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Anita Dongre (born October 3, 1963) is a fashion designer from India and founder of House of Anita Dongre which is today recognized as India's leading fashion house. She was born and raised in Bandra, Mumbai, India. Dongre studied Fashion Design at the Premlila Vithaldas Polytechnic of SNDT Women's University in Mumbai. In 1995, she founded House of Anita Dongre Ltd. (formerly known as And Designs India Ltd.) with her sister Meena Sehra and brother Mukesh Sawlani. Dongre is married to Pravin Dongre, a successful businessman and they have a son Yash Dongre, who is also an integral part of the business. Dongre is a vegan and a member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
After completing the fashion designing course at Mumbai's SNDT college, she started designing and supplying Indian wear for 12 years to almost all the famous boutiques in Mumbai. Though the heavily embroidered Indian wear did good business at the boutiques, she realized that the fashion conscious Indian went abroad to buy western wear. Having traveled abroad she had seen the changing trends and a seed of an idea of starting her own label was born. Her company And Designs India Limited (Now House of Anita Dongre) was born, in 1995. She launched her first label AND at a 300 sq feet shop in Mumbai’s first mall, Crossroads.
Today her brands AND (western wear) Global Desi a boho-chic brand inspired by India's colours and prints)) and her signature label Anita Dongre (bespoke bridal, occasion wear, Pret and Menswear), and Pinkcity, a handcrafted jadau fine jewellery brand. The brands are currently available through over 650 points of sale across India, comprising exclusive and multi-sbrand outlets. Her eponymous labels have enhanced many an award show, global red carpet events, international catwalks and the pages of all the top end fashion glossies. Not surprisingly, ‘Queen of Prêt’ is how the fraternity and media address her.
She recently introduced Grassroot, an eco-friendly brand tributing the handcrafted traditions of India. Collaborating with a trusted network of trusted NGOs and artisans across India, Grassroot is a platform for these artisans to showcase the treasure house of Indian crafts which Dongre makes relevant by fashioning into contemporary tales and presenting them as luxury pret to the world. The essence of Anita Dongre Grassroot is to revive, sustain and empower craft and artisans.
In the year 2015, And Designs India Limited re-branded themselves as House of Anita Dongre in line with global fashion houses, and all her portfolio of brands are housed under this fashion house.
For FY 2016 - 17 House of Anita Dongre Limited estimates to achieve a turnover of USD 100 million (700 crores). General Atlantic a leading private investment firm holds an investment in HOAD.
Dongre was featured on CNN’s ‘Growing India’ series in 2015, showcased across 36 countries. Forbes India, Fortune India, Business Today and Blackbook Magazine count her among their ’50 Most Powerful Women in Business’ lists. In October 2015, Dongre was recognized as the women entrepreneur of the year by CMAI and by Kelvinator Stree Shakti Women Awards in 2014. She has also been awarded by PETA at their PETA Approved Vegan Fashion Awards 2013. In 2016, Dongre was among the key note speakers at the Harvard India Conference, The Coalition and United Nations Young Changemakers Conclave. She is also a board member at India's prestigious Lakme Fashion Week, where she also mentors the gen next designers.
Expansion[edit | hide all | hide | edit source]
In the year 2014, AND, Global Desi and Anita Dongre were introduced to the Mauritius market with 3 exclusive stores.
Grassroot which launched in August 2015, is currently retailed through 3 stores in India - 2 in Mumbai and one in Delhi's Khan Market.
Design Philosophy[edit | hide | edit source]
Mughal architecture, traditional craftsmanship and the rich cultural heritage of India has always inspired Dongre and all her collections reflect this love and admiration. She keeps going back to her roots i.e. the city of Jaipur in Rajasthan, India in search for her design inspirations.
Her commitment to revive, sustain and empower the Indian crafts and textiles led her to launch Grassroot, a sustainable and eco-conscious luxury prêt label. Being vegan and an animal-lover, she lives her personal philosophy through conscious efforts as a fashion designer, introducing cruelty-free accessories, thereby representing fashion with a conscience.
Cultural influence on fashion[edit | hide | edit source]
By reviving the lost art of traditional weaving techniques and master craftsmanship, Dongre recreates classic regal splendor. The richness of Benares silks, cottons and brocade weaves,tie and dye, hand painted silks of Jaipur, Ikats of Odisha, Gota Patti of Rajasthan and Chikankari of Lucknow are all captured in her classic elegant creations.
Philanthropy[edit | hide | edit source]
Empowerment of women is a cause closest to Dongre’s heart. She employs many artisans in Rajasthan to create handcrafted materials for her creations, thus reviving and preserving the dying art forms. Mijwan is a village in UP which specializes in Chikankari, in association with actor Shabana Azmi, Dongre supports the women of this village by commissioning Chikankari work from them for her designs. She also contributes to a social organization run by Mana Shetty that provides livelihood to economically backward women with the help of waste material provided by fashion designers. She has recently partnered with Member of parliament Mrs. Poonam Mahajan to generate employment for Women in Charoti which is a small village 100 km from Mumbai. She has set up a training and manufacturing centre that helps women develop skills which they can use to earn a living thus empowering them in society.
Awards[edit | hide | edit source]
The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry Ladies Organization, Bombay Chapter, presented an award to Dongre for ‘Excellence in Fashion Design’ in 2013. In 2012, she was featured in Fortune magazine as one of the 50 most powerful women in business, India. In 2011, she won the ‘Inspirational Designer’ award from FDCI Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week. In 2011, she also received the Elite Circle of Excellence at the 6th Retail Jeweller India Awards. In the same year she was received the Best Brand Ladies Western Wear at the Shoppers Stop Pinnacle Awards, 2011. She received PETA’s humanitarian award for demonstrating her compassion for animals through her leather free fashion designs and advocacy of a vegan lifestyle. In 2008, she received the GR8 Flo Women Achievers Award for ‘Excellence in Fashion Design’. For the year 2007-2008, her brand AND was awarded the Best Women’s Western wear brand. She was the member of CMAI Jury for the year 2006-2007. She received the Pantene Shine Award for helping women shine. Anita Dongre was featured in Google`s official list of top searched designer for the year 2016.
References[edit | hide | edit source]
- http://www.hindustantimes.com/business-news/icici-s-kochhar-most-powerful-indian-businesswoman/article1-1148700.aspx ( ref to the Fortune story)
- http://www.fashionunited.in/news/apparel/anita-dongre-explores-foreign-shores-020920135968 ( global desi goes global)