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Who is Vaishali Shadangule, the first Indian woman designer to partake in Paris Fashion Week?

In the upcoming Paris Fashion Week (June 21-26) Indian designer Vaishali Shadangule is all set to showcase her collection. This will make her the second Indian designer — after Rahul Mishra in 2020 — to partake in the festival, and the first Indian woman.

The 43-year-old designer has had an incredible journey. Founder of the eponymous brand Vaishali S, she started in the year 2001. But her story begins even before that, when she ran away from Vidisha, a town in Madhua Pradesh in 1997. But it took her a while to discover her passion for designing.

A profile on Rediff.com states she used to work as a trainer at a gym. But created an amateur portfolio in her free time.  A report in Huffington Post further states that during that time, she would recommend styling tips to clients. They loved it. “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.

 

That was a turning point. She soon took a bank loan and opened a boutique in Malad. There were only two full-time tailors. To sharpen her skills, she also enrolled in a designer course in Delhi while her business grew. “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.

In 2011, she debuted at the Wills India Lifestyle Fashion Week and impressed all with her unique aesthetic sensibilities. She actively used Chanderi to make dresses which, up until then, was a preserve for saris. Her collections are deeply rooted in traditions, her home in Madhya Pradesh while never losing focus from sustainability. In the past, she has also showcased her collection in New York Fashion Week.

“Pressure steaming up in the last three weeks, working incessantly at finishing the collection for the great event in Paris. Each pre-collection is a moment of excitement and anxiety of what is finally going to take shape. This one though has been special. Conditions have made the logistics even more complicated, which resulted in great focus and commitment. Now working at the last details. Can’t wait to show you my first Haute Couture Collection!” she wrote on her Instagram, alluding to the upcoming Paris Fashion Week.

Sharing the announcement, the designer, who has dressed Sonam Kapoor and others, wrote: “It is a dream come true, 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 India ancestral way of life, which today has become mainstream: Sustainable (socially, environmentally, economically), Circular, focused on intricate hand work.”



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