Fashion can work without a Bollywood face, says Anita Dongre

New Delhi, March 19 (IANS) Anita Dongre has roped in Kareena Kapoor Khan as a muse for her brand AND, and the ace fashion designer says celebrities add star power to the brand, but fashion doesn’t need a “Bollywood face” to work.

“Celebrities are a vehicle to communicate the brand message. We are mindful of the celebrities we collaborate with, mindful of their reach, aura and the value that they will add to the brand. Having said that, I don’t think that fashion cannot work without a Bollywood face,” Dongre told IANS.

The designer, who is not only a celebrated name in the Indian fashion industry but also successful entrepreneur, thanks to her brand AND Design India Pvt Ltd, added that Kareena was an apt choice as she fits the needs of the brand “effortlessly”.

“AND is an on-trend brand with global styles that has made international fashion accessible to Indian women. The brand perfectly complements the lifestyle of today’s woman, who juggles so many roles, helping her be her confident best. I’ve chosen Kareena as the muse since she carries AND stylishly and effortlessly.”

And how Kareena’s as a face will help AND, a brand that is already doing so wonderfully well? Dongre said: “AND has got great expansion plans and she is in line with our growth strategy.”

Even though Indian handlooms have got spotlight and efforts are made to revive the craft, Dongre, who has always stressed on the importance of the glorious craftsmanship in India and also has a label dedicated to Indian crafts, handlooms and textiles – Grassroots, asserts “handloom industry is dying every day and some of our best craftsmen who have been weaving magic are giving up on this craft”.

“The sorry fact is that this is a tradition which lives by passing on its legacy and wisdom from father to son, down generations. Today, the children are not taking up the tradition as they do not see monetary value in this art form, and are switching to more rewarding professions in computers, BPOs, etc.

“The aim is to spotlight our weaving tradition and bring it centre stage so that it finds pride of place in contemporary India and in global platforms,” she said.

The designer, who also shared her journey of taking Indian crafts to global consumers with her Grassroot initiative at a conference at the Harvard Business School in Boston last month, said that while the industry is doing their bit to revive the Indian crafts, fashion-conscious people from around the world should also pitch in.

“When industry leaders partner and collaborate with the weavers, we will appeal to the fashion conscious in India and globally, and help revive this glorious tradition. This will give the much needed pride and dignity that our weavers so deserve and ensure fair wages and create better livelihoods for them, thus ensuring the legacy continues with the younger generation wanting to follow in their forefather’s footsteps,” she said.

Coming up with more suggestions, Dongre asserts that “the big point is to ensure the weavers are the heroes of this project. The focal point has to be the weaver and sustaining the craft of handloom in Varanasi”.

“I would propose the entire grant from the government is spent intelligently and judiciously. The challenge lies in making this happen as soon as possible and moving on this on a war footing,” she said.

Turning to nature to seek inspiration, Dongre showcased her wearable, sustainable and functional collection titled “Earth Song”, under the brand “Grassroot”, at the ongoing Amazon India Fashion Week (AIFW) Autumn-Winter 2016 here.

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