Raw Mango founder and fashion designer Sanjay Garg, who is celebrating the 10th anniversary of his celebrity-favourite brand in 2018, has been instrumental in the revival of a number of Indian textiles such as chanderi, brocade, mashru, chikankari. He is glad to see many people helping in preserving Indian heritage. However he doesn’t want to see this trend as short lived but a momentum that continues to support handloom.
“I am glad to see more people being involved in preserving our heritage – however, I hope that this is not just a ‘trend’ or short-lived and instead creates a momentum that continues to support handloom,” Garg said in an e-mail interview.
He also says the handloom sector is still to get its due credit.
“I don’t necessarily think that it has – there is still much to be said and done. Handloom speaks to many communities and the human condition. We tend to express this as ‘us working with them’, though I believe breaking this distinction is critical. The sooner we begin to address this as ‘us’, it will be easier to recognizse the value and changes that need to be made in this sector,” he said.
Raw Mango was born out of a thought to re-look fashion and design without any preset notions. It is a brand of contemporary Indian handwoven textiles crafted using traditional techniques.
Before founding Raw Mango, Garg has worked for Shades of India for a few years followed by working for the cluster development programme in Madhya Pradesh undertaken by the Textile Ministry. This was the turning point in his life when he decided to continue working with the weavers even after the project terminated. This marked the beginning of his work with the Chanderi weavers. Since then he has worked with weavers of Chanderi, Varanasi, Bengal and the block printers of Akola in Rajasthan so far and hopes to work with many more handloom and crafts clusters around the country.
His work has always been central to him as a person and he loves to collect old textiles, which helps him in his professional career and educating him about the various textiles of the country. Apart from textiles he loves gardening and cooking in his free time.
Talking about how one can convince artisans and weavers to work closely with the fashion industry, he said: “After many years of working with weavers all over the country and building a team that is like family – I believe that they naturally feel part of the system when they are getting fair business and wages – as long as they have work and are treated ethically they are satisfied.”
Talking about how he keeps himself inspired for every new collection and season, the designer said: “India is an eventful country – from the diversity in cuisine, weather, or politics etc. We are filled with stories and interpretations. There isn’t a moment in our day-to-day lives when something mad or bizarre isn’t heard or seen – why look for inspiration elsewhere?”
How does Raw Mango plan to bring Indian handlooms and textiles on the world map?
“We complete a decade this year, and the realisation of this milestone and planning for the future in terms of the growth of the business and new opportunities is top of mind. Especially to not become complacent within a narrow definition of design. We will continue to expand boundaries of the brand, and what I am as a designer through more stores of our own, and to sell our products to a larger audience both in India and globally,” said Garg.