Low key entrepreneur Ravi Modi spun a $3.75 billion fortune out of his traditional Indian wear fashion brand Vedant Fashions, amid a rising trend to sport ethnic clothing to special events and as post-Covid environment stokes a desire to party.
When Ravi Modi was hanging around his father’s clothing shop in Kolkata after school and during weekends in the mid-1990s he noticed a big opportunity. While the shop sold jeans, T-shirts, trousers and shorts for men, it didn’t offer any traditional Indian wear. “There was demand but no supply,” says Modi. He tried convincing his father to sell men’s kurtas (loose, collarless shirts) and pajamas (drawstring trousers) but that didn’t work. So when his father was away on an annual pilgrimage in 1996, the then-19-year-old Modi sourced 100 men’s kurta-pajamas sets, selling 80 by the end of the week.
“When my father came back, he was very angry,” recalls Modi, “but when he saw that I’d sold 80 pieces he was happy.” Thus began a foray into men’s ethnic Indian wear that has made Modi’s franchise-based apparel company, Vedant Fashions, a leading player in the wedding- and celebration-wear market for men, women and children, selling 4 million pieces a year. In February, Modi listed 15% of the company on the Indian stock exchanges—the basis of his $3.75 billion fortune that adds him to the ranks of India’s richest this year for the first time.