Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Palak Shah: Weaving heritage

Shah is focused on propagating the versatility and global appeal of Indian heritage weaves, and with Ekaya, supports more than 8,000 weavers

Published: Feb 10, 2020 11:59:09 AM IST
Updated: Feb 11, 2020 06:55:58 PM IST

Palak Shah: Weaving heritageImage: Amit Verma

Palak Shah | 28
CEO, Ekaya

After she graduated from Kings College in London with a business management degree in 2012, Palak Shah joined her family’s 120-year-old business of manufacturing textiles based in Benares. The same year, on a quest to redefine conventional ideas around Indian textiles, she launched luxury handloom brand Ekaya.

“My aim was to ensure that our textiles stand out for their impeccable craftsmanship. The focus needed to shift to the versatility and global appeal of our heritage weaves, and we needed to create a space that allows Indian textiles to be a part of our everyday life,” says Shah.

She has facilitated collaboration with designers including Abraham & Thakore (2013), Archana Rao (2015), and Masaba Gupta (2019), and international luxury brands such as Salvatore Ferragamo and Missoni.

Collaborating with French couturiers Pierre & Daniel, Ekaya has recently launched its first ever ready to wear collection. Featuring oversized jackets, flared pants, A-line skirts, and organza shirts, the collection is created using specially engineered handwoven textiles combined with French tailoring and pattern cutting.

With an annual turnover of ₹40 crore, Ekaya supports over 8000 weavers, has four stores in Delhi, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Mumbai.

See the full Forbes India 30 Under 30 list for 2020 here

Apart from handwoven saris, lehengas and ready-to-wear ensembles, there is a section in the store that displays distinct handwoven fabrics. “It is an experiential space that allows visitors and customers to discover the inventiveness and exemplary craftsmanship of heritage textiles,” says Shah.

She was awarded the Woman of the Decade in Sustainable Fashion and Entrepreneurship in May 2018 by the Women Economic Forum, for her efforts in protecting, preserving and diversifying textile and handloom traditions. 

Ekaya’s clients include actors Alia Bhatt and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, and sportswomen PV Sindhu and Sania Mirza, to name a few.

See the full Forbes India 30 Under 30 list for 2020 here

“I have known Palak Shah for three years and I can confidently say that I haven’t come across a more dynamic person who has such a clear vision for her brand. I know she will take Indian textiles to the world and make us all proud,” says designer Nikhil Mehra, of label Shantanu & Nikhil.

(This story appears in the 14 February, 2020 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)