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Weaving Threads

Updated: Oct 27, 2023

Paving the way to elegance, Designers Shyamal and Bhumika share about combining traditional crafts and modern silhouettes

Shyamal And Bhumika

Step into the world of fashion enchantment as we dig into the creative minds of Shyamal and Bhumika, the dynamic pair behind the captivating 'Sheesh Mahal' collection. The duo, known for their combination of history and modernity, takes us on a journey through their ethereal creations and devotion to sustainability, leaving us hungry to explore their unique blend of Indian heritage and contemporary style.

Shyamal & Bhumika is a well-known Indian design house created in 2003 by husband-wife team Shyamal Shodhan and Bhumika Shodhan. They are two of the most well-known and sought-after designers in India today. Their brand is connected with elegance, craftsmanship, and timeless style. The name is noted for its stunning couture pieces that combine traditional Indian craftsmanship with modern sensibility

In addition to bridal wear, Shyamal & Bhumika also offer a range of pret-a-porter garments, menswear, and accessories. They have also collaborated with several international brands, including H&M and Swarovski.

They take us on a journey through their latest collection, 'Sheesh Mahal,' and provide insights into their design philosophy, inspirations, and commitment to sustainability in this exclusive interview.

Tell us something about your new collection ‘Sheesh Mahal’. Give us an insight into how Sheesh Mahal is different from your previous collections in terms of silhouettes, crafts, and hue.

Our designs are constantly evolving every year as we absorb new inspirations. You will see some fine but noticeable changes to our use of color and motifs this season. The last collection featured hand-embroidered ensembles inspired by nature and tranquillity whereas this year’s collection draws inspiration from the intricate beauty of grand Indian architecture, a picturesque panorama of beautiful landscapes, and eclectic murals in a conglomeration of colors and cultures.

In this collection, one discovers an array of meticulously crafted masterpieces, from regal paneled lehengas to ethereal gowns, capes, draped skirts, stately sherwanis, and jackets in various styles. For the contemporary bride, you find fishtail skirts and sensuous sarees, accentuated blouses, and voluminous flared lehengas. Traditional silhouettes in paneled Kalidar lehengas, asymmetrical styles, classic kurtas, sensuous saris, bandhgalas, jackets, and sherwanis have been made keeping in mind Indian weddings.

With a refreshing take on the use of various traditional color palettes, we have used a blend of regal pastel hues in the collection. From ruby red to sage green, cardinal red to shell pinks. One finds muted Indian pastel shades used with jewel tones, classic reds, rich wine, muted ivory, emerald green, and blush pink in natural eco-friendly fabrics like matka silks, lustrous raw silks, handwoven brocades, crepe de chine, sheer tulle and organza.

India can never get over its wedding obsession, which is the one thing that

you are obsessed when it comes to Indian grooms?

We feel that the grooms of today can be given some exquisite pieces and yet their look would complement the bride. We are obsessed with giving our grooms an awesomely crafted, crisp, and comfortable look that would set the mood for the wedding day! Yes, weddings in India are awesome and for each occasion, the bride and the groom need to be given some specially custom-designed looks that make them stand out and yet complement each other and the setting of the wedding. For grooms, handcrafted embroidered sherwani jackets, long structured kurtas in pastel colors, asymmetric hemlines, and structured jackets work well for weddings and receptions. They can also now explore asymmetric jackets on trousers, salwars with long jackets, or layered bundis for different functions.

What attracted you two to the fashion industry and how would you

illustrate your journey?

Bhumika and I have been designing since 1999. We established Shyamal & Bhumika in 2003. Bhumika and I have always been encouraged to pursue design, our work was our calling since a very young age. As a teenager, Bhumika used to design clothes for herself. It was a delight to see her pursuing her passion and experimenting with designs, silhouettes, and textiles. At age 20, I was interning in Hyderabad learning about Indian crafts in the south, where I fell in love with the weaving of Pochampally and tried my hand at developing interesting color combinations and woven textures. Friends loved what I was doing and Bhumika(age 19) joined me in the creative process, sending me sketches of garments while interning in Bangalore. And, our first prêt collection was born. Thereafter, Bhumika’s graduating project of reviving the Amdavadi Real Zari weaving technique was our first step towards couture and wedding wear. We have been on a mission to take the crafts and skills of India to the world.

What was the idea behind choosing ethnic designs as your core catalog?

We get influenced by our rich culture and heritage the most. Ornate Indian architecture, old royal paintings, beautiful landscapes, rock carvings, traditional weaving, and embroidery techniques all inspire our designs. Our ethnic designs celebrate our rich cultural heritage, infuse a modern aesthetic in traditional fashion, and make a connection between the modern global South Asians and their roots. We make each design unique and have been modernizing some designs to appeal to millennial brides and grooms.

Tell us about your design process.

Inspirations are all around us from the architectural grandeurs of our ancestral homes, our personal travels, and tales we’ve grown up listening to have all inspired our work. The process followed is extremely detailed and meticulous. The initial phase starts with an idea, concept, or theme.

We then put together our ideas on paper, sketches, etc. The next phase is about detailing the collection, in the form of silhouettes, artwork, motifs, trends, etc. We study, research, and experiment with various materials, colors, and embroidery craftsmanship, finalizing detailed

intricate work of every outfit of the collection.

What is that one key highlight you bring to the table when dressing or

designing for a bride or groom?

