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There was none available. Design is about wearability and not just about the beautiful bodies on ramp,” she argues. Then came sizes and a bottom-up approach, as against the luxury-first canon. Dongre was among the first in India to have sizes from 8 to 18, start selling ensembles as units and even design bridalwear keeping in mind contemporary lifestyle — lighter lehengas for the bride to dance at her wedding or pockets to keep her phone in. Global Desi, an essentially westernwear line with Indian colours, patterns and silhouettes that she launched in 2007, is a reflection of her chic college fusion fashion from her SNDT Women’s University days. “AND and Global Desi are most likely the first fashion brands in a woman’s wardrobe,” says Dalip Sehgal, independent director on the HOAD board and former managing director of Godrej Consumer Products. “I see the brand portfolio pioneering the fashion journey of the Indian women — a role it has played right since launch.” The inspiration clearly comes from Zara, the global fashion house Dongre and her brother admire the most. The Spanish retailer straddles the affordable luxury space – in between highend chic and mass market, much like Armani Exchange, Tommy Hilfiger or Calvin Klein. Dongre noticed the upwardly mobile aspirationals and, in targeting them, her approach has been a runaway success. After firmly setting up base, Dongre has moved up to couture to cater to the premium end of the spectrum.
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