I was eagerly looking forward to textile revivalist and designer Gaurang Shah's Autumn Winter 2015 presentation - the "Shringar of Samyukta" , at the recently concluded Lakme Fashion Week ... As a storyteller first and foremost, the whole concept of Samyukta grabbed our attention like no other .... Among all the designers who took up the call to "Reinvent Banaras" at the Indian Handlooms and Textiles Day at LFW for the revival of the Banarasi (Varanasi) handlooms, .... Gaurang's collection of 44 heritage, handcrafted, textile outfits .... all in the hues of the Indian sindoor /vermillion .... stood out in passionate homage to Samyukta, the princess of Kannauj and queen of Delhi !! ... All Indians are familiar with the tragic story of the freedom loving Rajput king Prithviraj Chauhan and his romance of Samyukta, princess of a rival kingdom .... Now the word "Shringar" means adornment or beauty rituals and the "Shringar of Samyukta" refers to the bridal preparation of the royal princess ... Her red wedding dress, jhoomkas, nose ring, bindi and the vermillion on her hair parting ... all these images of a new bride were to be reinvented in exquisite bridal handcrafted couture !! ... The icing on the cake was that the show was to be conceptualized and styled by our friend and fellow blogger Pallavi Datta ( Pallavi Style Diaries) , whose fierce appreciation of India's handloom heritage has been an inspiration to us at DSB ! ... "As a handloom textile enthusiast, it has been a dream of mine to present the luxurious option of handwoven bridal wear to a young woman today. I have been a bystander in many a bridal outfit choosing process to know what a challenge it is for a bride to have a say in it, 'assisted' as she is by a whole range of opinionated relatives. My day is made when I meet a girl who stands her ground and shuns trend driven choices, 'what-ifs' by relatives and knows her mind to create a look for herself that is a reflection of her personality, her heritage and her brave female ancestors like Samyukta. By choosing to marry a fierce freedom fighter - Prithviraj Chauhan - Samyukta chose a harsh, patriotic life over cushy, passive existence with a docile prince. I styled and curated this collection by Gaurang as a celebration and an ode to this daughter of the land."

Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom
Gaurang Shah : Shringar of Samyukta, Varanasi weaves,
Model Archana Akhil Kumar and Rachel Maria Bayros





“I share my dreams with the artisans, and tell them that our handlooms are unparalleled”  Gaurang Shah 


Gaurang Shah


Think of the name Gaurang, and the one thing that surely floats across your mind is a woman in a Jamdani weaved saree ... The saree you’re imagining, probably has a blouse with long sleeves and Gold zari ... It’s in a Sindoori Red color ... Gajra in her hair ... and a pair of oversized Hyderabadi Jhoomkas ... Shah’s muse seem right out of an imperial portrait of a royal Indian empress :) ... His love affair with Indian textiles, he tells us, began at a very young age when he used to visit his father’s store in Hyderabad .... His words transcend a romantic nostalgia,  “I was in awe of Indian Handlooms, especially sarees. I had a ​strong belief that the 6-yard drape deserved much more attention from the fashion world.”
And attention it got !! .... So much so that his label today is synonymous with the Saree ... In a short span of 5 years, his label (launched in 2010) has found a position in the market .... for the modern discerning consumers who are on the lookout for sarees that reflect the forgotten glory of Indian Textiles ... "It was vital for me to channel all my energies and commitment towards realizing this dream and there was no better way than showcasing them through my eye and GAURANG label.” says Shah ... With no formal education in fashion, he learned​ about textiles from his many visits to the looms spread across the country .... talking and collaborating with weavers from different regions of India !! .... “I share my dreams with them, and tell them that our handlooms are unparalleled. It has great potential to be a game changer in the way fashion works in our country ... More than fashion it was Textiles that fascinated me. I loved the feel of Indian Khadi, Cotton and Silks​. Though my origin is from Gujarat , I grew up in Hyderabad. I studied and learnt my lessons about textiles from my father, his weavers and customers who always challenged me to create fabrics with a newer approach.” says Shah. Words like ‘craft’ & ‘textiles’ pepper the conversation when Gaurang talks about his design philosophy and process .... There is a constant engagement that he maintains with master weavers .... who in turn work with their weavers .... to translate his vision into reality .... There’s more emphasis on the emotion evoked in the wearer than just the cut or construction of every garment ... It’s why classic beauties like actresses Kirron Kher and Vidya Balan swear by his hand woven sarees ... Even  young stars like Sonam Kapoor wears his designs for many of her appearances ....  "For me, wearing Gaurang's clothes celebrate what I love most about fashion. Taking the traditional and making it your own. His clothes are inventive, unpredictable but at the same time rooted, everything that he creates has a timeless and relevant signature,"- Sonam Kapoor


