March 16, 2024 FDCI

Valaya on wheels

From Chevrons to inclusivity, J J Valaya tells us individualistic women are the most fun to interact with and that his bridge line JJV Kapurthala is only helping you dress quicker and smarter.

Asmita Aggarwal

The shifting leaf Chevron which is the staple of JJ Valaya’s fashion house, was created about twelve yearsback though it never began as something he would take down the years, but it ended up becoming highly covetable, a signature of sorts, so now it is a perennial and every season J J does a new line based on this and perhaps, he admits one can expect to see many avatars to this most loved pattern in the seasons to come! Just like what a Missoni does with the zig zag pattern or LV with its signature logo, or Versace with the Medusa!

 “I don’t think doing a bridge to luxury or diffusion lines can really put an end to couture, in fact it  helps the growth and evolution of a fashion house. I have been a couturier at heart always and have excelled in wedding clothes, but there was always a huge segment of loyalists who were dying to bite into the ethos of the brand. Either they are getting married, or they are already married or they have years to get married,” says J J at the launch of JJ V Kapurthala at the LFW x FDCI 2024 showcasing in Mumbai.

So, he decided we wanted to create a line that was more accessible which could be worn by many people and could look at making sure that the line would lend itself to a larger audience across the country and that is exactly what has happened with JJV.

“Haute couture rules and rules supreme, and never has couture to do with the amount of embroidery the garment has. There are so many other facets that go into a well-constructed garment in terms of quality of materials, quality of workmanship, the enduring signature of timelessness,” believes JJ. All these things come together along with perhaps the most excellent levels of craftsmanship which kind of define couture in the world and indeed in India as well.

Tying up with a jewellery brand Aulerth, is a natural extension for fashion lines and in these be it jewellery, carpets, or Valaya home, he always involves professionals, as he realizes that his skill is in creating and detailing. “The technical side of any business and that too a diverse business if you look at the jewellery business and interior business it requires a completely different mindset to see how it technically works with people who are masters of the craft,” he says.

His biggest achievement till date is remaining relevant as a fashion brand and for that the most important prerequisite is to be excited about what one does. Almost 33 years down the line, he is pleased to say, and happy to acknowledge that his levels of excitement and enthusiasm to sort of keep creating something new and beautiful remains perhaps at an all-time high. “I would imagine that keeping a brand going and launching newer things every season have been more fun; putting something brilliant together,” says JJ.

His personal style is rather basic and he lives his life in short kurtas and Nehru jackets and breeches or jeans and he rarely wears embroidery even though it is one of the mainstays of the House of Valaya. “I play a lot with prints and textures, yes obviously my work stems from a belief and personal ethos, but a chef when they make all the brilliant food that others enjoy, they most often end up eating basic at home,” he confesses.

There is no doubt that as a designer one must go with time, AI and Metaverse there is no escaping it, though one really has to wait and see what happens in the future with these tools. “Considering that I started my career at a time when only 22 fashion graduates came out of one design school in the country, there were no newspapers or magazines covering fashion, there were no TV channels, no internet, no fashion weeks, from there to now I have seen a huge change. And I am looking forward to what happens in the future as well,” he exclaims.

 Sure, AI will play a role, but he does not think there will ever be a complete switch, rather it will make way for a beautiful balance between technology and craft and that is something that will keep fashion going, in full gusto.

Rather than AI changing the world, he feels women have! Every designer is dealing with an evolved woman today and there are no barriers of any kind, no disparity, it has been shunted out. “Inclusivity is the buzzword. There is no shame in body types or skin tones or just about anything is fully accepted. That is beautiful in a way, as everyone is happy and content in their own skin. They are not afraid to flaunt it and therefore, if we look at the evolution that has happened from then to now, we are dealing with stronger and more confident women. They are very sure of what they want and absolutely in awe of who they are, so that is a great state to be in,” he says.

His target audience is anyone between a 23 to a 50-year-old, and he is catering to a diverse section of women and men, and not shouting from the rooftops that Valaya is only for the young. “It is fair to say that over the past three decades and more we have dealt with the most stylish women and from all age groups. We have never differentiated between women who have a panache for fine dressing and that remains the case even now,” he says.

Though what he noticed in terms of dressing the 20s and dressing to 40s, is that lots of barriers have broken down, and now everybody wants to look and feel the part. “What a 25-year-old wears can be worn by a 40-year-old too, that is perhaps that is the seismic change he has seen. Often moms and daughters when they walk in together people say “are you sisters”? A stylish woman is a stylish woman, somebody who has her own say, her own individualistic sense of elegance all that comes together. “We are there to make sure that we are able to give something stunning to a stunning person, that’s where it begins and ends,” he concludes.

Tagged: , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fashion Design Council of India