“I Don’t Believe In Boundaries”: JJ VALAYA On Upcoming LFW x FDCI Showcase, Adapting To The Changing Times
LFWX FDCI: “I Don’t Believe In Boundaries”: JJ VALAYA On His Upcoming Showcase, Adapting To Changing Times And More

Staying rooted to the distinct innovative signature of the JJ Valaya ethos, JJV-Kapurthala is a modern global label for the millennial who likes to be prepared for celebrations sans the hassle of packing heavy while travelling

JJ Valaya has been an enduring presence on the Indian fashion scene with his eponymous fashion label for nearly three decades,  most prominently in the area of luxe wedding wear.  Last year he launched  JJV-Kapurthala, a bridge-to-luxury label targeted at millennials who like to dress well whatever the occasion — fine dining, soirees, parties, weddings— yet loathe to lug around heavy occasion wear. 


In an interview with Mansworld.com, the design maverick takes us through his upcoming showcase at the Lakme Fashion Week in partnership with FDCI, design philosophy, and what’s next on the radar.


2022 was a milestone year — 30 years in the business. What have been the biggest takeaways from the journey so far?


35 years in the business of fashion, if you count my NIFT years. What a journey, and how I love it. The amazing part about what I do is the very fact that every single day I get up yearning to go out there and start working on something new, something wonderful. The whole process is a mini journey of sorts and the coming together of something fabulous.


The fact that it excites me now, perhaps even more than it did in my 20s, makes it so fascinating and beautiful. There are always takeaways. Some of the takeaways as far as my work is concerned, is to never rest on your laurels. Just when you think you’ve reached the pinnacle of success, remember there’s something higher. And, never try and please everybody. As much as getting out of your comfort zone is important, you don’t have to do it because you have to do it.


Know your strengths and core, and keep pushing yourself to unparalleled levels of excellence within that sphere. Sure, you won’t get the entire plan coming to you. But, you’ll get a fair amount of people who’ll worship you and appreciate you for what you do. And, have absolute faith in yourself.


2. What can one expect from the JJV-Kapurthala FW’23?


This is a very special collection, as this is the first-ever showcase of the bridge-to-luxury line, JJV in Mumbai, a city I’m showcasing at after a really long time. It’s a fantastic association, creating something really special for a platform like LFW, in partnerhsip with FDCI. I’ve always believed that one needs to see the collection to truly appreciate it. A collection whose inspiration is Kapurthala, which is the land of my forefathers. It is inspired by the travelogues of Maharaja Jagjit Singh, one of the most prolific royal travelers of India of his time, and how he took Kapurthala to the world and brought the world to Kapurthala. Our collections therefore perennially borrow nuances from his travels and present them as an experimental and premium line of creative interpretations.


3. What was the ideating process like, for JJV- Kapurthala?


I developed this line as I’ve always noticed how people like to travel light and dress easily. Yet when you go for formal dinners or soirees, you are barely equipped to dress for them. So, I wanted a line that was more accessible, where I could take the ethos of the JJ Valaya brand, which is primarily known for its embroideries and bridal clothing into an easier, cooler, and more contemporary line. And, one, which is devoid of weight so that it can be packed easily and you can take it wherever you go. So, travel remains an undertone for the collection. It’s been wildly exciting for me to create the collection because, between couture and bridge-to-luxury, I’m being able to address all my yearnings. I love the grandeur and intricacy and the larger-than-life perspective of couture, and I love the easy-to-wear, easy-to-carry, fun, cool avatar of JJV-Kapurthala.


4. Is there a fabric that you love working with?


I’m absolutely unbiased towards fabrics for the simple reason that as designer, to be able to experience newer fabrics, newer techniques, and newer opportunities and make the most of them is always wonderful. As a design house, we have always focussed on embroideries, prints, and details, and for that, we play with a multitude of fabrics. Whilst I may be impartial towards fabrics in general, within that I do admit I do have favorites like raw silks, velvets, and various kinds of silks that are rich and lustrous. I’m equally enamored by georgettes, tulle, and organzas which I believe contain magic. I’ve always believed in the beauty of contradiction lies unparalleled.


5. What next?


There’s a lot happening in our little world. Little because we’re a small sub-section of a massive universe. There’s a lot of fun we’re having with JJV-Kapurthala and JJ Valaya. Expansion is on the cards for sure. Besides fashion, there’s a significant amount of focus on JJ Valaya home, which is a home interior and furnishing brand. I’ve never believed in boundaries. You should know where to stop, but these walls are shifting. Once you know you can crossover, push it even further. This is an ideology I live by.


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