Femina|July 2020

In an insightful tête-à-tête with Ruman Baig, fashion’s newest scion, YASH DONGRE, talks about his entrepreneurial journey, and what’s next for business in the post COVID-19 era

What do you bring to a brand that is already the benchmark for success in Indian fashion?” When Yash Dongre joined his mother, Anita Dongre’s eponymous label as the business head, this was the one question he asked himself. House Of Anita Dongre (HOAD) has always been a family-run enterprise. In the ’90s when the three siblings—Anita Dongre, Mukesh Sawlani, Meena Sehra—started this venture with just two sewing machines, everybody took up different aspects of the business and played to their strengths. This meant the siblings contributed evenly in the success of India’s largest fashion conglomerate. Almost 20 years later, HOAD has five brands under its umbrella—AND, Global Desi, its bridal line under label Anita Dongre, jewelry brand Pinkcity, and the sustainable label, Grassroot. When the young scion was given a seat at the table, he knew he had to earn it. And two years ago, he made HOAD the first and only Indian designer brand to have a standalone bricks-and-mortar store in SoHo, Manhattan, New York, commencing the global journey he envisioned for the label. In a conversation with Femina, he talks about his role in the enterprise, what’s next for the brand, post COVID-19, and how fashion needs to reassess its moves. Over to him:

You’re the business head of the biggest fashion house in India. Was it always a part of your career plan?

I completed most of my education in Mumbai, so I grew up around the business. Even during my school and college days, I used to spend a lot of time in office, so I never really had a backup career plan besides this. This business was something I was always interested in, especially the marketing side of it. This led me to earn a degree in international marketing from Hult International Business School, Boston. I didn’t just take it up because it was my family business, it felt like a natural progression.

Design houses often don’t run on a strict business module in India. Do you think that’s what sets HOAD apart?


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July 2020