Let’s Dress Up the Shirtless Too

On her last visit to New Delhi, Annick Jordi had lunch at Hauz Khas village, an area she loves for its “Boho vibe”. The 41-year-old Swiss entrepreneur and jewellery designer was on a routine business visit to the country of yoga and Lord Krishna, her favourite Hindu deity. An Indophile and businesswoman, Jordi has over the past decade hunted out top-quality gems in Jaipur which she uses in her fine jewellery. She also sources cashmere from Srinagar. In addition, with the help of Indian artisans, Jordi has developed a technique for digital printing on fine silk, which she then combines with pashmina to create one-of-a-kind shawls for sale in Europe. Her jewellery pieces and scarves are designed for European buyers and sold mostly through her company’s website and trade shows in Las Vegas and Hong Kong.

“We love the way Indian craftsmen make gold jewellery look rich and ethnic,” affirms Jordi, co-owner of Geneva-based Bahina Sarl. She is planning to scale up operations in Kashmir, while continuing with her jewellery manufacturing in Rajasthan and Delhi.

Jordi’s enterprise involves local talent in no small measure, and could be what EMS Natchiappan, Union minister of state for commerce and industry, was referring to in his address as chief guest at the Second India Luxury Summit 2014, held last month in Delhi, when he said, “We have got a huge number of artisans who can adapt to any situation and bring out any type of designs, with respect to various patterns of different countries, owing to their inherent capabilities,” adding that all that was required was international exposure.

The luxury industry is growing 30 per cent annually in India, says a KPMG report. With India’s fast-rising count of High Net-worth Individuals (HNIs)—the country’s dollar billionaires grew from nine in 2004 to 55 in 2013—the luxury industry has shown no sign of a slowdown. Currently pegged at $8.5 billion, India’s luxury market is expected to touch $14 billion in just two years, driven by increased spending on high-end apparel, fashion accessories, jewellery, fine dining, home decor, spas, concierge services, hotels and assets such as yachts, art and private jets. This last segment grew 25 per cent in 2012, despite an overall slump of 10 per cent in car sales across India.

Read the rest of this article in Open magazine.

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