trends Vaishali Shadangule gives a new dimension to Chanderi, Paithni and Khand weaves

Fashion critics call her a ‘revivalist’ of Indian textiles. But Vaishali Shadangule doesn’t believe in labels. “I come from Vidisha, near Chanderi village in Madhya Pradesh and now live in Maharashtra. I understand textiles from these regions and feel a lot can be done with Indian textiles,” says Vaishali.

Festive and wedding collections needn’t be limited to heavy saris and lehengas. There’s room for unusual, unique silhouettes. Vaishali’s festive collection, Chanderi meets Paithni, has flowy asymmetrical dresses and tunics with creative use of traditional sari borders. “The flowy drapes are inspired by traditional saris and dhotis. These dresses are targeted at young women who don’t want to wear saris all the time. The dresses and tunics are relaxed, bringing together Indian and western sensibilities and still ideal for festive occasions,” she says. Vaishali made use of both Chanderi and Paithni weaves for the collection. “Weavers are used to weaving saris on the looms and don’t feel comfortable when asked to do something else. So I use the woven saris and work on silhouettes,” says Vaishali, who likes to use Chanderi, Paithni, Khand and Bengal cottons. Going by the collections she showcased at Wills Lifestyle Fashion Week and Lakme India Fashion Week, it’s hard to believe Vaishali entered the field without formal training.

“After 12 years in the industry, I took up a two-year advance fashion design course in New Delhi,” she says.

Vaishali was in her late teens when she moved to Mumbai looking for a job, armed with a B.Sc degree in Computer Science.

In Mumbai, she attended fashion seminars, read up on fashion and worked in an export house.

“It wasn’t easy in Mumbai. I didn’t know enough about fashion. In between, I did a few small jobs. I even worked in a gym,” she says. With the help of one of the gym clients, she availed a bank loan of Rs. 50,000 and set up a small store of her own.

“I started designing, taking up small orders. My work was appreciated. It was a slow and gradual climb,” says Vaishali.