Three decades and more, JJ Valaya’s glorious journey in fashion has always been about celebrating India in couture. The czar of Indian couture, all set to launch this year’s ‘World of Valaya’, a cohesive space in Delhi featuring couture, home lines, fine jewelry and photography, speaks to News18 about what 2022 will look like for Indian fashion industry.
Celebrating Indian Couture
A founding member of Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI), Valaya’s fashion forecast for the industry is about buoyancy. “Couture in 2022 will be much more alive than ever because the one thing the pandemic has taught humanity is that we need to appreciate and celebrate more and that the time to celebrate is the present moment,” said Valaya, adding: “ So I think once we get out of the pandemic, and we definitely will get out of it now, everyone just wants to live their life to the fullest and celebrate more. And couture is a perfect measure of celebrations in India as it is indirectly and directly related to occasions, weddings, ceremonies, celebrations. So I think we’re going to see an extremely vibrant couture environment this year.”
From Indian crafts and artisans
JJ Valaya has always wished that we would never take short cuts with perhaps one of the greatest gifts we Indians have been blessed with and that is handicraft. “The fact that we have skilled craftsmen and a historical kind of treasure trove in terms of inspiration is really the duty of modern designers to explore these facets – be it the artisans, be it the weavers, be it our various paints and printing are techniques, whether it be our culture and civilization – and presenting it in a whole new, modern relevant way,” says Valaya, adding: letting go of the past, yet being extremely relevant to the present.”
The Secret Success of Indian Designers
However, JJ Valaya who has full faith in India’s young talent has a simple piece of advice. He says:
- Believe in yourself: You have to believe in yourself no matter what. Don’t look left or right and try to emulate others, it doesn’t work. You have a core skill that is unique to you, excel at it, stay on that path and you will shine.
- Celebrate your country: Lots of young talent is celebrating the West instead of celebrating India. We couldn’t be further from the truth and the heart of India. So it’s very important. It’s almost like the Italian doing saris or the Americans or French doing lehengas, it just doesn’t work. We need to explore what we already have and innovate within those boundaries and that will create a unique signature and you will shine.
So stick to your path, believe in yourself and celebrate your country and the rest will follow. “When you see excellence, success is a given,” says Valaya.
Embracing Slow Fashion
According to JJ Valaya, the 2022 pandemic has caused a major change in fashion. “In the past, the fashion industry was in a frenzy. It was a rat race that nobody won. The point was that we had to do it now, more because we had to catch up with the others. And the pandemic just slowed everything down. When things slow down, better work arises, better quality arises, sustainability emerges. And couture is by nature a sustainable craft. Slowing down the fashion was desperately needed and it is happening now. So be prepared for fantastic, high-quality ideas,” adds Valaya.
Are trends canceled?
While JJ Valaya is not a big believer in trends, he does appreciate them. “I think she [trends] keeping the energy in fashion, but following them blindly is also almost naive. So I think with a generation that’s so well-traveled now, especially in the palms of their hands and know just about everything that’s happening for them around the world, we as designers just need to keep the past relevant to the present and that is where the secrets of the success of Indian designers lie,” says JJ Valaya.
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