By Puja Gupta
Designer Gaurang Shah, who is known for his exquisite handcrafted jamdani masterpieces and signature sarees, was previously against the idea of selling his creations online. Reason? He never wanted his customers to feel cheated after they find variations in colour and texture compared to what they order by seeing photographs and on video calls.
But amid the lockdown, Shah decided to launch his first e-store to fuel brand growth and to tap consumers yearning his signature weaves from places where he doesn’t have an offline presence or a physical store.
“Over the years, people know my work, my designs, what structure I give to my sarees, and my style of working. I got calls from many brides and regular clients who said they were ready to buy on video calls. They have started understanding that there will be little variation in colours, texture in video and photographs and the actual saree when they receive it. So I thought it was the right time to go online and start selling through e-store. And by God’s grace, we have got very good response,” Shah tells IANSlife.
The lockdown which lasted for almost three months brought almost all the businesses on halt and luxurious fashion industry was no different. It infact will be among the last of the businesses to get back on track.
Shah, owns six Indian and two international physical stores, informs that in April and May, the revenue from the stores was zero.
“People are not buying right now. They don’t have any occasion to buy clothes for. Weddings are also now limited to 50 people only. People are saving money because they have to put it into their companies or they have to pay salaries. There is not much liquid cash and people don’t want to spend right now,” Shah asserts.
He, however, is hopeful that the in the next couple of months, things will get back to normal.
Looking at the positive side of the lockdown, the Hyderabad-based designer says it gave him a lot of time to think and create new designs. The lockdown has given me a lot of time to explore new ideas, he says. “From my end, I am doing a lot of things.”
Shah, who has community of 800 weavers working for him, says he has been working with them continuously to develop a piece from scratch. “I had time, and I had my weavers with me. When I am developing a new saree, a new design, it takes a lot of time from conception to execution stage. I work from the yarn stage or the yielding stage.”
Adding, “What I do takes a lot of patience. Giving an idea to a weaver to having him/her develop the piece, needs a lot – time, money and over all patience. Today not many designers are doing this because this is very laborious process. They just go buy fabrics and cut and make them.”
When one starts working with weavers, they need to give them work continuously which is difficult for designers today, he adds.
“Today they (designers) do one collection and then they do away with the weavers. That is not sustainability. Being sustainable means you have to continuously provide them work. Everyone talks about sustainability but sustainability in true words is developing new things and providing your weavers with work,” he concludes.
(Puja Gupta can be contacted at email@example.com)