He has given a luxurious twist to the dying art of weaving and popularized the use of Khadi. Award-winning textile designer Gaurang Shah is more than happy that the Indian fashion industry has welcomed handlooms.
"As a textile designer, I would like to say the Indian fashion industry has embraced handlooms with lot of admiration and helped revive our ancient traditions of weaving art, like the jamdani weaves, that we use in creating our fashion pieces," Shah told IANS.
"It also reinforced its unparalleled beauty around the world," he added.
The designer says that one must acknowledge the passion and intense amount of production hours every weaver at the looms puts to bring out timeless pieces of handlooms.
"The fashion industry did contribute to bring them back into vogue in recent years," he said.
Shah showcased his latest collection of 40 garments titled Muslin at Lakme's Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2017. His anthology for the gala was inspired by romance of nature.
Giving details about his range, he said: "Our collection incorporates weaves and techniques from West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. The amazing all-in-whites collections integrate gorgeous Mughal motifs and geometric patterns on Khadi, chikankari embroidery and Parsi gara."
The designer's collection involved 50 weavers working relentlessly for over six months.
Shah, whose handloom creation made its way to the 69th Cannes Film Festival when Deepshikha Deshmukh, producer of the Aishwarya Rai Bachchan starring film Sarbjit, stepped out in an ensemble featuring Paithani and Kanjeevaram details. He says that handlooms are a glorious heritage of India and it is important to preserve and help the artists' community grow.
"I would like to add that a few years ago this beautiful art was fading away. Thanks to persistent effort and motivation from labels like ours, followed by the efforts of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi, that pushed Indian handlooms to higher level of acceptance," he said.
Shah began his journey in the textile world with just two weavers and today the label works with 700 weavers, and the number is still growing.
"The biggest contribution we as a designer can make is to keep our artisans motivated and also help them gain confidence that it is a highly profitable profession," said the designer, who has styled such stars as: Vidya Balan, Sonam Kapoor and Kirron Kher.
(The writer's visit is at the invitation of Lakme Fashion Week organizers. Durga Chakravarty can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)