Fair Fashion
Femina|June 9, 2018

Designer Anita Dongre is trying to bridge the gap between aspiration and accessibility with her ubiquitous brand presence. Rushmika Banerjee talks to the woman in charge

Rushmika Banerjee

The House of Anita Dongre (HOAD) is built on resilience. From starting a label with only two sewing machines (early 1990s) to opening her first store at the Crossroads Mall in South Mumbai (1999) and eventually expanding to a store in Soho, New York (2017), designer Anita Dongre has built an empire within two decades with four labels under its umbrella—AND, Global Desi, Anita Dongre bridal couture and prêt including PinkCity jadau jewellery, and Grassroot by Anita Dongre. Each label has a unique identity and yet, they are all bound by strong virtues of sustainability and an uncompromising passion for design.

Dongre was a visionary from the beginning. The brand, founded in 1995 along with her sister Meena Sehra and brother Mukesh Sawlani, is touted as the most influential fashion house in the country today. She conceived her minimalist fusion wear label at a time when Indian designers relied heavily on ostentatious ensembles. When Dongre conceptualised her signature gota-patti lehenga with pockets and put them on the ramp, it became a trendsetter. Apart from her strong aesthetics, the designer’s business acumen is apparent in the placement of her brands in the commercial sector—AND and Global Desi cater to the masses, while her couture line woos the luxury segment. The designer has also been a strong champion of women’s empowerment, and her label Grassroot seeks to revive native Indian crafts and simultaneously empower rural artisans. Her designs have adorned royalty (the Duchess of Cambridge Catherine Middleton wore an AND dress during her visit to India in 2016), former first lady of the U.S., Hillary Clinton, and Canada’s first lady Sophie Grégoire Trudeau. Dongre also made it to Google’s list of most-searched designers in 2016. In this exclusive interview, the designer reminisces about her childhood, talks about holistic sustainability and what the future of HOAD looks like.

What inspires you to create?

Rajasthan. She evokes memories of dancing peacocks, majestic elephants, sleeping on the terrace while monkeys prance around and the beautiful songs of the birds in summer. Every time I am there, I see something and feel something new that rejuvenates my creativity.

Tell us about your early years in Rajasthan.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM FEMINAView All

THE INSIDE STORY

TARA SUTARIA GETS REAL WITH SUKRITI SHAHI IN A CANDID CONVERSATION ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS, LOCKDOWN LEARNINGS, AND AN UPCOMING YEAR OF EXCITING PROJECTS

8 mins read
Femina
April 2021

It's time to plan a FAMILY VACAY!

While we wait to travel again, here’s how you can ready yourself to vacation avec famille.

5 mins read
Femina
April 2021

LESSONS on LOVE

Relationships, good and bad, help us grow and understand ourselves better and here are five lessons that we can surely learn from it.

2 mins read
Femina
April 2021

DESI POWER IN THE US CABINET

MEET THE INDIAN-AMERICAN WOMEN IN US PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN’S CABINET.

7 mins read
Femina
April 2021

THE NEW PARENT survival guide

Becoming a parent can be exciting, overwhelming and stressful, but you can learn to handle the pressures that come with infant care and balance life accordingly, says Kayalvizhi Arivalan

4 mins read
Femina
April 2021

SKINCARE 101

DR JAISHREE SHARAD busts common skincare myths, and gives us the lowdown on acids for skin, and anti-ageing treatments.

6 mins read
Femina
April 2021

THE EX FACTOR

It is possible to have a cordial relationship with your ex-husband. Radhika Sathe-Patwardhan has some pointers

4 mins read
Femina
April 2021

REACHING OUT TO THE STARS

AWARDED BY BOTH HON. PRESIDENT AND HON. VICE PRESIDENT OF INDIA, DR SOHINI SASTRI’S ACCURATE PREDICTION SKILLS MADE HER ONE OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL AND BEST ASTROLOGERS IN INDIA.

