Good news for haute couture enthusiasts! The quiet fashion dark horse GAYA, a luxury homegrown fashion label recently acquired its first flagship store in Mumbai’s Lower Parel region. The routine supplier to well-known international couturiers mainly operated through online services earlier.
Taking us through the elegant new space, LuxeBook got an exclusive sneak peek of the brand-new store, the factory as well as GAYA’s new eveningwear collection.
The launch of GAYA
After the Covid pandemic hit, several industries including the fashion industry, experienced a significant slowdown in business. Given the already prevalent infrastructure and resources that belonged to Gayatri Khanna’s Milaaya, the next logical step according to the founder was to launch a division brand. And so, in August 2020, GAYA was born.
The name of the brand was sourced from the names of Creative Director—Gayatri Khanna and ‘Gaia’ which is a Greek word meaning Goddess of the Earth.
Keeping up with the Covid pandemic, GAYA follows all the necessary precautionary measures. Temperature checks before entering the premises are taken of all workers in the factories as well as in the store. Negative Covid test reports are mandatory for those returning from a vacation or a long break, while those with the slightest symptoms are sent home.
A cosy space in the quiet lanes of Lower Parel, the GAYA store is a vibrant space decorated with the brand’s elegant collections. The hallway leading up to the store is adorned with wall art made with unused beads, sequins and other embellishments from their collections.
While GAYA only recently got hold of the store space, the entire factory, operation, management, design and production teams were all based in the same building.
Aside from Indian customers, GAYA’s parent company Milaaya is also known for its international clientele. With offices in Paris, Milan, New York, and London, Milaaya works with international brands such as Dolce and Gabbana, Versace and Tom Ford, to name a few.
The general process begins with the design team, which is divided country-wise according to the clientele. They create a number of samples of different fabrics, patterns and embroidery designs, which are then sent to the brands. Picking ones that work, the fabrics and embroideries are then packed and shipped.
Once the designs are picked, the karigars embroider the given patterns. Having worked with the brand for years, GAYA has a repertoire of karigars according to expertise. While some are good with modern techniques, others are well versed with intricate detailing work.
Every single design created is made into swatch samples that are documented, recorded, scanned and archived for later use. Based on these records, GAYA has a total of about 55,000 embroidery samples.
GAYA is a strong advocate for sustainability, and this is reflected in their work ethic. All of GAYA’s products are sustainably sourced. The brand also believes in recycling and upcycling materials. An example of this is their sustainable embroidery materials like sequins made from old plastic bottles and metal tin cans and wooden beads.
Reducing waste by reusing materials is another great initiative undertaken by GAYA. Leftover fabrics, beading embellishments etc are all transformed into something new. For example, the brand takes leftover fabric and converts it into masks, pouches handbags, etc. while materials like beads, stones and sequins are made into earrings, rings and embroidered headbands.
Intense quality control is another important process that takes part at every stage of the manufacturing, right from examining the fabric with the original sample to fine combing the embroidery to ensure the right size, order and colour of the beads.
GAYA is also annually audited by Intertek— a brand centred on testing the quality and safety of products from different industries— to ensure that GAYA is compliant with the norms of sustainability.
Inspired by nature
All of GAYA’S collections reflect nature in their designs. GAYA draws inspiration from the Earth- its people, culture as well as the flora and fauna. The design and detailing of every GAYA loungewear reflects this affinity in the form of lively motifs and designs.
The brand’s design aesthetic includes a versatile range of dresses, blouses and tops, kaftans, jumpsuits, skirts, pants, track-sets and lounge sets as well as accessories like tote bags, earrings, scarves, headbands, visors and fashion face masks. Bold, striking prints and innovative embellishments teamed with a fresh colour palette is GAYA’s signature style.
GAYA’s latest evening collection called La Soirée features an alluring mix of gowns, dresses, and blouses in some of the most flattering silhouettes.
Delicate beadwork with sparkling embellishments traced on soft, luxurious fabrics such as silk, satin and chiffon, perfect for a glam evening look.
There were hints that the brand will soon be venturing into the home décor industry. While this venture might not be anytime soon, we did spot interesting wall art pieces for sale at the store.
These abstract pieces are made with unused elements like beads, sequins and other materials from their collection. These wall art pieces are also highly exclusive, so much so that they aren’t available on GAYA’s website, and can only be purchased from the store.