Making Indian craft desirable for today’s generation: Designer Anita Dongre (IANS Interview)

New Delhi, Jan 18 (IANS) She caters to a range of fashionistas with her multiple labels, each of which exude Indian elements. Popular designer Anita Dongre says sustaining craft in the country, which has a rich cultural heritage, must hold utmost importance in the fashion world today.

“We have always worked with handloom textiles. Sustaining craft is the need of the hour. We provide design intervention to traditional crafts which are inherently beautiful and unique. Each region of India has a textile heritage of its own and we work to make the craft as desirable to today’s generation as it was in the past,” Dongre told IANS in an e-mail interview from Mumbai when asked why the focus on Indian handlooms is important and how designers can help.

Dongre, who has completed an over two-decade journey in the fashion industry, will bring the curtains down on the Lakmé Fashion Week (LFW) Summer-Resort 2017 edition, which gets underway here next month. She will bring alive a “Liquid Gold” theme through her designs for the show.

“The ‘Liquid Gold’ theme is with reference to argan oil that is infused in the brand’s new collection of lipsticks. It is lovely when organic products also offer beauty benefits,” said Dongre, who is an active spokesperson for organic and sustainable fashion.

“Organic and sustainable clothing is the need of the hour. As a designer who strongly believes in this, I’m happy to see people taking steps towards it,” she said.

Dongre, whose creation was donned by the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton on her India visit last year, says the fashion industry has come a long way in the country.

“I remember a time when designer-wear was largely bridal wear, and only a few could afford it. I launched AND in 1995 for simply addressing the need of countless women who were looking for formal and evening wear that was comfortable yet chic. Today, most designers are getting into luxury pret and ready-to-wear collections,” Dongre said.

Dongre, who featured in Google’s official list of top searches of the year 2016, said “bridal couture has also progressed”.

But haven’t designers slowed down in terms of experimenting on the runway?

“There is a fair mix of both — traditional clothing as well as some experimental ensembles. As an artist, a designer showcases his craft through his work. Sometimes, it’s an abstract garment meant to create drama on the runway,” said the designer.

The 53-year-old designer believes in creating garments that are wearable.

“That is the point of fashion — to choose something that makes you feel beautiful and confident,” she said.

The designer, who has also styled the likes of Bollywood’s Kareena Kapoor Khan, Sonakshi Sinha and Aditi Rao Hydari, has labels like AND (western wear for women), Global Desi (boho chic brand for women), Grassroot (a label dedicated to Indian crafts, handloom and textiles), Anita Dongre Couture (a luxury brand) and Anita Dongre menswear, to her credit.

(Durga Chakravarty can be durga.c@ians.in)

–IANS

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