Gaurang Shah to present a new spin on khadi in his collection, which will be showcased at the Berlin Fashion Week this July
Earlier this year, when Hyderabad designer Gaurang Shah showcased his eco-friendly collection of saris and off-shouldered dresses in khadi and cottons at Lakme India Fashion Week, he didn’t expect Berlin to come calling.
Much to his surprise, he was met with an invitation from the Berlin Fashion Week, asking him to showcase Indian weaves in Berlin. “For years, I’ve been working with weavers, egging them on to develop new intricate patterns that most people would not think of in khadi. This is a good opportunity,” says Gaurang Shah, showing us some of his creations at the Indian Emporium store.
Gaurang is a self-taught designer who learnt on the job at his family store. But his eye for detail and technique belie this. We do a double take when he discloses that he hasn’t had a formal training in fashion designing or garment engineering. Gaurang’s collections, 21 outfits and three saris, are to be showcased as part of the Lavera section of the Berlin Fashion Week, which highlights eco-friendly fashion.
The designer has used fine khadi of 80 to 100 counts to make the fabric malleable. Though he prefers to use whites as the base fabric, the collection is far from simple and predictable. He uses vibrant floral blooms, birds, butterflies and foliage themes. And none of these are prints. Each pattern is meticulously woven, in a combination of colours. “Earlier, I used to sketch each pattern and write detailed instructions on each flower colour. The process was tedious and time consuming. This time, we handed over colour printouts to the weavers,” says Gaurang, as he shows us a six-yard khadi sari with a Muga silk border.
The jamdhani weaves with flowers, leaves and birds have a varying tonal quality with the colours gradually moving from pastels to darker tones through the breadth of the sari. The three-shuttle technique helped get different colours in each border.
Off-shoulder flowy dresses with anarkali cuts, layered tunics and short tops teamed up with dhoti-style pants will also be part of his collection for Berlin. The khadi jumpsuit with floral patterns deserves special mention.
Though Gaurang has a predominantly white collection for Berlin, he loves to challenge himself and his weavers with myriad hues of khadi. At a recent show in Chennai this April, he surprised the audience with khadi saris in purple and deep red. For instance, one of his creations has a tree, with branches, flowers and butterflies, woven along the length of the sari. A sari of this kind takes six months to weave. Neeta Ambani is one of the proud owners of such a khadi-jamdhani weave.
Gaurang will be showcasing his khadi collection at Berlin Fashion Week on July 5.