s products and selects the materials used in each item so he can ensure they are of the highest quality.

The CEO of RRK Designs is a man who believes in constantly evolving with the times and using innovative technology to make products better and more efficient. Kanada’s philosophy is certainly reflected in his work and the company he started. As we’ve established, the entrepreneur strongly values traditional craftsmanship and a high degree of personalisation when it comes to the products designed by RRK Designs. The best way to learn more about this fascinating man and company is through their annual reports and other SEC filings. You can also follow them on Twitter, where they regularly share insightful business and design-related tidbits.