Over years now, we have seen the pivotal role the traditional handloom and textile industry has played in shaping the diversity, culture and the economy of this country. A representation of life, if we may say so. It is so vast, complex, colourful and dynamic yet playful and imbued with the simplicity and charm of each state it stems from. Skills passed on from generation to generation of artisans, are the priceless possessions of our country, thus making it imperative to sustain and protect this craft for the future.
Raw Mango, a voice more than a brand name, founded by Sanjay Garg has played a great role in redefining the handloom and textile industry, and has been instrumental in the revival and preservation of understated crafts such as chanderi, Varanasi brocade, mashru, and sooti. Sanjay’s relationship with handloom began in 2008 as an investigation of possibilities, creating conversations via textile, culture, and politics through a range of apparels and objects. The unique voice has given a perspective through design, resplendent with colours, philosophies and the culture of India. He has brought together works of karigars across Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, and Varanasi, innovating upon centuries of old and forgotten skills in pursuit of establishing a new aesthetic vocabulary.Moomal by Raw Mango at LFW 2020
Raw Mango’s journey started a decade ago, with the simple ‘saree’ collection from 2010 that was introduced through pared-down motifs and layouts using a traditional colour palette. The flamingo sari, ramkali sari, chaarbagh sari, Bodhgaya sari were some standouts from the collection. The line grew stronger season after season demonstrating creative visions and explorations with textiles and craft that have been both innovative and varied. His weaves are known to be celebrated in hues of vermilion red, royal blue, forest green, lime yellow, and gulabi pink almost always assuming centre stage.Raw Mango's Moomal collection at LFW 2020
Fast forward to today. Decadently stark, Raw Mango’s Festive 2020 line “Moomal” that was released digitally at Lakmé Fashion Week in October had the narrative theme woven in the concept of love transcending religion and borders. This romantic love of folklore and nostalgia for his hometown Mubarikpur, Rajasthan came together beautifully. Sanjay mentions his travels across Shekhawat, Bikaner, and Barmer inspiring the visual language of this campaign. Portraying a typical Marwari wedding and the nuances of the culture, Moomal was shot in the havelis of Skekhawat using its original décor to keep it as authentic as possible. Drawing from his past yet imagined for the future, the traditional aesthetics of folk meet with Marwari garments as a newfound harmony within textiles, silhouettes and colours.Raw Mango's collection Moomal collection, presented at LFW 2020
Newly introduced techniques like bhandej and the region’s metallic gota. Bold in both colour and combination, Rajasthan’s multiplicity of layers lives across textiles and motifs; jade green and white Rajasthani poshaks, rani pink gathered lehengas and desert orange cholis. The peacock, a central motif of the collection, dances amidst graphic lines of textile and embroidery. Interpreted from folk art, the peacock draws from oral traditions, both its layout and language representing the importance of this style, one unstudied yet significant.Behind The Scenes - Raw Mango at LFW 2020
Part nostalgic and part re-imagined ‘Moomal’ is a celebration of Rajasthani folklore. As Sanjay mentions “the whole project was a homage to my home state where tradition and craft has been the mainstay of artisans for centuries and is an amalgamation of textile and culture. It is my interpretation of the region through my stories and memories, from childhood to adulthood. Much that I wish to resurrect, revive and reinstate”. Rajasthan, considered as the craft soul of India, has deep rooted Indian culture and heritage. This festive collection of Raw Mango brings alive the contrast and harmony of colours, textiles and silhouettes.
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A bit about me:
A luxury and fashion journalist with 25 years of experience in publishing and magazine journalism, I have edited some of India’s top fashion and luxury magazines. I got my BA in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley, and went on to receive my Master’s in English and French from the University of Strasbourg, France. I have also studied German and Film. I live in Gurugram, India, and look forward to once again exploring our world with a new-found freedom.
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