We always use traditional elements even in our trendiest of ensembles. We combine traditional crafts and modern silhouettes. We have been using age-old craft in a new way that appeals to the modern aesthetic of our muse. We create clothes keeping in mind our muse, her tastes and experiences too. Our intricately hand-worked and handmade timeless ensembles create an everlasting impression on all.

Tell us about what goes behind the selection of fabrics and manufacturing


We use a lot of hand-woven silks, wide varieties of silks, Matkas and double matkas, moonga, tassar, and raw silks, all specially hand-woven for us for years. We also use a lot of tulle, crepe de chine, georgettes, and other translucent and flowy fabrics. Our fabrics come from various different weaving centers in India like Andhra, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Bangalore, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, etc. Manufacturing follows ethical and sustainable practices, ensuring every piece reflects our commitment to craftsmanship and sustainability. Once we bring our inspirations out on paper we detail out the collection, in the form of silhouettes, artwork, motifs, trends, etc. We study, research, and experiment with various materials, colors, and embroidery craftsmanship. The next phase is the production phase. As most of our outfits are customizable, we pay immense attention to the details of every single dimension and make sure the outfit is perfectly made to the specifications and requests of our clients. All our departments usually work in incredible sync to create impeccable outfits.

How do you include sustainability in your fashion creations?

Being environmentalists, we use eco-friendly, natural, and biodegradable fabrics. They are sourced from weavers from different states of India. We believe our handicraft industries are the finest in the world and need to be encouraged for a sustainable future. We are lucky to have the luxury of hand-woven fabrics in our country and we treasure them. As our designs evolve to appeal to a larger audience we are taking the crafts of India to mainstream Global fashion. As couturiers, we believe in promoting these ancient crafts and helping in the advancement of those sections of society who would lose not only their heritage but also their livelihood if these crafts are not revived and preserved. Our natural fabrics are biodegradable and our handcrafted designs create employment for thousands.

Tell us what goes behind the ideation and preparation of men’s ethnic wear.

Creating men's ethnic wear involves extensive research, drawing inspiration from diverse cultural elements, and crafting designs that resonate with tradition while incorporating modern aesthetics. It's a meticulous blend of heritage and innovation. Our designs take inspiration from the rich Indian heritage that is well over five thousand years old. We are constantly seeking ways to integrate India’s artisan techniques and design couture collections that would resonate with our modern yet traditional grooms.

What newer trends can we expect from you for men’s collections?

In our men's collections from Sheesh Mahal, we have a fusion of traditional and contemporary styles, and color palettes where one can experience a fascinating blend of regal pastel hues with intricate embroideries. Traditional silhouettes in bandhgalas, jackets, and sherwanis have been made keeping in mind Indian weddings. Couture, as always, holds its place, giving all these trends the much-needed uniqueness as handcrafted details transcend the garments into timeless masterpieces.

Who Is The Bollywood Actress and Actor You Want To See Your Designs On Or Style For Their Wedding?

A star can get a lot of attention and eyeballs to your work and efforts in Indian traditional techniques. Our teams are always excited when an actor or actress wears our work. We admire the versatility and style of many actors and actresses. It would be an honor to see our designs on anyone who appreciates the blend of tradition and modernity that we create.

How would you define today’s modern bride and groom and how has the nature of bridal couture evolved over the years?

The Indian Bride and groom have been traditionalists all along. With global exposure, they have come to appreciate the workmanship created by Indian artisans and the grandeur attached to it. They want to make a fashion statement and use Western nuances juxtaposed with Indian aesthetics to create their own identity. This year the need to differentiate her look is almost a necessity for the South Asian bride. Bridal fashion this year showcases a blend of both maximal and minimal elements. While some brides opt for elaborate, dramatic styles with trails, Western aesthetics, and glittering stones, the traditionalist brides embrace opulent but minimal styles in regal Indian textiles and craft, allowing for a diverse range of choices. We expect to create lehengas in custom vivid colors, strong jewel tones, bolder motifs, and traditional Indian colors. While voluminous flared lehengas with sensuous blouses, fish-tail skirts, and embroidered sarees are in trend for pre-wedding functions.

Name your favorite celebrity for whom you absolutely loved designing and who stands super close to your heart.

It's honestly tough to pick just one favorite celebrity we've designed for because we genuinely cherish working with all of them. Each experience is special, and we are grateful for every opportunity.

As a husband-wife duo, how do you strike a balance between your personal and professional lives?

Maintaining a work-life balance as a husband-wife team can be challenging, but we prioritize effective communication, set boundaries, and respect each other's roles. It helps us navigate both worlds harmoniously.

What fashion do you follow globally?

More than fashion we are influenced by the culture that surrounds us. Living in Ahmedabad, which is India’s first UNESCO World Heritage City, brings with it pride and a reflection of a different, more humble, more unassuming culture. Our family has always respected the Gandhian philosophy, which is reflected in the way we live, think, and design. We craft our ensembles with non-violence, self-discipline, and humility. More than fashion we are influenced by the culture that surrounds us.

Shyamal and Bhumika's journey demonstrates their love of design, their dedication to conserving Indian crafts, and their commitment to creating timeless couture that transcends fads. They continue to revolutionize Indian couture with "Sheesh Mahal," fusing tradition and modernity in a way that speaks to the modern bride and groom. Their environmentally friendly approach to design sets an example for the industry, and their creations are sure to create an indelible mark on everyone who wears them.

Written By: Ishita Singh

Edited By: Chirajita Gupta

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