Designer Anita Dongre asks young designers to stay positive

Anita-Dongre
Combo image of Anita Dongre (L) and a woman in Charoti (Maharashtra) making masks. Image courtesy: IANS
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New Delhi: Veteran fashion designer Anita Dongre suggests in these unprecedented times when uncertainty looms large, young designers should utilise this time to find inspiration and design while in lockdown.

Dongre believes the fashion industry is going to be seriously impacted due to the pandemic, and resulting nationwide lockdown.

"As an industry, it provides employment to millions, now all work has come to a halt. It will take many months to pick up, and even post the lifting of the lockdown, one will have to be extremely cautious to follow social distancing norms and ensure the spread is curtailed. Manufacturers and retailers will have to follow strict guidelines and it will take many months to come back to normalcy. Most weddings have been scaled down or postponed. Summer fashions will be offered to consumers post lockdown by all and fortunately, we have a late winter in India," states Dongre.

The Anita Dongre Foundation has set up an emergency medical fund of Rs 1.5 crore. This amount is self-employed vendors and independent artisans who are associated with the company and may not have adequate medical coverage.

"Our direct employees and their families are covered by medical insurance but should they need more, we'll extend the fund to them as well. Just like other major industry bodies, our main focus right now is on keeping our people safe and to help them deal with the current crisis," says the veteran who has built one of India's largest fashion houses. The designer has also set up a dedicated helpline for her employees.

Recently, Dongre has also started the production of masks with fabric in stock. "We wanted to make sure we're doing everything within our capacity to keep people safe during these uncertain times."

Her advice to young designers who might be left struggling for survival as an aftermath of the lockdown: "Stay positive and focus. Don't lose hope but use this time to find inspiration and design. You will get past it. We're all in this together, we shall overcome."

Dongre has been utilising this period to appreciate and be grateful to be working with family and enjoying the space in her new sustainable home.

"This is a reminder to celebrate the time I have to share with the people I love most. I have taken this time to also re-explore. Cooking, gardening, reading, and connecting with the family has filled little spaces that were taken up by the many other pieces I love about running a fashion house," she says to IANSlife.

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