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Fashion Talk

Gaurang Shah

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 Fibre2Fashion, 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?

Gaurang Shah:

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.

The six yards allowed me to break new frontiers in textile design, textile fusion, experimenting with new patterns and colours. I have been able to preserve the centuries-old tradition of hand-weaving with a high degree of creativity and aesthetic finesse. All masterpieces from our label integrate the creative and aesthetic ideas and vision by transforming the saree as a contemporary design statement and the epitome of Indian handmade luxury.

In my journey, I had the privilege to work with the finest master weavers, blending my idea into their weaving artistry. Further, traveling and knowing the jamdani art practiced in a different part of India gave my creativity a new dimension, which you will find in my collection season after season.

This is what gives me joy every single moment.


F2F: 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.

I continue to draw inspiration from temple art, architecture, geometry, and mythology. What excites me and my clients is the inventive weaving approach to our line of clothing, especially a saree. It is the inventive interpretation in fabrics, texture, and colour that we believe has led to the rise in popularity of brand Gaurang jamdani saree and traditional Indian woven outfits. Our innovations in collections such as ardhangini, muslin, and neel continue to give a new face to Indian handlooms.

F2F: 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.

While the pandemic has affected the physical stores, the consumption story online has grown. The design and weaving process has remained the same as weavers work from the loom. Also, our creations take months and sometimes years to realise. 

F2F: 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.

F2F: 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.

For example, in my Stridhan collection, I had amalgamated patola with my signature fabric – khadi. I introduced a whole new dimension to the patola. It has been accentuated with Parsi gara embroidery, kanjeevaram borders, gota work, and fabric textures. 

F2F: 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.

F2F: 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.

My focus has been saree and I have created unique styles in my collections - such as the Parsi gara work, uppada silks, patan patola, kantha work and kutchi embroidery, among others, has given heritage textile lovers a real treat. For example, in one of our collections we presented 30 handwoven sarees, most with oversized borders, wrapped demurely like erstwhile royalty. The colour story moved from pale yellows to bright vermilions to complete the journey from festive to bridal.

F2F: 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.

We have presented many unique styles. For example, in our Calico collections, the sarees and gowns play to the vintage theme which refer to the 1920s use of motifs, colours, and detailing with box prints. The 12 sarees were draped in royal styles of 12 states in our presentation at the Lakme Fashion Week. Think of Maharani Chimnabai of Baroda’s signature Nauvari drape, with a long jacket blouse. Or a saree draped like a gown, reminiscent of the style attributed to Suniti Devi, Maharani of Cooch Bihar.

F2F: 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.

F2F: 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.

The pandemic has in a way helped the growth of online shopping and has enabled increase in consumer desire for Indian fashion, built its inventive appeal and the power of wearing heritage clothing as self-expression.

The challenge is also to preserve the Indian handlooms heritage and ensure that the jamdani weaving community gets the right impetus to fortify their craft and economic status which has seen a tremendous boost in the last few years.

The growth of our weaver community from a humble number to over 800+ is an example of sustenance. Constant skilling of weavers also helped the weaver community to expand.

F2F: 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.

We also launched an e-store for handcrafted fabrics and mill-made fabrics, and an in-store pop-up initiative to promote talented designers.

The men’s catalog offered at the e-store will list an array of my signature handwoven, all-occasion collection, tailored to perfection, a combination of traditional motifs with contemporary textures for the new-age men.

Through ‘Little Gaurang,’ I am introducing a handwoven fashion line that integrates khadi, handwoven fabrics, and the wellness of natural dyes on the prints of these fabrics for 0-12 years kids.

F2F: 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.

F2F: 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.

In the fashion platform, we have led from the front to introduce saree in a big way, showcasing unseen styles, patterns, fusions, and woven mastery. The growth of saree in the fashion shopping list and woven outfits too have caught the eye of the young generation as designers have become more attuned to what consumers seek when they set out to add new clothing to their wardrobe.

F2F: 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.

What makes Label Gaurang is its razor-sharp focus on setting news trends in the 6 yards Indian saree, and expanding the heritage of jamdani through creative, experimental, and inventive approaches. Our brand is synonymous as the go-to destination for saree not only in India but also for handloom enthusiasts from around the world. 

F2F: 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.

Brand Gaurang e-store has become more defined and niche with a handwoven clothing line for men, women, children and a specially by invite e-store for the special occasion design customisation that includes wedding and social occasions too.

Interviewer: Kiran Sahija
Published on: 06/09/2021
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