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Mass Appeal

Ajita Shashidhar     September 16, 2019

Unlike many fashion designers whose claim to fame is to create exclusive outfits for Bollywood celebrities, Anita Dongre has taken fashion to the masses. With 125 stores across her three brands - AND, Global Desi and Grassroots - her company, House of Anita Dongre, is close to a Rs 700 crore entity. In fact, fashion industry's poster boys, Manish Malhotra and Sabyasachi Mukherjee, are said to be nowhere close to that.

Dongre has redefined women's work-wear in India. Known for feminine silhouettes, Dongre has always believed that women should maintain their feminine identity. By launching smart dresses and Indo-western outfits she ensured that working women broke out of the stereotype of turning out in trousers and shirts at work.

Apart from expanding her retail presence, in the past one year, Dongre has also become India's fashion ambassador. At the World Economic Forum at Davos, she was a speaker in two panel discussions, "Three Trillion Reasons To Help The World Spend Better" and "The Fashion CEO Agenda Roundtable".

The 55-year-old designer is also trying to showcase Indian craftsmanship in the global markets through her premium brand Grassroots, for which she is working closely with organisations such as SEWA in Gujarat. She also runs the Anita Dongre Foundation, which works at the panchayat level to form self-help groups.

Her endeavour is to use traditional crafts on garments that would appeal to global sensibilities. She not just wants to showcase Indian craft forms on a global diaspora, the intent is to also empower the craftspersons and revive several dying craft forms of the country.

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