A ‘reluctant fashion darling’, Sanjay Garg, Founder, Raw Mango, likes to spend his time in the solitude of the hills, overlooking a river, finds out Shikha Pushpan.
Chanderi, a small town along river Betwa in Madhya Pradesh, was a forgotten land until a few years back when it suddenly appeared on the fashion map of India. Sanjay Garg’s romance with the five-centuries old Chanderi weave has taken the heritage textile from the corridors of the Indian elite to the global fashion business. Five of his Chanderi sarees are a proud part of the permanent collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. But the man behind it all is as understated as his minimalist brand, Raw Mango.
Garg hails from a small village in Rajasthan, but has found his home in Delhi—a city which has become more or less his muse. “I have loved many cities, but it always comes back to Delhi for me,” says the designer, whose collection finds its roots in Chanderi, Benaras, Akora, and Bengal among other places. As someone who is always on the lookout for rare indigenous textiles, Garg says, “There are many cities brimming with talent in India. It is a matter of nurturing, opportunity, and discovery.”
Unlike many celebrated designers of his league, Sanjay Garg prefers to remain low-key. Not surprisingly, the Raw Mango website has no mention of his name. “I prefer the work to speak for itself,” he says. His holiday choices are an extension of this eccentric self. The last time he spent some time on his own was in the Palani Hills of Tamil Nadu. “I love so many places, but I am partial to Delhi,” says the designer.