Plagiarism and knock-offs are a by-product of the fashion industry: Anita Dongre

With slow fashion and ‘sustainability’ being the buzzwords, there has been a remarkable change in the way brands communicate with the buyer says designer Anita Dongre.
“With slow fashion and ‘sustainability’ being the buzzwords, there has been a remarkable change in the way brands communicate with the buyer,” says Anita Dongre.
“With slow fashion and ‘sustainability’ being the buzzwords, there has been a remarkable change in the way brands communicate with the buyer,” says Anita Dongre.
Updated on Jan 24, 2019 02:18 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Delhi | BySrishti Jha

Designer and craft revivalist Anita Dongre talks to us on the evolving Indian fashion industry, craft revival, plagiarism in design and how brands communicate now with the buyers. Excerpts from an exclusive interview.

As a revivalist, what drives you towards a certain art/design/textile tradition?

What fuels my creativity today, is not just restricted to design but also about reviving the craft. For instance, my latest collection ‘Pichhwai’ commenced with a chance encounter with Lekhraj Ji while he was painting the walls of City Palace in Rajasthan. Intrigued and inspired by the intricacy of his work and his flawless brush strokes, I immediately knew I wanted to give this art another form of life. We chatted about his art and he shared stories of his work being inconsistent. So, I invited Lekhraj Ji over to our Design Headquarters in Mumbai, and that’s how the Pichhwai Collection came to life.

What is your take on the current battle going on social media on fake copies of design and what is the best way according to you to fix the situation?

Plagiarism and knock-offs are a by-product of the fashion industry. It is difficult to fight it and it continues diluting fashion. It is rampant in this digital age of instant information sharing, but true connoisseurs of fashion will know how to differentiate. As a designer, it hurts that so many manufacturers of fast fashion churn multiple copies of garments that have otherwise taken us several months to design and produce. The industry needs to have a system that can curb plagiarism. As a preventive measure, we have also started copyrighting our designs.

How communication has changed between the designer and the buyer? Do they want to know about the process and the philosophy behind it? Do you think the buyer is more aware than ever now?

With slow fashion and ‘sustainability’ being the buzzwords, there has been a remarkable change in the way brands communicate with the buyer. I do see a trend of leading global brands disclosing manufacturer details on garment tags, through visual displays in stores, communication on websites, e-commerce platforms, annual sustainability reports, social media handles etc. This kind of transparency will make them appreciative of the efforts, resources and passion involved in making of such garments.

You have had an illustrious career in terms of design and craftsmanship. When you look back, do you feel you could have done something differently?

The label has evolved over the years. It has grown in size, the number of stores has increased and even the number of women who buy our clothes have increased. The one thing that I wish I had done differently, was start my sustainable initiative earlier than I did. I always had the vision and idea, but it did take me some time to get everything running.

What is your take on the present scenario in the Indian fashion industry? Where are we headed?

The Indian fashion industry has evolved in a large way; I am happy to see the emerging designers embrace our heritage crafts and celebrate our handlooms, instead of just following seasonal trends. Sustainable development is gaining momentum, and an increasing number of consumers are questioning where their clothes come from, who made them and more importantly how they are made. Moreover, the fashion industry at a global level is working towards putting sustainability at the core of their business. I personally believe that every small effort contributes to the sustainable movement and there is no future without it.

What inspires you the most in your design process and why?

A constant inspiration for me is designing a collection and product that’s better than last season and combining it with design for good to empower women artisans.

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Saturday, January 22, 2022