Vaishali Shadangule embarked on a road trip to search for an elusive handloom fabric that always fascinated her. Shadangule’s search for the forgotten textile took her via Pune, Solapur, Kolhapur and interiors of Maharashtra to Guledgudda in Karnataka. “It took two days of driving through remote areas and literally asking around. Back then, this village wasn’t even plotted on Google maps,” she recalls.
She has distinct memories of her Maharashtrian mother and grandmother who used to wear jewel coloured blouses made from khun. The fabric of Khun came at the centre of her eponymous label Vaishali S’ 2012 collection.
The fabric is a lightweight brocade one which comes in vibrant colours with a metallic sheen and is characterised by tiny motifs and a beautiful distinct border. This fabric was traditionally woven in the form of blouse pieces proffered to deities. Vaishali explained, “The weave originally employed motifs inspired by the local Badami Fort and its architecture, with faces of goddesses, animals and geometric shapes woven in. I thought it’s such a wonderful weave, why confine it to a blouse.”
Now her aim is to take this wonderful textile global through my work. She also is working towards improving the colour quality, provide weavers other avenues for sale and create much more refined collections suitable for Indian buyers and also her international clients who are placed in New York, Italy, UK and Middle-east.