It was a fifteen year old struggle that has now reaped results. On an income of just Rs.500 as an office assistant in her first job, Vaishali Shadangule, 32, fashion designer has managed to bring herself up to a position where just three digits don’t do justice to her work.
As 18 years old, with stars in her eyes to make it big in the fashion world, she ran away from her hometown in Vidisha, a small town in Madhya Pradesh to Bhopal. With no idea about fashion or textiles, she banked upon her natural flair and aesthetic sensibilities about fashion; an inheritance from her father, who was an artist.
She was bereft of money to support her education in pursuing a fashion design course in those days. “I did my Bsc. from Barkatullah University in Bhopal and later I got into a small fashion institute”, says Shadangule, “but soon after I was asked to leave and my admission was cancelled”. Nevertheless, even that brief period in that institute helped her understand a few stitches and cuts and she managed to create her own portfolio. “I started attending fashion seminars, and also sourced the syllabus of fashion studies from a friend. In the process I got my first job with Rs.11,000 salary at an export house in Bandra”, says Shadangule. Thus she started her journey in the city of dreams. “I had major inferiority complex. I couldn’t even speak English and blend with the glitterati associated with this industry. I stopped working for sometime due to this” she says. But destiny had other plans for her. “I also had a brief stint as a gym instructor where I met all the creme de la creme of the Mumbai city. A bank manager there helped me get a loan of Rs.50, 000 with which I opened my first store in Malad. I was designing corsets at a time when it was associated with only film stars. In the times when European fashion was in vogue I modernised the traditional fabrics and gave a new look to the fading designs.” It’s been a long journey and today she employs around 40 people under her label – Vaishali S, a design house of some repute in Mumbai.
Her flagship store is a sprawling 2,000 sq feet multi-level outlet in the upscale northern suburb of Juhu. She has showcased her work in four seasons of Lakme Fashion Week and draws inspiration from pleasant childhood memories. Her first collection was on Chanderi, a delicate hand-woven fabric from her home state and she is known to revive textiles that are loosing its value in the upwardly times. And meanwhile in all this she got married, got in touch with her parents again and also has a five year old-daughter. And believe it or not after 11 years of work experience she recently finished her post-graduation in fashion design from Pearl Academy of Fashion in Delhi, which she never got to do in her initial days.