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It’s July, which means that it’s officially blazing hot outside. And if you’ve got weddings or other events coming up and are thinking about crop top lehengas and itsy-bitsy cholis, we’d like to offer you another alternative. Think handloom. Specifically, beautiful cotton and silk blend chanderi saris, in bright pops of color that are the perfect blend of ease and elegance.
Although, lehengas and sparkly saris definitely have a place in your wardrobe, handloom saris have been making a sartorial impact on Indian fashion in a huge way. Over the last few years, there has been a movement to revive handloom fabrics and one brand that has been upping its cool factor is Raw Mango. Founded by textile designer Sanjay Garg in 2010, the brand grew from Garg’s desire to continue working with the chanderi weavers he met during his time with the Textile Ministry in Madhya Pradesh. What initially began with a few weavers from that region has grown to include over 350 craftsman from Varanasi, Bengal, Maharashtra and Rajasthan. One of the missions of Raw Mango is to educate consumers about the way handloom saris are made, which can take anywhere from seven days to a month to make and is touched by human hands every step of the way. The minor variations in the weave or the color palette only serve to enhance the artisan quality of the product. The name “Raw Mango” is actually a metaphor for the idea that beauty lies in the imperfections.
The minimalistic vibe of the line embodies the DNA of the brand which does zero marketing or advertising. The business has grown through word of mouth and the customer’s genuine love of the product. While most brands love having a celebrity endorsement, Garg remains indifferent. “I like to go beyond Bollywood. It’s not about positioning at fashion weeks and Bollywood. I don’t bother about Sonam Kapoor or magazines. They might say I am conservative. I say they are conservative. They know only one medium of communication. There are so many other kinds of marketing. And curiosity is one of them. In my store, there is no display. Everything is inside cupboards. When someone is coming to me, they already know what I make and what they want to see.”
Although, Raw Mango is best known for its saris, dupattas and shawls, Garg introduced a line of legengas in Banarasi silk last year which follows the same ethos of simplicity in design and minimal embellishment and has been a huge hit with brides looking for alternatives to zardozi and crystal encrusted lehengas.
So, what exactly is the best way to style these pieces? While there are no hard and fast rules, keeping things minimal is best to let the color, fabric and prints take center stage. But the beauty is that you can dress the look up or down, depending on your taste and the occasion.
Images via: Raw Mango, Ogaan and Jaypore