Its appearance alone is enough to identify brocade. Defined by raised woven patterns, the rich fabric is highly favoured for evening wear and wedding ensembles. When Raw Mango entered the Indian fashion spotlight 12 years ago in 2008, no one would have guessed the magnitude of impact the new label would have on Indian handlooms, the resurgence of brocade and celebrity trends. Over time, Sanjay Garg's fashion brand became a well-loved name, especially by Bollywood's stars. From Alia Bhatt to Kareena Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor to Anushka Sharma, it has complemented the chic and contemporary ethnic aesthetic of many celebrities. As Swirlster focuses on brocade on this week of #IndianSwirl, we speak to Sanjay Garg, Founder and Textile Designer of Raw Mango on the revival of brocade and how it plays an integral role in his designs.
"It is not necessarily only related to saris"
Think brocade and its association with the traditional saree is immediate. For Sanjay, it went beyond that. The possibilities of brocade may even seem boundless. On the prime role it played in Raw Mango's collections, Sanjay says, "Varanasi brocades denote a textile and is not necessarily only related to sarees. One needs to look at product diversification in order to think about a sustainable future for textiles, and brocade offers that possibility."
"We question the visual imagery of textiles"
Accepting traditional Indian wear and its garments the way they were always viewed wasn't a question for Sanjay. With a keen focus on textiles, Raw Mango has transformed quintessential brocade and lent it a minimally chic, modern aesthetic that is coveted today. "From engineered panel lehengas, to new motifs of monkeys and angels being woven or quilted brocade jackets, we have addressed various vacuums. Whereby the purists see brocade within particular classic design parameters, we question the visual imagery of textiles and are able to offer new options to the market," confirms Sanjay.
"It's about comfort, context and confidence"
Raw Mango is a fashion favourite in Bollywood circles, with fans including Aditi Rao Hydari, Karisma Kapoor and Sara Ali Khan. However, its star quotient hasn't impacted its image. On his favourite celebrity looks sporting the brand, Sanjay says, "Our favourite looks are those that best suit a personality; celebrity or not."Comments