Valaya looks back on Valaya

The Vintage Tour is an exhibition to mark couturier JJ Valaya’s 20 years in the fashion industry. Excerpts from the interview:

A gown from the collection to mark the designer’s completion of 20 years in the industry

How does it feel to complete 20 years in the fashion world?
Always a wonderful feeling when one achieves milestones of any sort and, more importantly, a warm glow just reveling in the thought that there’s so much left to do.

How have things changed?
In the early days of Indian fashion, when there were just five or six of us, we learnt everything by trial and error, as there were no benchmarks to follow. There was one fashion retail outlet in the entire country, no media covering fashion, no TV channels, no Internet, and certainly no Fashion Weeks. Cut to today, we have great media houses that acknowledge our work and a lot more. So yes, times have changed.

Fashion designer JJ Valaya

How has your work evolved?
I have been fortunate enough to start a pioneering Indian fashion brand and lucky enough to be there when it all began. A handful of us, who can indeed take the credit of growing with the industry, were therefore also responsible for making the industry grow with us. It’s a different kind of high.

Tell us about the collection…
We came up with this idea to showcase my journey, my best outfits and reach out to more people. The Tour will comprise a collection of ready-to-wear outfits chosen from my past collections. This is not a couture collection, but one that is meant to be picked off the rack. 

Is there anything that you still feel that you need to achieve? Any goals still unfulfilled?
One should keep setting new goals for oneself. This keeps one on one’s toes and in sync with new technologies/ developments. The results of a creative expression without challenges aren’t magical enough, and every step taken towards imperfect perfection is worth the effort. One is constantly learning till the day one dies.

Are you planning on anything to celebrate the completion of two decades in the industry?
We will be celebrating throughout the year. There are plans of launching a collector’s coffee table book, a grand retrospective show towards the end of the year and several intimate events during the year, including an association with a royal family, the name of whom I cannot disclose at the moment. 

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