W Power 2024

Vishesh Khanna: Offering fresh and edgy take on luxury apparel

In collaboration with brother Viraj Khanna, Vishesh Khanna started AK-OK. The pret brand is an extension of the high-end luxury label Anamika Khanna

Published: Feb 27, 2024 12:05:51 PM IST
Updated: Feb 27, 2024 12:17:46 PM IST

Vishesh Khanna: Offering fresh and edgy take on luxury apparelVishesh Khanna, Co-founder, AK-OK Image: Amit Verma; Directed By: Kapil Kashyap Outfit: Saggar Mehra; Styled By: Aarushi Gaur

Vishesh Khanna | 28
Co-founder, AK-OK

The brand name AK-OK originated from A-OK, originally an astronaut’s term for all systems OK. But in the context of this luxury ready-to-wear brand, it was coined by the co-founders Vishesh Khanna and Viraj Khanna during a challenging period in their family, when their mother, fashion designer Anamika Khanna, had a health crisis. It signified optimism and acceptance and emerged from the phrase. ‘Don’t worry, everything will be AK-OK’.

“Fresh out of USC in Los Angeles, where Viraj studied business and I studied social science and communication design, we had different perspectives and different energies. That was the time we started having these discussions about what we should be doing next,” says Vishesh. “My mother always wanted to start a brand with us together for clothes that were not bridal.”

Working under the Anamika Khanna label in different departments, the duo identified a gap in the Pret segment. “Recognising the demand for contemporary and edgy fashion, we seized the opportunity to cater to aspirational customers and established AK-OK in 2020,” says Viraj. The brand was conceived as an extension of the high-end luxury label Anamika Khanna.

“The AK-OK garments use high-end fabrics like silks and crepes, depending on the season, and most of our clothes and silhouettes are easy, breezy, and very versatile. They are not defined by any event or occasion,” says Vishesh. The brand offers a fresh and edgy take on luxury apparel, making high-end fashion more attainable for a broader audience.

Vishesh adopts a very experimental approach in his design process. “First comes the part where I think about what I want to say or express in the collection (theme), followed by a lot of research, and then I just follow my research till the end product.” The process is constant, and the three of them are constantly discussing how to be more creative, clear, and coherent with the looks and the stories.

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AK-OK has a retail presence in cities including Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ludhiana, and more. It is also available overseas, in London and Los Angeles.

In 2021, Reliance Brands Limited (RBL) joined hands with Anamika Khanna to own and develop the brand AK-OK. Darshan Mehta, president and CEO of Reliance Retail Brands, says, “The combination of Viraj’s right brain with the left-brained approach of Vishesh is a unique dynamic. Whether it be production planning and finalising the annual operating plan or the positioning of the soon-to-be launched men’s wear collection of AK-OK, they have sharp views that are well thought through.”

Vishesh Khanna: Offering fresh and edgy take on luxury apparel

So, does their fashion designer mother take the final call on AK-OK designs? Vishesh responds, “She offers her input, but there is no restriction on anything that we want to put out there. We have complete freedom to take any decision.”

(This story appears in the 23 February, 2024 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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