Her designs are widely replicated by shop owners, and bought by those who want to ace their style quotient in an affordable way, but designer Anita Dongre feels plagiarism is a by-product of the fashion industry. However, she says a true fashionista will know how to spot what’s authentic.
“Plagiarism and knock-offs are by-products of the fashion industry,” Dongre, who has created a revolution with her brand House of Anita Dongre Limited (HOAD), said in an interview.
“A good designer would never feel the need to replicate designs as the audience is extremely aware in this digital world. There is no shortcut to innovation and success, and this has stayed constant through the years. While plagiarism is greatly diluting fashion, true connoisseurs of fashion will know how to differentiate,” added Dongre.
HOAD Limited owns and operates three brands with three extremely distinct identities: AND — with its line of chic, contemporary western-wear for women; Global Desi — a young, free-spirited, vibrant line of boho-chic ensembles; and the Anita Dongre label offering breathtaking, curated looks in bridal, couture, pret, menswear.
This label also includes Pinkcity, handcrafted jadau jewellery and the recently-launched luxury pret label Grassroot which is a tribute to the handcrafted traditions of India, and seeks to revive, sustain and empower heirloom traditions from across the country and fashion them into contemporary tales.
Dongre, whose creation was famously flaunted by Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton on her India visit, enjoys working with artisans.
“This is a partnership of mutual respect. There is a skill and expertise that they have always brought to the bridal and couture looks, and with Grassroot, that expertise is carried to everyday looks.
“I work with artisans more closely through Grassroot, often in their homes, exchanging ideas about a new language for traditional crafts. I am inspired by the lives these artisans live, the crafts they have practised for generations and their respect for all living beings. They contribute not only to making my brands what they are, but also the person I am today,” the veteran designer said.
Her journey as an entrepreneur is an inspiration for many and she feels that being a woman was no advantage in achieving success.
“I don’t believe that it should be any different just because I am a woman. Irrespective of gender, our work demands creativity, commitment and efficiency, which I put in every single day. Fashion for me is about functionality and wearability.
“When I started this business, I was designing clothes that modern women wanted to see in their wardrobes. And today, the initial point of inspiration remains the same for every brand from the House of Anita Dongre. It is about making what today’s woman wants to buy and wear. It is the wearability of our garments that has made each brand successful,” said Dongre.
Over the years, HOAD has gone from strength to strength — embracing change, redefining fashion, setting trends and making a difference with over a 1,000 points of sale in India.
Asked how she sees the evolution of fashion from past to present, she said: “Fashion in the past was more inclusive and rested in the hands of a select few. These days it’s become highly competitive, hence the need to experiment and innovate in order to stand out from the rest.
“Numerous budding designers are being launched each year and only the best stand the chance to shine. It’s all about constant innovation and staying true to your aesthetics and design philosophy, and I believe change is the only constant.”
For her, Indian fashion is going in the right direction with government initiatives like Make in India and Handloom Week, which have given a great boost to sustainable fashion.
“We need more intervention for Indian designers who are supporting crafts to make it big on a global front,” she said.