Designer Vaishali Shadangule’s portfolio includes a collection shot underseas—a series of stunning photographs that showcases colourful fabrics and intricate designs amid corals, fishes and shrimps. But there is a backstory to this unique venture. In 2019, during a trip to the Maldives, the 43-year-old mother of one decided to go scuba diving. The dive, in her own words, opened up a “miraculous, magical world” world to her. And she was back sometime later for the underwater photo-shoot for her couture collection titled ‘Shwas’, the Sanskrit word for breath. “I don’t even know swimming,” she says.
But then, Vaishali has never been afraid of venturing into the unknown. Or facing her deepest fears. Like when she left her home in Vidisha, a small town in Madhya Pradesh, with just a dream and a few thousand rupees. That was in 1996. She was just 19. Earlier in 2021, she became the first Indian woman to showcase her collection at the Paris Fashion Week, considered the Holy Grail of global fashion events. This is her story. The story of a small-town girl braving the odds to find her place under the spotlight. The story of a remarkable journey from Vidisha to the fashion capital of the world.