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Fashion for the janta

With India becoming brand conscious, more designers are targeting the masses for their designs, writes Dipti Nagpaul.
By Dipti Nagpaul | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON FEB 21, 2008 04:17 PM IST

As designer Anita Dongre readies to launch Anita Dongre Interprêt her new western wear prêt label-she is once again applying the sensibilities of mass appeal.

Targeting the ‘Indian woman-who wants-to-indulge for special occasions', Dongre has split her signature label to accommodate aspiring fashionistas.

Mass appeal
"Today's women prefer an exclusive look for their evenings out," explains Dongre, who already has three designer labels under her-AND, MO and Anita Dongre Indian Soul.

Priced at an affordable Rs 1,800 onwards, Anita Dongre Interprêt will be for those who don't mind spending that extra bit if a designer piece appeals their fashion sensibility.

"As opposed to AND, where clothes are trendy yet simple, with Interprêt I will pay attention to details and experiment with cuts and fabrics," informed the designer.

Tarun Tahiliani, who once scorned the concept, also has his own prêt line called TT, priced at Rs 1,500 upwards.

In short, the Indian fashion industry is undergoing a sea change. A-list designers, who till some time ago were creating designs ‘exclusively' for rich socialites, are now ‘going public'.

On power with
Fashion brand, Sepia-launched with Priyadarshini Rao as the designer – is priced at Rs 700 onwards. Sepia targets the demography of young, fashion-conscious Indians.

Rao describes the line as one that's "overseen by a designer but not exactly designer wear." According to her, it's a range that could easily compare with brands like Mango, Zara or Promod.

Easily affordable
The advantage, as Rao explains, is, "My own label Priyadarshini Rao starts at about Rs 2,000 for mens shirts and Rs 1,500 for womens tops, going up to Rs 8,000 for prêt wear. But at Sepia, one can easily find nice linen men's shirts for about Rs 1,300."

The brand, however, will experience a change from April. That's when Rocky S takes over from Rao. Still, the USP of Sepia will remain the same-mass appeal.

And then, there's Sabyasachi Mukherjee… Not content with just the wardrobe, the man has also made a foray into bedrooms and bathrooms.

His tie-up with Bombay Dyeing has resulted in a line of bed and bath linen, priced between Rs 180 and Rs 2,220.

Mukherjee says, "BombayDyeing, with some 400 retail stores, is an ideal distribu tion network for a collection like this inexpensive, but very good quality."

Homely affair
The collection, meant for mix-and match homes, combines leather cushions from London with patch work dhurries from Rajasthan.

Designer Salim Asgarally's home furnishing range has been around for three years now, and comprises cushions, throws, duvet sets and accessories, priced at Rs 800 to Rs 18,000.

"I'd been designing home ware for exports to the U S west coast and the Gulf for a while. It made sense to launch my own signature line," explains the designer, who also styles entire homes on request.

With the fashion market overflowing with new designers every day, the established ones-it seems-are targeting the up-and-coming middle class. After all, this is where the money is.

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