Monday, May 20, 2024

Designer Anita Dongre: ‘I live a very basic life, strive to do better every day’

In the midst of the glitz and glamour of her latest outlet launch in Ahmedabad, Anita Dongre, the quietly composed fashion maven, reflected on her journey. She shared her experiences and insights, offering a glimpse into her world of creativity, leadership, and conscious fashion.

“I had my share of failures, but people just look at the success. It’s been a long journey,” Anita revealed. “One of the major failures was when I was launching my brand AND some 21 years ago. The collection was rejected by most stores, so I opened my own store and got into retailing and fashion.”

She is a quiet entrepreneur. She is the person behind western-wear for women under the brand AND, boho chic fashion Global Desi, bridal couture and pret options by Anita Dongre (including menswear), handcrafted jadau jewellery through Pinkcity, and luxury indo-western designs with Grassroot.

As a leader, Anita has embraced the role of mentorship and talent recognition. “Today, my role as a leader is to recognise great talent and to mentor them,” she explained. “I am learning to be a good leader through books. It’s something I am always trying to do better.”

Amidst the challenges of leading a large team, Anita maintains a simple and disciplined lifestyle. “I live a very basic life,” she shared. “I wake up at 5.30 am, start my exercise at 6.30 am, and by 8.30 am, I am at work. Every day brings new challenges when you work with 700 people. I work like a labourer and strive to do better every day.”

Anita added: “In my head, I’m 28 years forever, and that’s how I remain relevant from the 1980s to today. I am still excited about life, still eager to go to office every day, and creating a new collection is still the highest point of my life.”

Passionate about conscious and mindful fashion, Anita emphasised the importance of living and buying mindfully. “Conscious and mindful fashion. Living mindfully, buying mindfully,” she expressed, embodying her commitment to a sustainable and ethical approach.

Anita’s family has played a significant role in her journey. “The best part of working with my family is they are so loyal and supportive,” she acknowledged. However, she also acknowledged the challenges that come with familial ties: “The worst is that many times, I am not taken so seriously just because I am their sibling! Over the years, my mom has been my biggest support system. She is my role model.”

Drawing inspiration from legendary Italian fashion designer Giorgio Armani, Anita’s passion for design has remained unwavering. “I did my thesis in college on Giorgio Armani. I found him inspiring. He was in his 80s, full of life and still designing. He still goes to office every day,” she shared. In recent years, Anita has found inspiration in designers who prioritise conscious fashion, particularly Stella McCartney. She believes in the power of collective efforts to make the world a better place.

Anita’s dedication extends beyond the realm of fashion. With a growing concern for animal welfare, she aims to transition towards non-violent and vegan fashion. “What I have done is just a drop in the ocean. I want to keep designing. I have so many ideas in my head,” she expressed. As time becomes a pressing factor, Anita is determined to contribute even more and create a positive impact.

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