Sanjay Garg teaches Enrepreneurship via Xpert

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About Sanjay Garg

Sanjay Garg isn't an average fashion designer. He hails from a small village in Rajasthan, doesn't believe in fashion shows and works with traditional weavers to bring out contemporary hand woven textiles. In fact, it was his work with Chanderi weavers (spearheading the design and marketing of their products) that led him to be declared as the winner of the British Council's Young Fashion Entrepreneur Award for 2010.

Connect with Sanjay Garg's life

  • When you look back on why you started Raw Mango 10 years ago, your ideas at the time and your journey, does what inspired you then inspire you now?
  • How would you define sustainability?
  • Raw Mango is a unique brand. The palettes are filled with very Indian colours like lime green and rani pink. You don’t use models in your campaigns, and the images are very unlike the kind of fashion photography we are used to seeing. Can you tell us a bit about how and why you created this aesthetic?
  • You place great emphasis on the experiencing of your brand in your stores. The sarees are placed in cupboards and are taken out to be shown to the customer and just that one practice harks back to the more traditional experience of retail in India. How does it help?
  • When a customer starts browsing your collection, it feels like unveiling a surprise. Is this some kind of technique you use for your business?
  • You pay attention to the details, but you don’t overwhelm your customer. Why so?
  • These days, there is a lot of talk about how sarees are being revived. Do you think that this is a very narrow approach to the conversation when there are whole sections of the country in which the saree has never died?
  • What have been your personal milestones over this decade?
  • What do you find most exciting and, conversely, most challenging about being a part of Indian fashion now?
  • Do you see a new Indian aesthetic being created?
  • You have said in the past that you are not taken in by recognition from international museums or organisations. Why do you feel that way?
  • There is huge interest now in buying textiles and engaging with weavers and artisans, both as consumers and designers. Share with us your point of view about this.
  • What are your goals and hopes for the next decade, not just for Raw Mango but also for the industry?
  • Raw Mango has set a very distinctive tone for itself as a brand because, instead of the typical Bollywood glam that involves a lot of bling, it has been focused on beautiful handlooms and reviving in young women their love for saris. Tell us the thought behind it.
  • Have you always had a love for the handloom? Did you feel it needed a revival?
  • Because of this modern age, the art of sari draping is dying. More and more women don’t know how to drape and avoid saris because they find it difficult. How do you believe the sari will survive in our modern age? Do you find this is a problem you consider and try to address when designing your collections?
  • Can you describe the Raw Mango woman? Do you have a muse? Is there a woman who inspires you when you are designing?
  • Is there a type of silk sari that is your favorite?
  • Let’s talk about the collection, ‘Cloud People.’ Could you tell us about this collection, especially the name? You offer a pantsuit in a Bordeaux brocade, which took my breath away. Should we expect more separates and, for lack of a better word, Western silhouettes?
  • Share a piece of style advice with us.
  • How does Raw Mango plan to bring Indian handlooms and textiles on the world map?
  • When you started designing, what is it that you had set out to achieve?
  • How did your love affair with the sari start?
  • Do you remember the first sari you designed?
  • Why do you think your saris became so popular?
  • What exactly do you love so much about the sari?
  • Do you think the sari has shed its ‘uncool’ tag?
  • You have launched your garments line too. Tell us about it.
  • What’s coming up in the next season?
  • Why do you maintain a distance from the fashion industry?
  • What is your favourite motif, favourite colour and favourite fabric?
  • What are your thoughts on the handloom versus powerloom battle?
  • The concern was that if you take out saris from the handloom act, it would just kill the handloom industry because saris are by far the most visible and popular product. How do you propose addressing that?
  • What are your thoughts on the current sari revival movement?
  • How did you popularise handloom saris among contemporary women?
  • Do you think a campaign like “save the handloom culture” is counterproductive?
  • Given that The Victoria and Albert Museum and The Museum of Modern Art have displayed some of your pieces, when does a piece of garment become an art work?
  • For as long as we remember, we have only heard sad stories about our weavers. After GST came in, we heard, that weavers in Banaras, are quitting their profession and some of them have become auto-rickshaw drivers. Is the field of weaving gradually heading towards danger?
  • Since you add one new textile to your stable every year, what was it for 2018?
  • Any suggestions to improve the condition of our weavers?
  • They say you have single-handedly made the modern Indian woman salivate at the Benarasi and Chanderi.
  • Who do you cater to, the mother or her daughter?
  • At one time, your sarees were a lesson in botany. I believe your team made 500 drawings of flowers and fruit for the Vana collection. Why monkeys this time?
  • Describe the primary difference between your Delhi and Mumbai buyer?
  • How do you do your research?
  • You say you are a textiles guy, not a designer. What compelled you to move from saree to stitched garments?
  • Your worst nightmare during this transition – can you relive it for us?
  • You’ve socked the populist idea of stylish in the face – your campaigns seem to say, it’s not about cleavage, heels or make-up. Is it sustainable?
  • Share one unique fact about the Chanderi and Benarasi that may come as a surprise to the textile connoisseur.

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