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The art of creating demi-couture, by Vaishali Shadangule

In an interview with Lounge, the designer talks about her Milan show and presenting a ready-to-wear line

Vaishali S. at the Milan Fashion Week.  (Company handout)

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Vaishali Shadangule knows exactly what she wants: present Indian weaves on such a grand scale that the entire world recognises their importance. 

The designer did exactly that at the recently concluded Milan Fashion Week, with the launch of her prêt line Srauta at the historic Palazzo Durini.

Shadangule's ready-to-wear pieces carried the similar charm of her couture creations: fluid fabrics making sculptural shapes using cording techniques. A focus of the presentation was pashmina yarn.

We spoke with her before the show about the new launch and her vision. Edited excerpts: 

Masoom Minawala Mehta was the show-stopper for the designer's show at Milan.
Masoom Minawala Mehta was the show-stopper for the designer's show at Milan. (Company handout)

How does it feel?

Nervousness and excitement. Each time it's the same feelings (laughs). I mean, of course, Milan is different right from the rest. It's the Mecca of fashion. The good thing is I've been doing good business in Milan. So there's little bit of confidence. I think they understand design and craft more. For them, it's not just the fabric or the garment. I think they appreciate art. I, too, don't want to sell garment. I want to promote the art and craft of India. So, I'm able to convey this message here. 

And I think for my creations, outside India is better because I just follow the flow of the fabric. I don't follow what's happening in the market. My approach to work is not very conventional. So, I think because of that my clothes outside India are appreciated more.

Why ready to wear?

Of course, ready to wear is important, but I believe couture… my first feeling with couture is… you can showcase your creativity. Having said that, ready to wear is also very important. It allows me to give more work to people and present a more relaxed form of couture, something like Demi-couture. 

I was in Ladakh, where I met women who would break stones the whole day and later spin pashmina yarn. So I thought may be I should use pashmina in a way to help them earn more. 

And then the idea was to put it on blockchain because it's sustainable. Anyone can see the location of the garment and track the whole process. Each garment has a QR card via which you can access information regarding the journey of the product. 

Why pashmina?

It was just because I was in Ladakh for leisure and happened to meet those lovely women. It isn't as much about pashmina but about those women, the whole traditional spinning process. It was inspiring.

Was it difficult to ready to wear?

No, actually. I think it's a very smooth process. When I thought about ready to wear, I was more like whether I would be comfortable doing it, considering my focus on couture. But I think if you set your heart to something, things happens.  

It was a pandemic idea?

I always wanted to launch ready to wear. But I felt this is the right time to do this. 

What would you want a customer to feel when they look at your creations?

Comfort and beautiful.

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