Indian fashion’s coming of age

No stranger to the Indian fashion industry, Anita Dongre has established herself not only as a couturier but also in the pret domain with affordable yet trendy options. The designer who balances both along with her other labels says she’s glad she does a variety.

“The need of the hour is pret. Most couturiers and fashion houses today have realised the importance of it. It’s great to make creativity more affordable and see more people wearing your designs. On the other hand, there’s another thrill of handcrafted creations, that are very time consuming, but give immense satisfaction once completed,” says Anita.

The designer made a foray into menswear just a few months back and her latest collection comprises classic must-haves for the Indian male. “The line is extensive — from bandhgalas, bandis and jodhpuris to tuxedos, cufflinks and sherwani buttons — with simplistic and well-tailored designs. There’s a large market for menswear today and I’ve had my clients who have boyfriends or husbands, asking me to design since years, so I just had to start,” she adds.

Her collection aims to revive the bandi which is a versatile garment and can be worn with jeans, kurtis, breeches or pyjamas. It can be dressed up or down and is apt for the Indian weather. “Youngsters today want something traditional. I love seeing 20-year-olds experimenting with dhotis or wearing bandhgalas. Even actor Purab (Kohli) said he loved wearing it,” she says.

Having been in the industry for so many years, how does Anita stay current? “In my head, I’m all of 25. I party with people of all age groups. As a designer, it’s part of your job to reflect the society around you. And I like to imbibe and interpret everything I observe in my designs,” she explains.

Anita has also been one of the few designers to promote Indian weaves in her designs. She says, “Anywhere in the world you go today, there’s a huge appreciation for Indian designs. Recently, some Americans came to my store and said they’d heard of my work back home. This shows that Indian fashionis coming of age and our techniques are much more coveted.”