The master of weaves, Gaurang Shah is a self-taught textile designer based in Hyderabad. He’s one of the award-winning designers of our country. He has and is trying to revive the dying art of weaving and popularizing the age-old material of ‘khadi’.
How the journey began
Growing up, Gaurang Shah’s parents were a major inspiration to him. His family was in the textile business and had a tremendous understanding of Indian textiles, their origin, and their heritage. He used to visit his father’s textile store ‘Indian Emporium’. There only he learned about textiles and fabrics. It was his parents, Gaurang says, who inculcated in him the love for Indian handlooms. He mentions that a career in fashion and clothing didn’t come easy. The hunger to grow Indian textiles took up most of his youth.
The inspiration behind the label
The designer started his label 20 years back with an urge to carve a distinctive space for himself in Indian textile design. He wanted to master the Indian Jamdani weaving craft. Steer clear from embroidered chiffons and georgettes.
His passion and hard work have taken flight, with his family of 20 weavers growing to 800 Indian Jamdani craft weavers in South, East, and West of India.
The Jamdani Story
Gaurang Shah’s dream was to dig deep into the treasure of textiles of India. His journey has led him to play a key role in reviving the ancient weaves. With a unique fusion of weaving techniques, he has developed timeless, avant-garde interpretations of Indian clothing and textiles. In Gaurang’s words – “Jamdani to me is the answer to my design possibilities. It has the ability to continue incorporating new techniques. From monotones of white-on-white, its palette has expanded into a colorful and vibrant form.”
The intricacies of his hand-woven collections showcase this unique interplay of textures. In the warp and weft of each design, one finds the rich history of Indian textiles and the splendor of Jamdani’s future. His weaves are an ode to the ancient artisans who created Jamdani by infusing tradition with the spirit of the invention. In his collections, you will always find experiments with color, texture, motifs and yarn fusion.
The Khadi Story
The designer is committed to contemporary Khadi weaving. Through Jamdani weaves, lackluster Khadi is being woven to look brighter with fresh light-to-dark color tones. He believes there is much more to explore with Khadi and loves experimenting with it.
Gaurang being a passionate campaigner of Jamdani creates his sarees with the help of 150 Khadi looms and 100 weavers. He is dedicated to weaving only luxurious Khadi Jamdani sarees. For some sarees, they’ve used only Khadi, while in others Khadi is combined with MUGA or organza. In their new Khadi collection, they’ve experimented with variations in textures for motifs. For instance, one floral pattern uses dupion silk and another, cotton. He’s fond of Khadi as a fabric because the structure of the material is worthy. As a fabric, it falls better than silk and is more long-lasting and affordable too.
It’s his wish to re-introduce this wonderful material to Indians and the world, showcase this as a slice of our heritage. According to him, the legacy of textiles, specifically khadi is as relevant as heritage architecture, culture, and art forms.
The new collection is available across India – Vaya in Mumbai, GAURANG – their flagship store in Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, New Delhi, Kolkata.
A Modern Approach To Vintage Art
Gaurang wants to show the world how adaptable Indian Jamdani art can be, along with showcasing its artistic capabilities. Over the last 2 decades, his team collaborated with weaver’s communities across India in an effort to modernize the craft and promote it across the globe.
On and off the ramp, he has showcased variations of Kanjeevaram, Khadi, Muslin, Silks, interlacing different yarns, colors, tones, and textures. His collections Chitravali, Muslin, Neel, Anupama, Chitrasena, and Samyuktha are a living testimony to the huge transformations in Jamdani weaving. Each and every ensemble in his array of collections is unique, containing a distinct character, with sarees being his personal favorite.
Every creation results from months of hard work, sometimes taking over 1 year of work from design to loom to stores.
Awards & Achievements
The designer has received the Best Designer award for his use of Indian weaves and craftsmanship in the ‘Ardhangini Collection’ at Lakme Fashion Week. He has earned major awards including the Audi-Ritz Icon Award for Textile Design, Hyderabad Times Best Designer Award and many more.
The Vision And The Dream
In Gaurang’s words, here are the 2 dream projects he wishes to turn into a reality:
“First, to create Indian Jamdani Art Museum, and to realize this vision we introduced the concept in December 2018, with debut show ‘INTERLACE’. A journey through live weaving, music and 41 distinct woven sarees from South, East, and West of India to discover the essence of Jamdani.
Second, the next big mission in progress is to recreate 54 paintings of Raja Ravi Varma on saris. My dream is to recreate the paintings on sari pallus through weaving, with all the light and shade from the painting translated on cloth.
This project is in collaboration with Raja Ravi Varma Foundation from where I secured 54 lithographs. The project is expected to be completed by October 2, 2019, to coincide with Raja Ravi Varma’s death anniversary and Gandhi Jayanti. Each painting will be woven on khadi saris and showcased in 16 museums worldwide.
Apart from this, my pursuit is to make Indian Jamdani a global fashion phenomenon.”
The Future of Indian Art
Very art provides immense possibilities for creative minds. For the past 2 decades, he senses the need and the growing consumption of Indian made textiles and Jamdani creations. For him, it’s heartwarming to see all of this take bold, experimental and contemporary forms; the very art will continue to scale new heights in the global fashion arena.