Embracing subtlety and extravagance 

Delhi-based designer Sawan Gandhi gives us a glimpse of his latest festive sartorial offering, becoming a favourite among Bollywood celebrities, and more

author_img Simi Kuriakose Published :  01st November 2022 12:00 AM   |   Published :   |  01st November 2022 12:00 AM

Campaign images from Sawan Gandhi’s latest festive 2022 collection titled ‘Inaaya’. (File Photo)

A VID followers of celebrity off-duty fashion will be quick to discern how a few actors (and their stylists) have been constantly steering towards classic and non-dramatic Indian wear styles. In the crop of designers who are associated with delivering subtle sartorial offerings, Sawan Gandhi’s is a name from Delhi-NCR that seems ubiquitous right now. With a store in Mehrauli, Gandhi (38) has, over the years, become a go-to designer when opting for festive, ethnic wear, with everyone from Alia Bhatt to Madhuri Dixit-Nene—in fact, in a recent interview with Indulge, Rakul Preet Singh named him one of her favourite designers—putting their best foot forward in his creations. In an interview with Gandhi—he is a Sainik Farm resident who was born and raised in Guwahati—the designer gets candid about his love for Bollywood, his first stint as a designer, and more. Excerpts from an edited interview…

Genesis of the brand 
It was an ardent love for cinema—Bollywood in particular—that stirred in Gandhi a passion for all things sartorial. The designer reminisces, “I did not study fashion. Nobody in our family was into fashion. But I was always intrigued by clothes, colour, aesthetics, etc. I’ve always been a movie buff and I enjoy watching Karan Johar and Yash Chopra’s movies.” 

Watching the grandeur Sanjay Leela Bhansali brought to screens with Devdas, changed everything for Gandhi. He recalls, “When I saw Devdas for the first time, I realised I want to do something of this sort—movie-making, direction, or make clothes. The extravagance of a Bhansali set, the clothes, and how Madhuri and Aishwarya [Rai Bachchan] looked intrigued me. I saw the film more than 20 times, and that’s when I wanted to do something creative.” 

The self-taught designer eventually took his first step in the fashion world, “I decided that I wanted to make clothes. I did not study fashion or work under somebody. I had no prior knowledge or idea of how things work. I still don’t remember how I got hold of my first tailor. I just made 15 sarees to start with, clicked pictures, and sent those pictures to importers of Indian clothes in the USA (that is exactly what I searched on Google). This was in 2010.” The designer received his first order (“150 sarees from a buyer in Texas”) through these 15 designs; his business took off; and there was no looking back.  

Drawing history
Gandhi ensures that he sticks to classic designs. Giving us an idea of his design language, he says, “I would say it is classic, timeless, simple, and neat. There’s no fuss, it’s simple. My work is intricate and it’s not loud or over-the-top.” 

The designer works with fabrics including georgettes, chanderi silks, raw silk. He shares, “We work with local artisans only. Most of the work done is in-house—dyeing to fabrication, embroidery, and stitching; everything is in house.” 

His latest festive collection Inaaya is an extension of his past collection Inaayat, which he mentions was a hit back when it was introduced. Giving us an insight into his collection, Gandhi concludes, “For Inaaya, we made clothes on similar lines to Inaayat… similar colour aesthetics, but different techniques and crafts. We added chikankari embroidery, and more appliqué work. The blouses in Inaaya are more modern, it’s got a younger feel to it. The colours are more vibrant and fresher.”