By Saurabh Kumar
Mint, New Delhi.
From two sewing machines in the balcony of her house in Mumbai to three well known clothing labels — AND, Global Desi and signature Anita Dongre — that are sold from more than 550 stores across India, this is what fashion designer Anita Dongre, 50, has achieved in the past 25 years. “We are now going to smaller cities and literally opening a store every week (including multi-brand stores),” said Dongre.
After two years of internship which gave her immense exposure to couture and prêt (ready-to-wear), she started making prêt clothes because she was always driven by the fact that she should make clothes that women could wear every day. “At that point in time, all designers made occasion wear or just one size which was altered according to the need of the customer. I started with prêt and that too in various sizes,” said Dongre.
She initially supplied clothes to boutiques, but soon some boutiques started dictating and started questioning her designing sensibilities. “I am really grateful to all those boutiques for not stocking my simple, lovely and well-cut women’s wear because that prompted me to start my own store. Maybe if they would have stored them, I would just have been a supplier to them even today,” she added.
Though her company today has entered into other forms of clothing as well, the AND prêt label, even after 15 years follows the same principle. “I want the working women to feel that 10% extra confident when they wear my clothes,” she said.
But there is much more to this Libran’s journey to success (she is reading Vedanta Treatise by A. Parthasarathy, for possibly the 25th time as it keeps her grounded). She has been featured in leading magazines such as Fortune and Forbes.