J J Valaya
House of Valaya
J J Valaya has succeeded in making it big in the world of international fashion. He earned a lot of awards and recognitions on an international front. It is targeted towards a limited audience all over the globe.
Fibre2Fashion: For a designer, how much is it important to get aware of history and culture?
J J Valaya:
I personally am a firm believer of the past and what India was. I always go back into history to find my inspiration for today. It’s a small contribution that I can make to keep the past relevant in today’s time. This of course follows my personal belief that the past and the present must co-exist so that the history and culture survive in the future.
Fibre2Fashion: Can’t getting into the past be risky in terms of its acceptability in the market?
I dwelve into the past for inspiration…I don’t go into the past for implementation. There’s a big difference. Inspiration may be from the past, but the implementation is very modern and relevant. And that’s perhaps the only way to keep the past alive. Being born in a country that is replete with history like India, we need to be responsible and make sure that where we come from is not forgotten over a period of time.
Fibre2Fashion: Being a designer means to embrace the science of textile, apparel and clothing areas. Please share your viewpoint on this.
This supports the earlier answer where I am saying that one has to get inspiration from the past, but make it relevant for today. When you design, you always design for today. You don’t design for the future or for the past. And the current generation is a generation that lives in a very small world because of the use of the Internet and easy access to travel. They have seen the best across the world. What’s happening in the west excites them! Our challenge lies in how we present an India to them which they associate with and not say that there’s is a country which is not very happening. I think the answer to that lies in using modern fabrics and modern techniques, and reinventing the past. And that is what we try and do.
Fibre2Fashion: Do all the designers play a good role in keeping the history alive?
Many designers are doing a brilliant work in this context. They are taking a lot from various cultures, reinterpreting it, and making it new and modern. And of course, there is a completely different school of designers which is only indulging in very minimalistic clothes which is heavy in detailing and shapes, but do not imbibe from the past at all. Both are co-existing and I think that is a sign of very healthy design industry. I believe that you need to have an edge to stand out, otherwise the world is full of good design and designers. If we can find an identity within ourselves and exploit that, it is a USP; one that will set us apart from rest of the players of the world.
Fibre2Fashion: How should an aspiring candidate break a ground for his/her career? Do you think that the idea to start with traditional culture can be a benefit and safe-side them? Or what are the other aspects?
You should start with what your heart feels comes most naturally to you. In life, we get success in doing what we enjoy the most. If we don’t enjoy work and simply focus on it for commercial reasons, then chances are that you are not going to last very long. So, I think you should first decide what excites you, and if it is the past that excites you then you will find your inspiration there. Similarly, if it is something that doesn’t interest you at all, then you will eventually move on.
Fibre2Fashion: How do you perceive luxury wedding market in India in future?
Indian weddings are a big production and the mainstay for couture in India. They are not conventional events. In India, one of the leading segments will always be the wedding segment, simply because it is an area where people actually spend. But it cannot be the be-all and end-all of sustenance and growth. If you need to grow as a brand, then you will have to look at the scalable ready-to-wear segment and you have to do something, which more people can afford. One can pitch for the upper middle class or for the mass market; it depends on the designer.
Fibre2Fashion: I am recalling a dialogue of a Yash Raj movie based on wedding planning “recession ho ya inflation, shaadiyan toh hoti rahengi na”. How do you take this dialogue? Recession or inflation to some extent affects people’s budget.
First of all, I wouldn’t like to look at a movie dialogue for relevance to the industry. No! That’s not true. Things do get affected by inflation and recession. I think economic conditions affect everything. The only services that perhaps don’t get affected by it are hospitals, schools and alcohol. But luxury, like any other consumer product does go through its swings. A simple part of the whole process of evolution.
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