An award winning fashion designer, who’s love for Indian fabrics has created a revolution internationally, making this self taught designer a legend in all terms. In a conversation with Gayathri Menon, ace designer Gaurang Shah talks about his journey.
EXHIBIT: To begin with, when did the love for designing start?
Gaurang Shah: I started working with weavers 20 years back. By seeing various kinds of fabric for many years, I got allured by their magnificence. I opened an exclusive store for saris. During the early days of my designing journey, I found that people were not interested in saris. So, I sat down with my weaver and changed the whole fabric and made the design more contemporary and colourful and very cheerful. It was a humble beginning and steadily, I began innovating on the material and design.
EXHIBIT: What’s the secret behind the success of label?
Gaurang Shah: Being inventive and strong belief in the art of Jamdani weaving.
EXHIBIT: How does it feel showcasing your designs internationally as you have been popular in Berlin Fashion Week?
Gaurang Shah: Our presentation got a standing ovation at the Berlin show. jamdani weaves with flowers, leaves and birds had a varying tonal quality with the colours gradually moving from pastels to darker tones through the breadth of the sari. The threeshuttle technique helped get different colours on each border. There was so much variation we created using Khadi.
EXHIBIT: Do you remember your first garment? Who was it for?
Gaurang Shah: It was a beautifully handwoven saree which I gave to my mother. She is my inspiration.
EXHIBIT: Then and now: How has the fashion scene in India changed and where do you see it heading in the next 5 years?
Gaurang Shah: There is a tremendous transformation. The biggest factor that brought about the change was new age designers, fashion shows and cinema. Each one of them had a tremendous impact on fashion. The evolution of handlooms over the years and its growing prominence today is the most heartening of all.
EXHIBIT: What do you think about the blend of fashion and technology?
Gaurang Shah: We follow the jamdani weaving technique and technology has no role to play. What technology can bring about is to help to communicate with the creator and the weaver when it comes to design and the approach to weaving.
EXHIBIT: What do you think about the growing influence of social media especially when it comes to fashion?
Gaurang Shah: It is one of the finest and far reaching platform when a brand has to connect with its stakeholders. It helps you announce what is new from your table instantly. It offers you strength to not only stay connected with your active clients but also find new clients.
EXHIBIT: Gaurang and Tech- what is this relationship on a personal level?
Gaurang Shah: I love my iPad and iPhone.
EXHIBIT: What do you feel you are doing differently in this crowded space of designers?
Gaurang Shah: Being inventive and offer textile designs that have timeless appeal.
EXHIBIT: Any advice for budding fashion designers?
Gaurang Shah: Show the courage to experiment and do things differently. To become a fashion designer it is important to understand textiles, colours, textures before becoming a fashion designer.
Your mantra in a crisis: Focus on what’s next.
If you weren’t a designer, what would you both be doing in life: I would have turned into a food entrepreneur.
Who’s the one celebrity you love to see your designs on: For me, every woman is a celebrity, who make their own statement. From the tinsel world, I would love to see Rekha wearing my creation. In the new age, it would be Deepika Padukone.
Your go-to fashion trend: Handlooms.
One piece of tech you use for designing: Everything I use is handwoven, no tech is involved.
Favourite app: Whatsapp, Instagram
Favourite smartphone feature: Messaging possibilities
Must have tech gadget that’s not your phone or laptop: A fitness band
The phone you use: iPhone
The car you drive: Volvo
Also read: Editor’s Note September 2018