Designer Vaishali Shadangule is the first woman from India to participate in the Paris Haute Couture Week, held from July 5 to July 8. She is the first woman designer from India featured in the show and only the second designer after Rahul Mishra. Shadangule was part of the eight designers showcasing her eponymous label. The designer staged the Couture Week debut alongside heavyweights like Dior, Balenciaga and Jean Paul Gaultier.
However, life was different for this 43-year-old two decades back. Vaishali was just 17-years-od when she left her home in search of her dreams. Having a restricted exposure to the outside world, she had no idea about the bigger cities and towns. She then moved to Bhopal without ever thinking of fashion or designing and wanted to explore the world. She took up the job of an office assistant in a builders office for which she got Rs 5000 a month. During her job, she would advise her fellow employees how to style themselves better and the kind of clothing that would suit them. People started appreciating her, and that is how her interest in fashion and designing began.
Small Town Girl
"I started recommending dressing styles to my clients and found that people loved my ideas on what suited them best. That sealed the deal on my career and I started designing clothes for them," she was quoted as saying.
She then shifted to Vadodra, Gujarat where she worked as an illustrator. Then in 1998, she moved to Mumbai to fly high in life. To begin with, she worked in an export house as a designer. In the meantime, she got a job at a local gym as a nutritionist.
In 2001, Vishali opened her first boutique in Malad Mumbai with the money she has saved all these years. "I left my daughter (barely two years old then) with my husband, who has been a huge support and shuttled back and forth between Mumbai and Delhi to ensure my business was stable. But it helped: that education opened up a new world of fashion for me," she was quoted as saying.
Showcasing Her Creations
Within a span of 10 years, she then opened two more boutiques in Mumbai and later went to study fashion at Delhi's Pearl Academy. She did her post-graduation in fashion from the Domus Academy in Milan. In 2011, she showcased by creations at the Lakme Fashion Week. She said that she got the idea of how the fashion world works. She thought her looks were so 'out of the ordinary even to be considered in this industry. However, she changed her mind after presenting her collection at the New York fashion week in 2015.
Vaishali started working with the 'chanderi' fabric as it reminded her of her mother. Today, she is known for her handlooms and exciting take on textiles. The designer's creations are known for their interesting silhouettes and shapes. Working with authentic woven textiles, perennially telling a culturally rich tale about the country's heritage, the brand has endeavoured to lend the Indian handloom weave a global design language of expression since March 2001.
"I think the dream of any designer that is in love with her mission. I am. I have always dedicated my work to revive the treasures of India hand-weaving tradition, through the Indian traditional way of life, which today has become mainstream: Sustainable (socially, environmentally, economically), Circular, focused on intricate handwork," she had said in one of her Instagram posts after sharing the announcement for appearing in Paris Haute Couture Week.
"I hope this achievement at this time will somehow help us see what we are capable, the world see what India is also capable of making the headlines for," she had said.
Also Read: 'Vaccine On Wheels': Pune Innoculates 5,000 Vulnerable People Against COVID In 20 Days