Shringar of Samyukta LFW AW15


Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom

Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom

Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom

Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom

Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom

Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom



I found a creed of strong persona in ‘Samyukta’. She had courage, immense beauty and valor. What made me choose red as the color for all my 44 designs, was the bold and strong identity it represents.” Ask him about his eternal muse and he reminisces about how his mother draped her saree :) ... His designs are almost like an extension of his personality .... they exude a certain old world charm, unfazed by the arch-lights of ramp shows, glamour and celebrities ... The age old Jamdani weaving technique you see in his clothes is a testament to that charm .... Interlaced with discontinuous extra weft yarns, the fabric in turn has given him tremendous flexibility to challenge his creativity ... “Horizontal textile technique is imbibed in creating our Jamdanis so that the tapestries we get are the exact effect of a drawing on fabric.​ It enables you tones that would otherwise be impossible to do in other forms of weaving. The process begins with the sketch that is translated into a tracing sheet that is sent to the weaver. Our 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 in the handlooms.​” .... It is this love and patience that he breathes into every ensemble ... This is what sets him apart from the constant madness of fluctuating trends every minute .... Because not only does he design those pieces, he has dreamt and loved every yarn that has gone into making that fabric for months .... He says his intent is to introduce innovations in design and challenge the skills of the Karigars .... with every collection each season .... reinventing the long-standing handloom textiles as never seen before.

The collection was yet another reflection of his relentless passion for Indian textile beautifully translated into wearable art .... His love for the Surkh(scarlet) tones was resplendent in bridal silhouettes like anarkalis, lehengas, kurtas, ghararas, ijars and farshis .... Paired along with his signature Jamdani sarees were the tailored jamas, angrakhis, choghas, sadris and achkans for the grooms .... Apart from his signature Jamdani technique .... Gaurang used the Rajasthani Kota, Banarasi Silk, Patan Patola from Gujarat, Paithani from Maharashtra, Khadi Jamdani from Andhra, Ikat from Telangana ..... multiple embroideries like Zardosi, Chikankari, Kutchi work, Kasuti ..... and embellishments dominated with hand prints in the Sawari motif (elephant with a carriage).


Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom

Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom

Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom

Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom

Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom

Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom

Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom

Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom

Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom

Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom

Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom

Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom

Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom

Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom

Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom

Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom

Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom

Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom

Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom

Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom

Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom

Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom

Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom

Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom

Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom

Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom

Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom

Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom

Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom

Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom

Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom

Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom

Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom

Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom

Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom

Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom

Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom

Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom

Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom

Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom

Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom

Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom
Designer Gaurang Shah



Gaurang has been a silent rebel fighting for the revival of our lost heritage and art ....  “There were times .... it was very disheartening to see my shelves overflowing with designs but no takers. Today, clients wait for my next collections to launch and they fly off the shelves the moment they arrive at the stores”, he also adds “Our fabrics are the most eco-friendly fabrics in the world. If you ask me what will drive its dominance, ... it is the Saree”.
Talk about his customers and he shares with us the joy of seeing young Indian girls going back to their roots ....  “The most satisfying moments are when I find the younger generation step into the store and ask for Handlooms. It also feels like an accomplishment seeing the new breed of young designers present handlooms at national and international platforms.​”
Looking back, his journey wasn’t easy .... Motivating the weavers to keep alive the Jamdani technique, which was almost fading away .... But Gaurang kept going back to them with more designs and orders .... reviving their lost hope and confidence in their craft. .... The numbers grew from 10 to 500+ .... and in many cases the newer generation of weavers joined back the family business of handlooms !! .... His future plan is to introduce more innovation in weave, present them at National and International Fashion platforms .... and participate wholeheartedly in the "Make In India" campaign !
Gaurang Shah works with more than 500 weavers across India in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh ... He started reviving the looms when it was unfashionable to do so .... and today, handloom is high fashion !!! ... Know more about him :

Website : Gaurang.co
Facebook : Gaurang Clothing

Gaurang Shah interviewed by Karan Torani for Delhi Style Blog
Text : Karan Torani and Dimpy Kapur
Photographs : Gaurang Shah
Post Production : DSB

Until next time xx

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