Designer Anita Dongre, who has just launched her first menswear line, says the market for this in India has come of age, with more variations and designs taking centrestage and people coming out of the world of local tailors.
"The designer menswear market has come of age. Indian men have always been used to high degree of customization in their clothing options because of accessible tailoring (local tailors). However, it has now changed with ready-to-wear revolution in men's wear line in the past decades. This is termed as the biggest change in menswear market as now men have more varieties in terms of tailoring and cuts," Dongre told IANS.
The designer has been working on women's wear for the past 20 years. Her creations boast of eclectic mix of hand-painted silks of Jaipur, ikats of Andhra Pradesh and chikankari of Lucknow.
The USP of her brand is Indianness packaged in a contemporary way and she expects the same success with her menswear line. Dongre says her menswear line will be a mix of ready-to-wear options such as traditional sherwanis, kurtas, jodhpuris, fluid cotton and linen shirts.
"My focus is on fuss-free, great quality fabrics, clean and simplistic menswear line. This line is basically my interpretation of what men should wear. The range will have other uniquely distinctive features, like shirts with non-stitch collars and the finest Gutermann threads, which have been used in '22 stitches per inch' - a rare technique employed by select Italian garment manufacturers," said Dongre, who regularly showcases at Mumbai's Lakme Fashion Week.
Indian men are waking up to the world of fashion but only a handful of women designers in the country are tailoring their work for them. Rajvi Mohan, Krishna Mehta, Ankita and Anjana Bhargav from the label ANKY, Sanchita Ajjampur and Nivedita Basu are amongst the few who offer menswear in India.
Asked about the reason, Dongre said: "I cannot speak about other women designers making menswear. However, I have completely enjoyed the process of putting this line together. When I did a private preview for a few friends a couple of weeks ago, I discovered that the men were just like kids in a candy shop.
"They were very comfortable with the pieces and went through the entire collection with much interest. It really bought a smile on my face as I saw six months of my hard work paying off. Believe me, men love to shop," said the designer, who designs under the labels "Anita Dongre Timeless" and "Anita Dongre Iinter-Pret". Her clientele includes actors Sanjay Suri and Purab Kohli.
Any other brand extension in pipeline?
"After this, the next big focus for the upcoming bridal season is adding a lot more to my bridal wear collection - Anita Dongre Timeless. I am really excited about this launch and this year seems great for me, because all my long standing dreams (menswear line, bridal line) are coming to life," she said.