Ace designer Anita Dongre has single handedly changed the ready-to-wear retail scenario in India. Her various labels — AND, Global Desi and the eco-conscious line, Grassroots — made it possible for the aam janta to afford designer pret. She has, over the years, also become the go-to person for brides in India, and non-resident Indians. The Mumbai-based designer was among the most searched people on Google in 2016 (courtesy the AND dress sported by Kate Middleton on her maiden visit to India).
And now, Dongre is all set to make a splash overseas by opening two stores in Soho, New York.The first store, which opens in the beginning of July, will showcase her sustainable line, Grassroots. “This has been a hectic six months. We are launching Grassroots immediately, and the second store will feature our main-line label Anita Dongre, which we are aiming to open in late September,” says Dongre. Turns out, Dongre had always wanted to take her brand overseas, and Broome Street, Soho, seemed like the perfect place to embark on this journey. Soho houses many premium boutiques of leading designers. But Dongre is not worried about the stiff competition. “I am not there to take on anyone. I am just a simple designer, who is opening this little store in Soho. I am just making beautiful handcrafted clothes and I think New Yorkers will like what I have to offer,” says Dongre.
Her line, Grassroots, will showcase the summer collection featuring clothes made from pure cotton and other handwoven textiles in contemporary silhouettes and cuts. “We are using a lot chikankari. The colour palette is somewhat muted, with pastels and whites dominating it. But there is use of indigo and black for the occasional splash of colour,” says Dongre. As for the launch of the bridal store on Wooster Street, Dongre is clear about catering to the diaspora bride. “I am just saving my overseas clients a lot of money, who come to India and spend a lot of time, energy and money on their trousseau. They are eagerly waiting for my store to open. It’s a win-win for me,” says Dongre.