Drape a classic

From vivid paisleys to pictoral tales from the Ramayana, Shruti Gupta of Shaza uses delicate pashmina wool shawls to tell her stories 
Drape a classic

As a child, reading came naturally to Shruti Gupta. When she grew up, the love for stories remained, except now she wanted to tell them—tales of an era gone by, of traditions, craftsmanship and more. To that end, she found accessories brand Shaza in 2017. “We embroider life on pashmina,” says the 30-year-old, whose designs are inspired by nature and folklore.

All of which were evident in the shawl they crafted for Kriti Sanon to wear during the promotions of Adipursh. The actor paired her Anarkali kurta with a kalamkari shawl that took two years to create. Intricately embroidered with tales from the Ramayana, it is a saga told in the most meticulous mesh of stitches.

This was just one of the creations from Shaza’s wide repertoire of delicate pashmina wool shawls in patterns harking back to royal and Kashmiri heirloom motifs such as paisleys and vines, mythological stories from the epics, patterns from old forgotten documents, inspirations from monuments, carpets and paintings. Priced between Rs 5,000 and Rs 15 lakh, each piece is a collector’s item, meant to be passed on through generations of women.

Shaza, which comes from a Persian word meaning fragrance of a woman, is aimed at clients who are not just aware, but also proud of their traditional heritage. “In the last five years, we have seen a shift in our audience with younger women embracing heirlooms by making them a part of their contemporary wardrobe. They look at it as a statement-maker that defines their unique styles,” says Gupta. 

But how did she, with a Masters in Wildlife Science, switch to shawl-making? The entrepreneur says she has always loved the soft drape of a shawl. “It has been a beacon of age-old luxury and royalty. It is an inclusive garment for all genders, ages, body types and occasions. Moreover, the fact that my father was in the textile business opened me up to the possibility of doing something with fabrics,” she says.

Indian craftsmanship is at the core of Gupta’s process and mission. “From the start of pashmina weaving to complicated needle-skill techniques, we are closely involved with our weavers. Each product goes through a minimum of 12 karigars before it reaches our shelves,” she says. Next on the horizon for Shaza is its first-ever artwork collection— a painting series called Jharonkhas—that will recreate tales of Krishna.

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The New Indian Express