The Life and Times of Indian Fashion Designer JJ Valaya
Jagsharan Jit Singh Ahluwalia better known as JJ Valaya was born in Rajasthan on October 8, 1967. He is a famous Indian Fashion Designer, ace couturist, photographer, and a proud owner of the designer labels- JJ Valaya, JJ Valaya Muse, House of Valaya, Valaya Base, Valaya Quantum, The Home of the Traveler and Valaya Home. He is the founder of the Fashion Design Council of India alongside being the first ever global brand ambassador of Swarovski, the Crystal giant.
Valaya’s father held a post in the Indian Army that gave him the privilege to travel across different parts of the country. After completing a bachelor’s degree in commerce, Valaya took on Chartered Accountancy. During his internship at an audit firm, he discovered his passion for creativity and also his intense desire to leave the course. This is when he left his studies to join the National Institute of Fashion Technology in New Delhi. He completed his graduation in fashion technology in 1991.
JJ Valaya took intensive training under veteran designer Rohit Khosla and went on to launch his designer label- The House of Valaya with his brother TJ Singh in 1992. Alika, Tasveer and Azrak are some of his famous collections that received critical acclaim in the fashion circles in India and abroad. JJ Valaya was among the ten the designers who were invited by the Pradeep and Neha Hirani (owner of the Kimaya luxury fashion brand) to design a collection for their new Karmick brand which was launched at the Lakme Fashion Week Summer/ Resort 2012.
His book on photography‘Decoded Paradox’ has an account of the pictures taken by him. The stunningly beautiful black and white pictures in the book are wonderful testimony to Rajput grandeur.
Quotes by JJ Valaya on 3 different occasions
“Fashion is essentially about creating one’s own individuality and a distinct style statement.” – JJ Valaya’s views on fashion.
“My story began in 1988, when interning as a chartered accountant in Chandigarh, I realized that I had to make a drastic career change. I was miserable auditing balance sheets…..The only spot of brightness was in my imagination, when I would dream about the decor of my office (when I would have one).”- JJ Valaya’s honest confessions at a candid interview at indicolleges.com
“From being an award-winning designer to a complete flop with my first commercial collection. Devastating, yet enlightening” – JJ Valaya’s confession on his struggle in the fashion industry during an exclusive interview with the Hindustan Times.
“If we take our sensibilities and tidbits of our culture and throw in all the madness, the quirkiness … that is going to be the answer to the future of Indian fashion,” Valaya’s opinion on the future of fashion in India.
“The problem with Indians is … we think we do great gowns, we think we do a great dress, something which will make it to the pages of the glossies but which will not let you make a business of the whole thing,” Valaya pointed out during India’s first ever bi-annual fashion event held in Delhi.
Show stopper Kangana Ranaut and the entire team with designer JJ Valaya at the Grand finale of the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week, held in New Delhi, on February 19, 2012. Kangana Ranaut is wearing a long white gown with a golden border and heavy jewellery which is a part of his ‘Azrak’ collection. To add refinement to the dress, a full sleeved dark maroon coat with golden zari work has been thrown on to bestow a sophisticated look to the simple gown. The aim is to highlight the heavy traditional jewellery worn by the actress as well as the models.
Veteran actress Madhuri Dixit in a JJ Valaya creation at the reality dance show Jhalak Dikhlaja Season 5. The pure georgette saree with ombre dye print gives the perfect touch to the appliqué work that compliments the design of her short sleeved blouse. The beautiful golden zari work on the feroza coloured border looks fabulous. The jewellery looks perfect and does full justice to the attire.
Actress Sonakshi Sinha looks stunning in the velvet jacket designed by JJ Valaya. The heavy embroidered patchwork running across the waist is not only slimming but gorgeous as well. Her heavy neck piece is noteworthy and is complimenting the heavy brocade and golden on the dress. The diverse colour combinations have been wisely used to beautify the dress further.
Madhuri Dixit in yet another designer ensemble by JJ Valaya at Jhalak Dikhlaja Season 5. She is wearing a black anarkali dress where Valaya has used digital print, appliqué work with brocade and much more to give her an understated elegant look. The patchwork running across the border of her net dupatta looks amazing.
Sonakshi Sinha walks the ramp in a short JJ Valaya blue and red anarkali suit. She was the showstopper for Valaya’s Karmick collection at the Lakme Fashion Week Summer/ Resort 2012. Her personality is enhanced with the high neck anarkali with heavy golden work running along the entire dress. While the churidar pajama is a blue colour, her netted dupatta in red complements it to the t.
Kanagana Ranaut was the show stopper at the India Bridal Fashion Week 2013 in Delhi. She is wearing a heavily embellished golden lehenga with lilac highlights designed by Valaya. The dupatta is wrapped around the head to give her a distinguished look. The jewellery was amazingly hot and beautifully matched with the apparel. Watch out for the red glass bangles, the heavy waistband in kundan with the heavy maang tikka in pearl and other precious stones are simply wow!
Actress Sonam Kapoor, Chitrangada Singh and director Madhur Bhandarkar with designer JJ Valaya on the occasion of the India International Jewelry Week. While Sonam kapoor is wearing bright rust coloured saree , Chitrangada Singh steals the show in berry red strapless evening gown that is the talk of the town especially among the fashionistas. The waist length golden embroidery running across with the fairy gown looks splendid on her. As for the jewellery Chitrangada Singh is wearing a wristband, a heavy diamond raani haar, and danglers on her eara. Sonam kapoor walked the ramp for the Gia jewellery brand.
Kabir Bedi as emperor Shah Jahan looks in a designer Sherwani at JJ Valaya’s show titled ‘Maharaja of Madrid’ at the India Bridal Fashion Week. The deep brown Sherwani had a widespread flair at the bottom with heavy embroidery running across . The dupatta in contrast is a plain red and has a patch work of the colour of the sherwani to match the dress.
Actor Rahul Dev in a Maharaja avatar flaunting JJ Valaya couture. The sparkling white Sherwani has a fine combination of embroidery artistically spread on the black appliqué work. A heavy self embroidery across the shoulders is also fabulous.
Abhishek Bachchan in an astonishing JJ Valaya fusion creation at Circa 2008. The white kurta is simple and the colourful print work on the insides of the wide split overcoat gives a fine contrast to the outfit. The entire ensemble is created to do full justice to the extreme tall stature of the actor.
Former Miss World and famous superstar Priyanka Chopra in JJ Valaya’s outfit at a photo shoot. There is a touch of uniqueness as the black broad border on this strapless indo-western gown covers her left shoulder while the orange embroidery that runs across the length of the black net material is exquisite . The wide border at the bottom and most of the skirt peeks through the black net from beneath it adding drama and mystery to the look.
Actress Esha Gupta in a wide, flaired JJ Valaya bridal wear lehenga at the India Bridal Fashion Week held in Mumbai. The multi-coloured floral embroidery is offset by the golden zari work surrounding it. The sunset orange colour dupatta looks gorgeous on this tall actress. This type of outfit is best suited for newly-weds to wear at reception parties as Esha Gupta looks awesome in golden jewellery.