Mumbai based fashion designer Vaishali Shadangule works extensively with traditional weaves and can usually talk non-stop about these textiles. The designer says, “I am still in the process of discovering new and unfamiliar weaves to incorporate in my designs.”
The designer operates out of a studio in Bandra, Mumbai. She says, “I don’t think I will ever get weary of the heritage of textiles that we have.’’ In an airy attic above, a group of karigars work busily, hand-embroidering Punto style (cutwork) on a length of silk fabric. Shadangule made her debut at the Lakme Fashion Week in 2011, in which she showed well-crafted Indian dresses in Chanderi and Paithani prints.
The designer reached out to weavers of Chanderi Silk in MP and of Paithani in Maharashtra, to incorporate their designs into fabrics suitable for cutting into dresses. “Jaya Shree Textiles of the Aditya Birla Group helped me to experiment with a new yarn made by combining linen and silk. A group of Jamdani weavers from West Bengal with whom I work did the rest. As the show was for a winter/festive season, I needed to add a festive touch — and I got this by adding shiny silk to linen,’’ explains Shadangule.
The designer's summer collection created for Lakme Fashion Week 2012 used a traditional fabric used by the farmer community in Maharashtra and Karnataka, called Khand. The search for the original weavers of this fabric took the designer on a 565-km journey because no one seemed to know where the artisans lived. “I was under the impression that the fabric was woven in villages around Kolhapur,” she recalls. “I did came across products made of Khand, but these were woven on powerlooms, not on original handlooms. My persistence ultimately led me to Guledgudda near Bagalkot in Karnataka. Here I found three families who still followed the traditional handloom method of weaving the Khand.’’