As a boy of eight, Gaurang Shah would sit by his father’s shop, watching with fascination the many hues and forms of the sari. It was this exposure to fabrics, colours and tones that set a life-long affair with textiles for the designer whose jamdani saris and outfits won him rich accolades from the fraternity. Gaurang initially opened his own shop selling saris in 1999 but realised that traditional designs were no longer appealing to women. Soon, he met with weavers and asked them to custom-weave saris with contemporary patterns. The efforts paid off. His innovations on the loom took his brand to new heights. Gaurang’s USP lies in making a bold statement with the sari, be it by using jamdani technique to bring alive the Tree of Life or reinventing Kanjeevaram saris in organza,or creating bridal wear with a handloom twist! The idea behind is simple: play with fabrics, go wild with imagination and give traditional textiles a new lease of life. This week, Gaurang will be in Dubai to showcase his collection, Shringar, through a fashion show and exhibition, which will see Bollywood’s ambassador of sari, Vidya Balan, display the collection along with top models. The talented designer shares his passion…
This is a specially curated line for the wedding season in varied silhouettes, in anarkalis, lehengas, ghararas, kurtas and intricate jamdani woven sarees. The menswear collection embodies the narrative of the urban Indian man, which is understated royalty in woven sherwanis, dhotis and kurtas. Tradition with a twist is the best way to describe our design philosophy for weddings.
ON HIS PASSION FOR TEXTILES
I’ve always wanted to create saris that would suit the modern fashionista whose interest in handlooms was fading. As a textile and fashion designer, the six yards gave me immense scope to break the jamdani weaving convention. It also helped me stretch my boundaries. Which other fabric gives you the liberty to tell a story from the Panchatantra or a fable from the ‘Tree of Life' so beautifully? Today, I work with over 600 weavers who help me accomplish my vision to make Indian handlooms as global fashion piece.
ON BREAKING STEREOTYPES
It is the different jamdani weaving twists, fusion of fabrics and the colours of nature and heritage (like the temples, architecture of India), which we blend in our collections that make them unique. We have given handlooms a bold outlook through our CALICO collection. At Lakme Fashion Week, we introduced menswear through which we tried to break a few stereotypes. Hopefully, this will establish handlooms as preferred choice for grooms.
ON THE WAY AHEAD
We have a fantastic journey ahead to nurture and cherish. As the jamdani weaver tribe grows, as textile designers, we can collaborate with them to innovate newer forms of handlooms.
ON HIS CELEB CLIENTELE
Every celeb client has a personality and charm. For example, Kirron Kher and Vidya Balan pull the sari off majestically. Likewise, Sonam Kapoor carries the modern avatars of handlooms with élan.
INFO: Gaurang's Solo Show will be held on September 17 at the Taj Dubai