With their ornate, handmade and homegrown aesthetic — designers Shyamal and Bhumika have capitalised on not just their home front — Ahmedabad — but also on global markets like US, UK and Canada
By Asmita Aggarwal
Why are families so important? Because sometimes they define not just who we are but also what we do. The same is true for Ahmedabad-based designer Shyamal Shodhan. So, although he did not follow his grandfather, Deepak Shodhan — an ace cricketer — or his great-grandfather, who started the first textile mill in Gujarat — his glorious past is reflected in his present-day aesthetic, which is ornate, handmade and homegrown. When Shyamal met his wife Bhumika, a NIFT-graduate, their interest in design became one and that’s when they started their couture label, Shyamal and Bhumika.
With almost two decades in the industry, the designer-duo haven’t just capitalised on the market back home — a city which is the economic and industrial hub of India — but have expanded their client-based globally. The designers recently opened their third flagship in DLF Emporio, Delhi in March 2018, after Ahmedabad and Mumbai. Other than this, they’re a part of several multi-designer stores in Mumbai, Delhi and Hyderabad. They also showcase their designs in Bibi London, UK and Aashni & Co, UK, House of Raina in Canada and a couple of stores in the US. But most importantly, Shyamal notes, “We have a massive reach across several countries on our social media platforms. We have developed a clientele from all over the world, who interact with our specialised online client-servicing team to order and create their dream Shyamal & Bhumika look.”
This is also the reason why Shyamal has become an ardent supporter of social media, which has transformed runways all over the world. “The digital and social media outreach is instant and widespread. Innovations have been made to runway presentations, keeping in mind, a global audience as compared to earlier when the shows were only for the spectators present at the show. Since live shows can be viewed across the globe, the source of information and feedback is immediate and this leads to rapid exchange of ideas,” believes Shyamal.
Their upcoming collection, however, will not just focus on the future, but also on the age-old craft and embroidery techniques that have formed the premise of his brand. According to Shyamal, their upcoming collection is so dynamic that it can be worn to a wedding reception, a formal cocktail event or even to the Opera in Paris. “As always, we are very passionate about using Indian craft and embroidery techniques in innovative ways. For our Fall 2018 collection, we have used the pitta and aari embroideries to stack multi-coloured sequins and tiny bugle beads in stunning motifs inspired by floral crests and botanical flowers and ferns. Opaque fabric appliqués have been used to create structured embellishments that give life-like effect,” he reveals.
One can also expect to see clothes made of rich fabrics like velvet, matka, tussar and silks, which will be draped in innovative ways. Plus, silhouettes like structured women’s sherwani with straight pants, dramatic cowl necks and slit gowns, textured flared skirts with complementing short jackets and glamorous organza ruffles will also be showcased this season. Shyamal adds, “The shapes and cuts are interesting, modern, but minimal to retain a ready-to-wear feel. Our extensive archives are a source of inspiration for us. They absorb our aesthetics and encourage our textile and fashion teams to innovate according to the changing millennial thought.”
As far as the future is concerned, Shyamal is aiming to expand his brand like never before, merging various forms of Indian craft with modern shapes and easy silhouettes. “In a creative field, such as fashion, one is always evolving. We always want to expand our creative horizons. We see the brand expanding in Africa, North America, Australia, the Middle East, the South East of Asia, the UK and other such territories where we already have a large following on social media. Our recent showcases, including the upcoming show at AIFW, Fall 2018, emphasises on luxury prêt, which is a product line we have developed alongside the bridal couture range. We have kept a special section for our luxury prêt collections at our newly opened store at the DLF Emporio mall as well,” he concludes.