She Returned to India from UK for the Love of Benarasi

Sari aficionado Srishti Madhav returned from London to work with the weavers in Varanasi. Her mission? To revive the gorgeous Benarasi drape

As a young girl in Delhi, Srishti Madhav was intrigued by colours and styles and how they could be married together to create the perfect look. “Initially I just put together outfits for myself, but eventually I started doing it for others too and this sparked my interest in fashion design,” says the attractive 26-year-old, who particularly remembers the first time she went to Varanasi.

Srishti Image 3“I visited some weavers who were creating a sari from scratch. I was so fascinated by this genesis that I could not stop thinking about this immense talent and skill hidden in Varanasi,” she narrates.

Having studied fashion styling and designing from London College of Fashion, Srishti started her own venture last year called Shree by Srishti to put a spotlight on the artistic prowess of Benarasi weavers. “Art alone cannot help these immensely talented craftsmen attain a livelihood,” emphasises Srishti, who studied in Delhi’s prestigious Vasant Valley School.

Starting out with saris and dupattas retailing from India and UK, the label has now also expanded to a range of ethnic ensembles. Their new line of outfits was unveiled in Manchester, UK, this May. Srishti has also held solo exhibitions in several Indian cities from Delhi to Visakhapatnam, and her pieces are available at select multi-designer stores in Raipur and Nagpur.

“During winter, our collection leans more towards royal silk creations while for summer our focus is on bringing together comfort and style with fabrics such as chanderi, summer silk and so on. Since we directly source from the weavers, our price points are very competitive,” shares Srishti, whose customers are successful, progressive women who also enjoy investing in timeless classics.

srishti 1Srishti credits her husband, who is a sports buff and an investment catalyst, for his unstinting support in her venture. She’s also driven to make her label bigger at every step by her parents-in-law, and finds strength from her mentor and spiritual guru.

Ultimately, Srishti’s work is all celebrating the beauty of Indian crafts while also enabling the creators. “Our constant endeavour has been to allow these weavers to earn a living and showcase their talents through our designs,” she signs off.

First published in the July 2017 issue of eShe magazine

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