Label Gaurang Shah
Legend of jamdani weaving has influenced my work
Hyderabad based designer Gaurang Shah, has been traversing the country for the last 20 years, and invigorating the weaving traditions of India. His work spreads across 16 states, engaging 7000 weavers, craftspeople and others in ancillary trades. In a chat with Kiran Sahija, Shah speaks about his design inspirations and the brand’s success mantra--the newness he tries to bring into the jamdani weaves through inventive interpretation in fabrics, texture, and colour.
Fibre2Fashion: How would you illustrate your journey in the world of fashion? What are some of the nuances which you have learnt or bettered through the years?
It is a blend of challenge and learning. I feel immensely satisfied that today saree has retained its spot as the finest fashion piece for all occasions.
Fibre2Fashion: Reasons behind your brand’s success?
I like my clothing line to be inventive and timeless, which I strongly believe are the pillars of our brand success in the last 2 decades and counting.
Fibre2Fashion: Tell us a bit about the design process which goes behind each collection and how different the process was during the pandemic? How was team cooperation affected?
We use the jamdani weaving technique, which is unique and gives you the versatility to create whatever permutation and combinations you would like your design to be. In our journey of jamdani weaving, we have created a range of colour pallets, yarns, and patterns that have stood out on the ramp and off the ramp.
Fibre2Fashion: Who is your target audience? From which places (metros/non metros) do you attract the maximum number of buyers?
Our target is the global market for handlooms. Our digital presence has helped us reach out to those geographies which hitherto was not possible through our brand stores. The profile of customers includes women, men, kids, and bridal wear enthusiasts. Our clients are niche clients. We have existing clients, and we are adding new clients after the launch of our e-stores. Our major client base is from Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad. Besides the US, UAE and UK.
Fibre2Fashion: Your recent collection speaks a lot about Gujarat! What do you admire the most about the textile and fashion industry of Gujarat?
I love the traditions and textile heritage of Gujarat. Many of my collections are inspired by the region. I have created many inventive pieces of clothing that have charmed my clients for being rooted to the culture yet bring a fresh appeal.
Fibre2Fashion: Which are some of the innovations you have brought to your saree collections?
The saree is the only clothing that has charmed generation after generation. It will remain an integral part of a woman's wardrobe forever. Some of the innovation we brought into the saree is the big border which has been the hallmark of my saree collections and loved by my clients for its unique appeal.
Fibre2Fashion: Which Indian ethnicwear trends are popular with the masses? What kind of accessories are a must with ethnicwear?
For me, saree has timeless appeal and is a must clothing in every woman's wardrobe. While the ghaghra, anarkali, and lehengas have brought the new generation into the handloom's consumption story, the saree is the most irresistible piece of clothing ever crafted. My idea of accessories is to be minimalistic when you choose to wear Indian handlooms, make sure that it doesn't dominate your clothing. Both your accessories and clothing must blend seamlessly.
Fibre2Fashion: Have the styling and draping techniques of saree evolved with time? Shed some light on the difference you may have spotted.
It has, over the years. Fashionistas and designers have presented diverse ways of draping the saree.
Fibre2Fashion: Do you think today’s youth is less aware of Indian looms and original handicrafts? What advice would you like to give to the youth of the country?
New experiments in textile design, cuts, and fusion of fabrics have made handlooms quite appealing to the younger generations. It is slowly and steadily finding its way into their wardrobes. Especially the lehengas, anarkali, and the gowns. My belief is that there is a steady and good patronage for handlooms. What we need to give the different generations is a variety — in colours, motifs, techniques — why will they not embrace it? I would like the younger generation to embrace saree--it has the enigma to awe whenever you wear them. Nothing like it.
Fibre2Fashion: What according to you are the challenges the Indian fashion industry faces while trying to implement sustainable solutions?
What India needs are diverse platforms besides ramp shows to amplify the voice of India’s jamdani craftsmanship plus fortify our efforts to further encourage, promote and preserve our weaving heritage.
Fibre2Fashion: What are some of the innovative approaches that you have undertaken for your brand due to the pandemic?
We have launched our niche brand store for men, women, children, and a by invite store for my line of clothing.
Fibre2Fashion: What is your opinion on changing consumer behavior in comparison to past times and current choices?
Fashion is a choice. Yet, what has remained unchanged is the urge to buy what suits for an occasion. While western casualwear has seen great growth, festive occasions, bridal and special occasions have always found favour with fashion consumers. The new normal has also seen a more selective buying and need to buy stance, which we believe will ease when the physical store shopping intensifies.
Fibre2Fashion: What is that one current trend that you see on the ramps today that can have the highest influence on future generations soon?
While western cuts and fashion continue to influence our society across age groups, we have also seen the emergence of traditional heritage handloom fashion getting a big boost in recent years. Fashion shows have witnessed an array of handlooms creativity, both by established and emerging designers.
Fibre2Fashion: Who among your contemporaries do you admire and what makes your label unique according to you?
I admire the work of Rohit Bal and Sabyasachi. They have been able to create a mark for themselves over the years and sustain their creative introductions.
Fibre2Fashion: Where do you want to see your label in the coming five years? (Give a little brief about your scaling plans if any)
Our goal is to make label Gaurang saree a universally compelling and alluring brand. With the world moving into the digital world, we have launched and consolidated our brand line through our e-store. We believe we are on our way to achieving this goal. Also, we would like to lead the handloom fashion innovation and augment weaver skill sets as part of our jamdani weaving skill development programme.
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