by Marc Almagro, photos courtesy of Gaurav Gupta


Gaurav Gupta’s fame as a couturier supports his efforts to protect traditions, livelihoods, and the environment

Anyone who believes that high fashion is created in a hothouse environment can stop now. Renowned couturier Gaurav Gupta, who has dressed international celebrities in his one-of-a-kind creations, works with an eye on what is happening beyond his workplace.

previous arrow
next arrow

He even decided to set up his atelier in Noida, just outside Delhi, for the number of skilled craftsmen who live in the vicinity. “We discourage the mass migration of craftspeople who are looking for work,” he declares. “We want to see them perfecting their skill and earning a living off it while staying with their families.”

Gaurav’s atelier employs about 500 staff, most of whom are artisans, but he also outsources jobs such as beadwork that is a feature in most of his creations. By doing so he ensures that traditional crafts are not neglected and forgotten. This practice also provides traditional artisans with positive challenges and new applications of their skills, allowing them to stay gainfully employed and proud of their work, the couturier adds.

previous arrow
next arrow

Gaurav is passionately committed to environmental protection, ensuring that green practices are adapted in various aspects of his production. Whenever possible, he uses fabrics manufactured using ocean or landfill plastics. Recycled from plastic bottles, they last longer than some ‘virgin’ fabrics, he emphasises. He even uses recycled and recyclable paper for packaging. “It’s making those small conscious decisions at every point that matters.

“I don’t think (whatever we’re doing for the environment) is ever enough,” Gaurav admits. “To be honest, the fashion industry came to the realisation too late, and it’s still hardly doing anything. There’s a lot of greenwashing going on.”

previous arrow
next arrow

The world sees Gaurav as a South Asian or an Indian designer. “But for me personally, I belong to the whole universe. It’s not intentional that I’m inspired by ancient Egyptian, ancient African or ancient Indian cultures; I just am – I’m inspired by the whole universe.” This perspective allows him to focus on both local and global issues that affect his trade.

“I don’t want to limit my techniques, but the reality is I work with Indian craftsmen who work with Indian techniques, but the result do not necessarily look ‘very Indian’. So, I’m in fact, challenging the perception of what Indian or South Asian craftsmanship is.”

previous arrow
next arrow

With fans across the globe, Gaurav is justifiably strategic about his expansion plans. He wants to bring to each market whatever is relevant for the customers and his brand. He reveals plans of opening up a retail business in Singapore in five years’ time, a move that will showcase more of his daywear. “Right now, our focus is eveningwear but we’re gradually moving into (daywear). I think that’ll be the more expandable market for us globally as well.”

related posts