The label “GAURANG” personifies elegance and captivating beauty of traditional handlooms, weaves, created using Jamdani technique with pure Zari on cottons and silks. Traditional motifs, inspired by the sculptures of South Indian temples, floral and geometrics drawn from the nature are the hallmark of their creations. Their vision is to preserve and accentuate the aesthetic appeal of its beautiful textures. In an exclusive interview with The Parallel, the label’s founder Gaurang Shah himself talks about his inspiration, his love for textiles and his expansion plans for his eponymous label.
When and how did your brand come about?
I conceptualized my textile revival journey at a very young age when I used to visit my father’s store in Hyderabad. I was in awe of Indian handloom especially sarees. I had a strong belief that the 6-yard deserved much more attention from the fashion industry. In 2010, I launched my brand ‘GAURANG’ with a vision to revive Indian Textiles using the Jamdani weaving technique to serve the modern consumers who were on the lookout for sarees that were original in their design sensibilities.
What inspired you to launch it?
It was purely driven by my passion for handloom sarees. I have a firm belief that it will shine in the international fashion platform if presented with modern twists and turns. It was vital for me to channel all my energies and commitment towards realising this dream and there was no better way than showcasing them through my label.
Do you have formal education in textile design?
I am a self-taught designer with no formal education in fashion. I learnt about textiles from my father’s store and my visit to multitude of looms spread across the country, talking and collaborating with weavers from different regions of India.
Who has been your eternal muse?
My mother! She had a fantastic taste in sarees and dupattas that looked stunning when draped around her. It gives me great joy when I see fashion ambassadors like Sonam Kapoor , Kirron Kher, Vidya Balan, Taapsee Pannu and many others patronizing saree in a big way.
How does your design process function?
I use the Jamdani weaving technique to create my products. Jamdani is a brocaded fabric woven with discontinuous extra weft yarns. The age old horizontal tapestry technique is imbibed in creating our Jamdanis.
It is a versatile form of weaving that gives you tremendous flexibility to challenge your creativity and make changes while you weave. It enables you tones that would otherwise be impossible to do in other forms of weaving. The process begins with a sketch that is then translated into a tracing sheet that is sent to the weaver. The weaver then follows the tracing sheet inch by inch, shade by shade and texture by texture. The journey to finish takes months of hard work on the handlooms.
Do you work closely while developing techniques with karigars?
My intent is to introduce innovations in design and challenge the skill of my karigars every time. I share my dreams with them, and tell them that the technique is matchless, it has great potential to be a game changer in the fashion world. There is a constant engagement with my master weaver who in turn works with his weavers to translate my vision into reality.
Where do you draw inspiration?
I draw my inspiration from Women, Nature, Ancient Temples, art and ancient paintings. I love traveling and each time my mind is loaded with new vision and creative pills on return.
How should designers help promote Indian crafts?
When I look back, it was a challenging journey to motivate the weavers of Jamdani technique. They were almost fading away. But, as I kept going back to them with more designs and orders they gained in confidence and the number grew from 10 to 500+ and in many instances the generation next joined back the family handlooms. Our contribution to the art is to introduce innovation and present them on national and international fashion platforms.