1 min read
Femina
April 2021

DESIGN DREAMER

Interior designer Kajal Agrawal shares her journey, her thoughts on gender-related issues in the design sector, and more with Ravina Sachdev

2 mins read
Femina
April 2021

A ‘BAG'FUL OF SPIRIT

What started as an activity to keep her busy in a dropped academic year soon turned into an all-consuming passion to offer women the bags they need. NINA LEKHI, MD and Chief Design Curator, Baggit, shares her ideas with Shraddha Kamdar

5 mins read
Femina
April 2021
RELATED STORIES

GH: BRITT AND JASON ON THE RUN

Forced to flee their original safe house location, Britt and Jason take shelter in a barn on a Cassadine property — and though she’s no stranger to life as a fugitive, Britt makes it clear to her travel buddy that she’s far from pleased with their dicey situation.

2 mins read
Soap Opera Digest
May 17, 2021

young and restless

AROUND TOWN At Society, Billy overhears Nikki and Victoria talking about Nick’s search for Adam. Billy assures Victoria that he won’t pursue a ChancComm story about it. Lily walks in and spies Victoria and Billy in a close moment.... Jack asks Summer about her and Kyle’s wedding plans.... Kyle shows Mariah the picture of Harrison that Tara sent him. Mariah asks if he’s doubting the decision to not be a part of his son’s life. Kyle asks Mariah to be his best person at his wedding.... Jack asks Summer and Kyle for permission to throw them an engagement party.... Nina delivers a care package from Chance to Abby, who continues to hover over Mariah.... Devon and Jack discuss the rehab program that Devon started in Neil’s honor.

3 mins read
Soap Opera Digest
May 17, 2021

Y&R PREVIEW! SPECIAL VICTOR/ADAM EPISODE

Y&R will feature a standalone episode this week that centers around Adam and Victor. In the fantasy, Adam imagines playing a particularly surreal game of chess with Victor.

2 mins read
Soap Opera Digest
May 17, 2021

VICTORIA KONEFAL RETURNING TO DAYS!

Though Ciara moved to South Africa with Theo, her time abroad will be brief: The character — and actress Victoria Konefal — are headed back to Salem this summer.

2 mins read
Soap Opera Digest
May 17, 2021

days of our lives

HEY, JEALOUSY Nicole tells Chloe that Ava and Rafe kissed, and how Ava accused Nicole of wanting Rafe for herself. Chloe asks if Ava was right, but Nicole protests.... Ava and Rafe talk about their kiss. Rafe admits he has feelings for Ava. They lean in for a kiss, only to be interrupted by Rafe getting called back to the station. Rafe asks Ava out to dinner; she happily accepts.... Nicole visits Rafe, who says he knows Nicole wasn’t too happy about the kiss. Nicole swears she’s fine about that, but when she learns they’re having dinner tonight, she admits she’s jealous ... because she’s missing Eric. Later, Rafe remembers a close moment with Nicole, while Ava asks for Nicole’s help in going shopping for her date.

3 mins read
Soap Opera Digest
May 17, 2021

bold and beautiful

WHAT WILL HAPPEN

3 mins read
Soap Opera Digest
May 17, 2021

Be Our Guest

On Digest’s Podcast, Dishing With Digest, Y&R’s Eric Braeden (Victor) Reflected On His Years In Genoa City — And His Plans To Continue His Legendary Run.

9 mins read
Soap Opera Digest
May 17, 2021

general hospital

WHAT WILL HAPPEN

4 mins read
Soap Opera Digest
May 17, 2021

DAYS: KRISTEN TRAPS SAMI AND LUCAS

Sami spies Nicole and Xander entering the Salem Inn together, but before she has a chance to follow them, she runs into John and Marlena, and informs them that Brady has been in an accident and is in the hospital. “Sami is outraged at Nicole’s behavior; she’s immediately suspicious,” says Alison Sweeney (Sami). “She gets distracted dealing with Brady in the hospital, but of course, she’s not going to let Nicole get away with that!”

2 mins read
Soap Opera Digest
May 17, 2021

bold and beautiful

REUNION STATION

3 mins read
Soap Opera Digest
May 10, 2021