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RCS Designs – Super Sherwani’s
By Dal Chodha
When someone tells you that Savile Row is coming to East London’s Green Street, it’s hard not to wonder if they aren’t taking the piss. “We have Saville Row fabrics at Green Street prices!” Sheetal Jethwa, one half of the husband and wife duo behind RCS Designs, pronounces defiantly, while clutching her newborn daughter, Ridhi–Megha.
RCS Designs came into being almost by default. Having had difficulty finding anything that fulfilled what both Chetan and Sheetal Jethwa wanted for Chetan’s wedding ensemble, they quite simply “put pen to paper” and started designing themselves. “We did our rounds in the UK first. We went up to Manchester, Birmingham, Leicester where I am originally from, Southall, Ealing Road - the lot, just looking for Chetan’s outfit.” The pair then made the decision to take their own designs to India to get them made up, as shopping in the UK for the right grooms outfit proved all to traumatic. “First of all we couldn’t find a shop that would give us a personalised design service, which was something we wanted. Secondly, the designs were all dated and thirdly, they were more interested in selling something to me than to Chet!” Sheetal recounts.

It was after returning from their honeymoon, that a member of the family joked that they would make good menswear designers, “we laughed it off until we went to India in 2006 and an opportunity arose to buy a share in a factory out there and now we part own a factory in India.” They began trading from home in March 2006, “initially with about 20 outfits and as interest gained momentum, we got more in and then eventually we had about 250 sampled designer pieces. 80% have been designed by Chet and myself and the remaining were designed by designers working in the factory in India.”

After becoming arguably the biggest stockist of Asian menswear in the UK, things have moved out of their front room. Their first shop opened on Asian shopping haven, Green Street on the 4th August this year and RCS Designs look like they are well on their way to becoming the one stop shop for the Asian groom. Exquisitely designed sherwanis and kurtas line the white walls of their shop, while the grey depression of Green Street looms on the other side of the glass doors. “People come in and then say they will go and have a look somewhere else on Green Street. They always come back to us though,” Sheetal contends. It seems there is no real competition. “There are other people who have seen what we are doing and have tried to do it too. But we like to think we are one step ahead. RCS Designs isn’t for your everyday Green Street foot flow and eventually we want to offer a whole service for grooms.” 
The sherwanis on sale at RCS Designs are unlike any others on the market. Partly due to Chetan’s “thinking outside the box” mentality. “With a lot of the guys we serve, it’s the first sherwani they have ever worn,” Chetan says. “The biggest problem we are facing is that the guys compare the fit to a suit. It will never fit like a suit, just purely because of the way it’s made.” With the absence of vents in the back and the straightness in the cut from under the arm, the fit of a sherwani is certainly something, which takes getting used to. “We adjust the lengths and things, again thinking outside of the box because traditionally sherwanis are supposed to be 7” below the knee. There is quite a lot of criteria to the sherwani, but here, if you want it higher you can have it higher,” Chetan affirms, highlighting the tailor-made service offered at the shop.

Husband, wife and new baby – who is in the driving seat at RCS Designs? “We argue a lot more because the time we spend together in the shop has increased!” Sheetal guffaws. “Being in each others faces, tempers flare and it’s not easy, but we are doing it for our daughters future.” Sheetal concludes, “It’s fun too and most of all, it’s satisfying.”

RCS Designs is located at 119 Green Street, Forest Gate, London, E7 8JF. Tel:

Designer wear sherwanis cost from £375 upwards, with a minimum of eight weeks required for delivery. Ready-made pieces are available priced between £40-£195.
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