We caught up with designer maven Anita Dongre to get the scoop on her new label Grassroots, and what to expect from their very first show at the Amazon India Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2016—we think we may have fallen in love.
So, tell us about your latest collection that you're going to be showcasing at the AIFW.
So our Grassroots collection has a lot of contemporary separates. Everything is styled, priced separately, and clients can always buy a separate and wear it the way they'd like. And there's a lot of block print done in Rajasthan and Gujarat, but again the block prints have been created in a myriad of fashions—block over block, brushstrokes on the fabric with block print over it—so there are at least two or three layers of print. And while putting the whole collection together we've used the techniques of patchwork and the kantha stitch. So those two things kind of bind the whole collection together. Otherwise the pieces are mainly separates. We've got lots of jackets, shirtdresses, palazzos, straight ankle-length dresses, and long coats. Basically separates that you can include in your wardrobe and pieces that you would want to keep forever because the textile is just so beautiful.
And what's the inspiration behind this collection?
Grassroots is basically inspired by the craft itself. The whole inspiration behind it is that we begin with a craft that needs saving. And everything in this collection is done by hand. The block printing is by hand, the kantha is by hand, and as a label, we're ensuring that everything is handmade. There are no machine prints that are being used, no computer embroidery. That's the ethos that forms Grassroots.
What are thoughts on this shift we're seeing where designers are incorporating more and more indigenous textiles?
It's a really good shift, but we still need to do a lot more. Designers need to take out capsule collections and work with Indian textiles, because we're on the verge of losing out on a lot of crafts. With so many machine-made goods coming in, it's extremely important that we incorporate handmade pieces in our fashion wardrobe.
What is the colour palette you've worked with?
The entire collection is full of deep winter colours. We've used lots of natural indigo, and vegetable colours in the printing. And the palette goes from deep indigos to deep earthy reds to olive greens and mustard yellows.
Tell us some key pieces from this collection.
We've done this denim bomber jacket in patchwork that I absolutely love. It's made with denim hand block-printed patchwork. Another is a denim dress with block-printed patchwork. And any of the printed pieces, they're my favourite.
What are the 'It' colours this season?
I think the colours we've shown in this collection are really beautiful and those are the colours you should be wearing this season.