It’s been over a few decades that Shravan has been designing clothes, and over the years he has been extensively working with native weavers, recreating the handlooms to fit into pret, couture and wedding wear. Going back in time to revive heirloom sarees, and recreating the antique designs, the passionate designer has always combined innovation and technique with tradition and heritage that give timeless quality to his designs. He says fashion is his religion, “I eat, breathe and live handlooms. India has always experienced organic and sustainable way of living. It is nothing new. We had our grandmothers, who wore a cotton saree dipped in turmeric during their wedding, we had our beautiful indigoes, we used to grow our own cotton, we had vegetable dyes and the technique of drying the colours in the sun. This is the beauty of our country that is recognised the world today.”
Going back to handlooms is going back to our roots, believes Shravan. “Handloom has a heart soul and a stomach to feed.” It is perhaps this connection that excites him each time he creates his collection. Be it the wedding wear in Khadi, getting into high fashion, the almost extinct Mata ni Pachedi, or creating a perfect confluence of the pride weaves of Telangana and western silhouttes and textures – Shravan has always strived to up his ante each time in bringing traditional weaves, tribal crafts, and heirloom designs back into the mainstream.
He has persuaded several royal families, to dig out their treasured heirloom sarees, many times, helping them revive the sarees, going back in time to research on the origin of the weave, and working with the weavers to recreate the treasured designs.
One of his latest collection of sarees goes back to the Nakshabandhs in recreating the unique weaving technique that takes inspiration from nature, and has given elegance many a Benarsi weaves. “The quintessential yards of elegance are a glowing tribute to the Nakshabandhas, the supreme masters of art and their age-old hand weaving skills near to annihilation. This collection represents the cosmos and in one continuous fabric the waft and weft representing the social, cultural, heritage and historic values of India creating a new aesthetic dimension.’
Perhaps this definition holds good for the essence of Shravan’s Design Studio where heritage is the key word.
Shravan will be part of ATA (American Telugu Association) celebrations where he will be presenting the weaves of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
“We will be depicting all the beautiful weaves of Deccan Plateau that will be put together to epitomize beauty. We will have the Narayanpets, Mangalagiris, ikats, Gadwals, Kalamkaris, Siddipet Handlooms, Nalgonda fabrics, Gollabhama sarees. The second and third generation of Indians in the US, some of them Miss Indias as well, will be adoring the beautiful sarees that represent the essence and smell of handloom.
It is the knowledge of high loom that I am going to pass on to the Telugu people in the US. Knowledge is forever and will be transferred to the next few generations. They are going to understand the various fabrics, about why there is a concoction of Telangana and Maharashtra influences in Ilkal, the essence and presence of a Maharashtrian Nauvari on the Deccan’s Narayanpet weaves.
They will learn about the amazing reds, peacock blues, bottle greens, deep reds, maroons, mustard yellow, orange.”
And this time Shravan will be showing high fashion red carpet gowns made out of Telugu weaves. “My aim is to create a red carpet look that our own Kim Kardashians will be wearing with pride.” He states.
On his favourite fabric though, Shravan relates, “I like Ikat because of its heritage. “It has originally emerged in the Mattancherry Palace in Kerala before travelling far and wide, acquiring the forms of Pochampally, Patan Patola, Bandha Ikat form Odisha. It is a yarn tie and dye method with a fantastic aura about it.
Following the showcase of his designs at the 17th American Telugu Association Convention and Youth Conference at Washington, the Hyderabad-based designer will be doing a wedding fest in association with Khadi Udyog in September for the whole of US and Europe.