The Chanakya saw in the capital recently the mint new new Anita Dongre’s Grassroot space, spanning 1500 square feet, that truly emotes the brand’s philosophy – revive, sustain & empower. The décor is accented by elements in rose gold, cork and sustainable sourced wood. Every detail is special in this store, from custom-made racks that give a nod to the humble shuttle (used to handweave fabric) and dreamy wall panels of handwoven chanderi and handspun cotton that tell the journey of the brand. A unique feature in the new interiors is the ceiling that has reels running across with suspended installations of garments, allowing a three-dimensional view of the pieces.
|The Designer and moi
|Grassroots Array at the Store
The designer presented a capsule collection for Fall Winter, to mark the launch of the new store. The collection showcased exquisite hand embroidery inspired by the biodiversity of rural India. Atypical to winter trends, a splash of colour brought warm cheer into this collection. Anita has also experimented with the stretch handloom textile this season, which allows comfort and easy movement while giving the characteristic luxurious feel of Handloom.
In a freewheeling chat with The Insider on sustainable fashion being a fad or a passing fancy- Here are the excerpts!
Sustainable clothing and fashion have been in vogue for some time in India. What would be your recommendation on 3 must have pieces of clothing in this segment.
At its core, sustainability is about respecting our planet, artisans and their skills. The objective is to nurture our treasure chest of handcrafted traditions by reviving, sustaining and empowering the arts and artisans by ensuring continuous work and creating livelihoods. I recommend wearing something that makes you feel beautiful and comfortable in your own skin. My three must-haves would be a handwoven jacket— because it is the most versatile piece of clothing. It is an outer layer and can hence can be worn with different looks; A linen top— it is easy, comfortable, breathable fabric and is great for the soil it grows on; A hand embroidered dress that transitions from daywear to evening with the bonus of keeping a traditional craft alive in rural India.
This movement is largely considered to be elitist with forbidding prices of the garment. Where then do you see this movement heading in the future?
The question really is whether there is an alternative to being sustainable and embracing patient fashion. We are already experiencing the effects of decades of neglect; it isn’t going to get any better with time so it is imperative for us to adopt more sustainable practices as an industry. Sustainable clothing feels great— whether these are easy breathing handwoven fabrics, beautiful textures in environmentally friendly Kala or the exclusivity of a carefully hand embroidered dress. Slowly, more people are choosing these benefits in addition to demanding change in how the fashion industry approaches production and its effect on the environment. While the progress has been slow, more people are making these conscious choice and I have no doubt that this “movement” will be the new normal in the times to come.
Is there any chance of seeing sustainable fashion also going towards the plus size fashion or Maternity fashion?
While I can’t speak for the fashion industry, I have always made clothes for the women I know, real women who come from different walks of life and are not defined by their measurements. Anita Dongre Grassroot caters to women across multiple sizes and diverse ethnicities. Body positivity is important to the women of today and fashion is proving to be more diverse both on and off the ramp. “Plus size” and maternity fashion aren’t niche segments anymore.
As a designer do you have to reorient yourself or your design sensibility when designing different labels such as AND or Global Desi? If not, what would you say are 3 signature qualities of a garment coming out of Anita Dongre stable?
I enjoy the entire process of designing. I definitely have to face a fair share of challenges in order to manage multiple brands with such different identities, but I love every moment of it. My garments are designed keeping in mind what the modern Indian woman seeks – effortless grace, style and comfort.
We couldn’t have agreed more!