When it comes to Anita Dongre, there’s little introduction needed even if you’re not acquainted with the fashion domain. Making a transition from bridal wear to contemporary brands for the urban woman through AND, Global Desi, and then foraying into eco-fashion as well as couture and menswear, Anita is counted as one the country’s leading names in design. If you recall, the Duchess Of Cambridge made a case for garments from Anita’s label during her India visit, thereby causing Anita’s website to crash due to demand. While many think of that as a feather in her cap, Anita accomplishments are far more. Completing two decades in the industry, she’s one of the few designers who makes use of India’s sustaining crafts such that it can cater to Gen Now’s sartorial aesthetics. And now, she’s the first designer to do brick and mortar retail in one of the four fashion capitals of the world — New York. Ahead of opening her Grassroot store in SoHo’s fashion district, we interviewed Anita Dongre (who will also be showcasing her collection at India Couture Week 2017 on July 29), on being one of the market leaders in sustainable clothing in less than two years. Excerpts from an email interview.
How did the decision of opening a sustainable clothing label like Grassroot, in the fashion capital of New York, come about?
Tell us about the NYC store.
The store is in the heart of New York’s fashion circuit; in Broome Street. The 1500 sq. ft. space is located in one of SoHo’s historic 1890 Romanesque Revival masonry building designed by architect Alfred Zucker in brick and sandstone. This space is bathed in natural light and accented by elements in rose gold, cork and recycled wood. Every detail is special in this store, from custom-made racks that give a nod to the humble shuttle (used to hand weave fabric) and dreamy wall panels of hand-woven chanderi and khadi that tell the journey of the brand and its craftspeople.
You also plan to open a couture store in Mid-September. Tell us a little about that.
Sustainable luxury clothing is a niche but Grassroot has been a market leader in just about two years. What do you think worked for the brand?
Keeping the season in mind, what are the trends in women’s ethnic wear?
Irrespective of the season, I recommend wearing something that makes you feel beautiful and comfortable in your own skin. I’m currently enjoying a lovely NY summer but back home it is the middle of the monsoon. I suggest light-weight Indian outfits in cheerful colours that drive the monsoon blues away.