It takes a lot to be a fashion designer in India; especially, when you work hand-in-hand with weavers without an external aide and brainstorm every season to create innovative saris for Indian women. For Hyderabad-based designer Sailesh Singhania, who has been working with Indian handloom artisans for past two decades, the philosophy of preserving textile art and craft through his work is not just part of his profession but also a lifelong passion.
The sixth-generation handloom revivalist from the city of Nizams, recently made a debut in Delhi and brought along some limited edition festive wear from his latest collection of saris and selected pieces from his label showcased at Lakme Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2019. Much like his brand ethos, the saris from his latest collection “Shaahana” represent the splendor of Indian royalty and the aesthetics of his forefathers who joined the Nizam’s legacy in 1881. The designer mentions that his great grandfather Seth Nandlal took over as the textile minister in the Nizam’s cabinet in 1926, and his family worked with 700 handloom weavers belonging to 22 different clusters from areas like Pochampally, Gadwal, Uppada, Kota, Pranpur and others.
Sailesh, who calls himself a textile conservationist, is determined to promote sustainability in fashion, craftsmanship with a commitment to ‘Make in India’ initiative. His label works with 700 handloom weavers throughout the year and supports 22 different clusters including Pochampally, Gadwal, Uppada, Kota, Pranpur and more to sustain a respectable livelihood through weaving. With his six yards of weaved wonders, he tries to re-create the magic of heritage handlooms, textiles and antique saris to represent the culture of different states of India.
The designer informs that for each piece in his collection, he works with various clusters of weavers from different parts of the country and fuses handwork with natural fabrics to create new designs. He uses his textile background to combine age-old techniques like the Jamdani with fabrics like silk, khadi, and cotton blends. He selects intricate motifs inspired by modern Japanese art, paisleys, animal and floral designs on royal Banarasi silk, Kanjeevaram silk sarees and Bandhej saris that are weaved for almost 6-8 months to perfection. Some of his high-end range also includes luxurious white silk saris decorated with delicate silver and gold threads in the border, and cost up to 3 lakh rupees and above.
Speaking about the sari range he showcased at the Claridges Delhi, Sailesh Singhania informs, “We have brought a collection of heritage handloom saris, revived from the era of the Nizam’s exalted dynasties. Our label celebrates the glory of Indian textiles such as Paithani’s, Patan Patola’s, tissue Kanjeevarams and Khadi Jamdani. I am humbled to be a part of the weaving community which carries such a rich and artistic history.”
At Sailesh’s recent sari showcase, we met many sari lovers who purchased his signature Khadi Jamdani, organza, Patola, Kalamkari, Kanjeevaram silks for the upcoming festive season. The designer also showed us a beautiful one-of-a-kind revival dupatta in rainbow shades, which was inspired by ancient Mughal design, and it took his weavers almost six months to complete and stitch it in alignment.
Thanks our friend and co-host Karan Bhardwaj of Born of Web, we also got to try a vivid checkered silk sari from his collection Shaahana and got some nice pictures to remember the beautiful drapes. Over the years, he has created a unique signature style that attracts many Indian sari lovers to go back to the roots and buy pieces of textile art that can be passed on to generations, so if you are passionate about collecting authentic handloom wear, you must check out this work at https://singhanias.in/ !