Gautam Kothari of Kothari Sons is moving ahead at a fast pace to create a designing and embroidery House with a reputation so vast that European Royalty asks for him. He has turned out fine textiles and embroidery for the Indian fashion scene. He has mixed and matched fashion with shrewd business sense which led him to European fashion grounds. He credits his success to his being at the right place at the right time.
About yourself: Started in 1906, the history of our embroidering dates back a 100 years when we started as the embroiderers and clothiers of the royal family of Scindia. Kothari Sons now designs exquisite sarees for the present Maharani, HH Priyadarshini Raje Scindia who, in a recent article in the London Vogue, included the showroom in her list of favourite place to shop! It’s the fourth generation of our family in this business. We specialize in lehengas, sarees, suits, stoles and evening gowns. We produce rare textiles which is not produced anywhere in India. We have produced exclusive embroidery for Indian Designers and Designer stores like Tarun Tahiliani, Indian Textiles, Villa Appearances, Burlington’s of Bombay, Rinaldi, Taj Treasures, Sheraton Treasures etc.
We export hand woven fabrics and embroidery to top stylists in Italy, France, Belgium and the UK. Our export line was initiated by my wife Deepika and me 12 years back. We did plenty of research before deciding that our work of embroidery had the potential to appeal to the discerning customer in Europe.
Exhibitions: Rajmata Madhvi Raje Scindia, wife of the late Shri Madhav rao Scindia, inaugurated the Kothari Sons Exhibition at the Usha Kiran Palace Hotel in 1999. We have held exhibitions of our Chanderi and exquisite embroidery work at New Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore which were grand successes.
Inspiration: I was tutored and guided in the art of embroidery and colours by my mentor Sushil Kumarji Gupta of the Indian Textile Company at Taj Colaba, Mumbai. I would also like to mention here my grandfather, Late Shri Hans Raj Ji Kothari and great grandfather, Late Shri Sugan Chand Ji Kothari who was the founder of Kothari Sons.
Effort: Hand woven fabrics were produced since the 14th century in European centres like Lyon, France or Venice, Italy but due to escalating costs have now stopped. We have started producing these medieval textile in India for the past 9 years and we even do some of the designs in real silver for our European clients.
Most expensive: We did a work worth EUR 9,500 (Rs. 8.06 lacs) for a client in Malta. It had components of real gold weaving as well as hand embroidery.
Career highlight: When we received the best showroom award in the centenary year of the Gwalior Trade Fair by Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee for our unique collection and display. We created the facade of Westminster Abbey, London. We did the embroidery and trousseau for the wedding of Albert II, Prince of Monaco with Charlene Lynette Wittstock.
Mistake: I commenced readymade work but then I learnt that we should stick to what we specialize in i.e. embroidery.
Coming 5 years: It will revolve around textiles and in expanding my retail business. Also an online platform for our products is on the cards. My dream is to start a textile museum in Gwalior.
Philosophy about fashion: Fashion trends keeps changing but art is constant. I would say in fashion, color comes first, design comes after that and then style.
Fashion trend: Anything which is classy like the thread or zardozi embroidery, whereas the stone embroidery is out.
Challenging part: Getting workers and training new people. I give the concept of what stitch, color, look that I am aiming for and then a sample is created.
Indian fashion: Indians are the leaders in embroidery, whereas Pakistan and China produce cheap embroidery.
Designer choice: I would love to work with Italian fashion designer Giorgio Armani and maybe this dream will be realised soon.
Your style: I like bright colors such as red, yellow and blue.
Design taste of Priyadarshini Raje Scindia: She has very subtle and discreet taste.
Your clients: They like the quality of the fabric and textiles in my work. Dr. Sunil Rathore, Canadian Neurologist who is a cousin of Maharaja Gaj Singh Ji of Jodhpur, Mrs Veena Rana MD of Laghu Udyog, former Indian wicket-keeper Kiran More, Renuka Chowdhury MP Rajya Sabha, political leader Sushma Swaraj, actress Hema Malini and former wicket-keeper of New Zealand, Adam Parore are some of our major clients. We produce embroidery for Malaysian fashion designer Bernard Chandran who is the stylist for royal family of Malaysia. Our Italian clients include stylist Rafael López and Massimo Gherardi of Milan.
Association: I established the Rotary Imperial Club in Gwalior on 2011-12 which was the first couple club with the average age of 34. I am also associated with the Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH).