Hidesign – Rebel to a Mainstream luxury brand

It goes without saying that most women love their handbags and purse. A good handbag is said to generate a feeling of self-confidence in a woman. A woman generally feels comfortable and complete when she has a bag to go with. As she steps out in style, a woman’s handbag becomes her signature piece, an extension of her identity as well as a fashion statement.

Hidesign, an Indian brand has carved a niche place in the affordable luxury handbags market that caters to savvy, sophisticated and urban professionals.

Hidesign Logo

An artisan workshop


In the year 1978, Dilip Kapur, a Pd.D in International Affairs from the University of Denver, with a passion for designing leather goods, started an artisan workshop in Pondicherry. With a seed capital of Rs 25,000, along with one worker he started crafting leather goods using natural vegetable tanning processes.

Hidesign history

The leather bags stood out as niche products, differing from the mass produced leather goods and soon began to be noticed by foreign travellers to Pondicherry, who would buy Hide design products and take them back to their respective countries. Thus Hide Design (as it was then called) started out as an export-oriented company, with its goods selling into alternative shops in the US and Australia.

Being a product out of the mainstream, Hide Design came to be sold mainly in the independent stores in UK, and became a counter culture icon. The name was later changed from Hide Design to Hidesign.


Emerging as a mainstream luxury brand


The perception of Hidesign changed from an alternative brand to a mainstream luxury brand, in 1992, after its Boxy Bag won the ‘Accessory of the Year’ award from the elite Accessory Magazine, in UK. Princess Diana had presented the award. 

Hidesign award wiining campaign
In 2000, Hidesign launched its award winning campaign both in Europe and India.

Until 2000, more than 90% of Hidesign was sold only abroad, but the year 2000 saw Hidesign selling into the Indian market. Hidesign opened its own stores due to the lack of distributors who would understand their products.

Collaborating with various internationally acclaimed groups such as  Louis Vuitton, Hidesign executed its  growth and expansion strategy, and entered into a joint-venture with Future Group.

In 2010, Hidesign launched its multistory flagship store in Pondicherry, one of India’s largest concept stores to be set up by a luxury brand, which houses a  Hidesign museum.  



Eco friendly and Natural brand of leather


With three design teams based in Milan, London and Pondicherry, creating styles with contemporary edge,  hidesign manufactures handbags, men’s bags, travel bags, laptop bags, duffel bags, wheelies, briefcases and accessories like belts, wallets, purses, card, passport holders, and even now sunglasses and pens. 

Hidesign classic bags

The individually handcrafted leather goods produced in limited editions have distinctive appearance with clean silhouettes. The use of full grain, vegetable tanned leather renders a natural look and enhances the intrinsic characteristics such as strength and durability.

Hand crafted and hand finished, solid brass buckles, made using traditional methods of sand casting methods are used in place of electroplated Zinc alloy fittings.  

Known for its elegance, quality and craftsmanship, Hidesign has grown from its artisan roots to an international brand with distribution network across more than 20 countries and has achieved a balance between the international and domestic market.

Thus, one man’s passion transformed a two-man artisan workshop of edgy, alternative leather bags into the iconic leather goods brand Hidesign.


Says founder Dilip Kapoor, who is passionate about his brand.

I want our brand to be relevant and one that improves the lives of those who use them and makes them happy. We want to stay natural and ecological.’



Something that Hidesign could perhaps improve upon is to handle minor repairs locally at the place of purchase. The last time I had asked for a minor repair in Mumbai, I was told that all repairs are handled at Pondicherry, which takes a much longer time as compared to getting it done by the neighborhood cobbler than from the Hidesign outlet.


Image credit : Website and Twitter timeline of Hidesign

If you believe that any image used on this site infringes your copyright, please inform and it will be removed.


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  • author's avatar

    By: Somali K Chakrabarti

    Hi there ! I am a management and leadership coach and a ‘çlinical blogger’. Well, that’s what my family & friends call me now ! Here, I tell stories of different brands, how people relate to the brands and the values, beliefs and emotions that they associate with the brands. Hope you enjoy reading my posts.

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14 thoughts on “Hidesign – Rebel to a Mainstream luxury brand

  • August 5, 2015 at 4:57 am

    Another interesting story, Somali. I had no idea that Hidesign is originally Indian. I used to think it’s Italian. 😛 🙂 thanks for enlightening.

  • August 5, 2015 at 7:30 am

    An absorbing story about the evolution of Hidesign from its artisan background to a mainstream luxury brand .

  • August 5, 2015 at 7:24 pm

    Great story behind the brand…the products are highly priced though… 😀

    They have quite a number of exclusive stores in almost all the malls here.

  • Pingback: 3 Paradoxes of Entrepreneurship – Scribble and Scrawl

  • August 7, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    Great story Somali .. I too used too think the brand as foreign ! 😛 😛 Its interesting to know that they are using vegetable tanning process to dye these.

    • August 7, 2015 at 3:05 pm

      Thank you Kokila. For a long time I too thought that it is a foreign brand. Btw Da Milano too is an Indian brand. 🙂

  • August 11, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    Never knew its genesis and worldwide market. Thanks for sharing this story. Our country is filled with men with great vision.

    • August 11, 2015 at 2:18 pm

      True Saru. The story of how Hidesign developed from a hobby into a full fledged business is very inspiring.

  • August 28, 2015 at 7:44 am

    Most people visiting Pondicherry get surprised to know that the origin and the corporate headquarters of the brand happen to be there. Well covered.


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