Our latest incarnation of Better Than I Was Yesterday with KARU Research founder Kartik Kumra.

Shop the collection HERE

Every element of KARU Research is approached with consideration. Founded in 2021 by Kartik Kumra, the name KARU is derived from the Sanskrit word for ‘artisan’. The brand relies on mechanical, handcrafted manufacturing techniques, mostly in India, that eschew modern computerised practices. Each item is made in limited quantities and represents a contemporary take on Indian tradition.

We spoke with Kartik for our latest version of Better Than I Was Yesterday. You can shop the KARU Research edit here.

Kartik Kumra

Hey Kartik. Where are you answering these questions right now?

From my studio in Gurgaon, India.

Who’s the last played artist or band on your Spotify and what’s the last thing you watched on Netflix?

Last played was LCD Soundsystem and I think the last thing on Netflix was a rewatch of Superbad.

Do aliens exist?

Don’t worry about it. That’s on a need-to-know basis.

What did 10-year-old you want to do when you grew up?

Probably a professional cricketer. Growing up, Sachin was like a god over here.

Who’s on your Mount Rushmore of designers?

Dries Van Noten, Craig Green, Jonathan Anderson and Philipp Plein.

Are you a high school reunion guy or do you leave that shit in the past?

I actually went to my 5-year boarding school reunion a couple of months ago. It was really weird because I used to live with these people and pretty much just moved to a different country and lost touch with most of them. But it was honestly super good to reconnect and it was refreshing how little people had changed relative to how I remembered them.

What’s your favourite piece of clothing in your wardrobe right now and why is it significant?

This is besides KARU pieces, but it’s actually a piece that one of the artisans I work with made. It’s a super slubby, textured handloom cotton shirt that he fully hand stitched. It has a wabi sabi quality to it because all the stitch lines are uneven. It has fabric buttons and some contrast red stitch detailing on the collar. I’ve sent it back to him to dip dye in natural indigo 20 times. It’s not a grail piece necessarily but it has sentimental value.

How important is quality in manufacturing?

It’s the basis of what we do. I think if you ignore the quality to an extent, you’re assuming that the end customer is not aware and it becomes quite apparent. One of the reasons I think KARU has worked is because the customer can justify the value when they look at it on the rack. The textile language, in terms of both the aesthetics and the texture, is unlike anything that’s out there and it’s obvious that a lot of effort has gone into bringing the clothes to life. That’s a function of the master artisans and their expertise and how we are able to bring together what is an extremely fragmented supply chain.

Where do you see KARU Research 10 years from now?

10 years is a long time considering we’ve only been around for 2 and a half. I think it’s super important to stay the course that we’re naturally on. We’ve been able to organically generate a lot of momentum through people liking the clothes and the word of mouth that comes with that. I would like to keep expanding the wholesale business and open up a few of our own brick-and-mortars around the world, but there’s no rush to do that right now.

What’s for dinner?

Standard home cooked food. Some paneer and some bhindi with roti.

And lastly, where’s Chelsea going to finish this season?

I genuinely have no clue with this team. I think a lot of it depends on Nkunku’s return. I would play him up top and let Palmer cook behind him. Maybe we can get Europa then. Not super optimistic.

Cheers Kartik, see you in Paris mate!