for Swati & Sunaina Gold
2022 | Banaras, India

A deep dive into studying the wild silks of India that have unique characteristics and properties that are yet unexplored in the mainstream segment of textiles and fashion became the leading thought behind this collection. These silks are relatively new to the looms of Banaras and are rarely used vis-a-vis mulberry silk. The yarns of Muga, Tussar and Eri are derived from silkworms that grow in forests in the wild and are hence called the ‘Wild silks of India’.
  Mulberry, tussar, eri and muga cocoons

The word “vanya” is of Sanskrit origin, meaning untamed, wild, or forest-based.

Vanya sericulture remained obscure for a long time as an exclusive craft of tribal and hill folks inhabiting the Central and North Eastern India.

The journey started with understanding the properties of these different yarns, their interaction with each other and the viability of bringing the four silk yarns on a single piece of textile inspite of their varying characteristics.

Experiments with the wild silks in the weft, allowed for a range of experiments in textures. Their natural colours — a yellowish gold for muga, an off white for eri and a brownish gold for tussar— further allowed for different design possibilities. Appropriately, Vanya — meaning wild, or of the forest — becomes a literal representation of the special silks used, which are cultivated outside of mainstream fibres.

The collection celebrates the concept of the Indian night garden seen in miniature paintings, epitomised through a use of Indian floral motifs by reimagining traditional layouts and weaves of the Banaras repertoire.

This is the first such extensive exploration of
contemporary Banaras handlooms in such silks by exploring creative possibilities in the traditions of Rangkaat, Tissue, Kadhuwa and Gyaser.

A further study about the fragrant white flowers indeginous to India resulted in designs that are based on sacred geometry and realistic drawings of six white Indian flowers.

The Brahmakamal (night blooming cereus), Aparajita (butterfly pea), Rajnigandha (tuberose), Bela (arabian jasmine), Juhi (night
blooming jasmine) and Champa (plumeria), with their shades and tones of white, come alive with the use of Eri silk.


India has diverse traditions of weaving garlands of fragrant flowers to celebrate different occasions. This was a prominent inspiration. The intent was to create an illustrative quality of weaving on the sarees to give a realistic feel of flowing garlands.

The first phase of design development took the form of visits to wild silk spinning centres to determine the possibilities of yarn which can be sourced for sampling on the looms of Banaras. The second, involved the trial of several options of the base fabrics through the use of yarns in the warp and weft, and in brocading. The suitability for their use in the drape of sarees was a guiding factor, to create fabrics with relevant weights and fall. And finally, permutations and combinations of textures which would be relevant to decorative and geometrical patterns appropriate to the brand’s signature styles were developed.

The Collection

Image credits - Swati & Sunaina Gold

Packaging and Journal design