Sanjay Garg weaves magic with Chanderi

The colour palette is nothing short of stunning. Saris in charcoal greys come alive when offset with fuschia borders and off-white saris with dull gold chanderi buttis get a lime green highlight. The time-tested bottle greens, majentas and black and gold saris too surprise you with delicate chanderi motifs.

The man behind the creation, 29-year-old Sanjay Garg, has given a new twist to traditional Chanderi cottons, silks and silk-cottons through his label Raw Mango. His A-list clientele includes writer Arundhati Roy, actor-activist Shabana Azmi and Renuka Chaudhary. Sanjay keeps women of today while designing. “Young women today tend to use sari sparingly and want something simple yet striking, elegant yet classy and the fabric needs to have a good fall,” he says. The softness of the fabric and the ‘good fall' are thanks to him working hands on with weavers in the pre-loom and post-loom stages, taking care to remove extra starch from the handlooms.

Sanjay has had a taste of Hyderabad and its clientele twice before when he exhibited his collection of Chanderi saris as part of Crafts Council exhibitions. This time, he is here for a solo exhibition at Evolutions, Somajiguda circle.

The former Delhi NIFTian could have chosen the lucrative option of designing saris with heavy embroidery/zari/sequins but he was drawn to Indian handlooms, Chanderi in particular. Post NIFT and a design diploma in Portico, New York, he worked with Shades of India, the fashion label that specialised in selling Indian handlooms for the European markets. The stint made him wonder if he could explore a niche clientele within India that would appreciate hand-woven fabrics. “In 2007, the ministry of textiles had ‘cluster development' schemes and I was among the designers chosen to work with weavers. I began working with Chanderi weavers with the money I borrowed from my father. At first, weavers were not even interested to experiment. Slowly I got their confidence and we set up four looms. My very first exhibition was a sell out. Today we have 160 looms,” he says.

He now wants to work with weavers in Gadwal and Varanasi. “An Indian woman's sari collection is incomplete without a Varanasi sari,” he says.

He is glad that contemporary women look beyond heavy sequins and zaris. Sanjay uses dull gold for embroidery, that too sparingly. He despises using them all over the sari giving a ‘busy' look.

The Rajasthan-born, Delhi-based designer sells through stores in New Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore and Mumbai as well.

His exhibition is on in Hyderabad till August 28.

Keywords: SarisSanjay Gargclothing


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