Personal Agenda: JJ Valaya, Fashion Designer
Place of birth
Chandigarh and Delhi
Because my father was in the Army, I changed several schools; Panjab University, NIFT, Delhi
The day I sat on the stairs of NIFT and flipped a coin. Heads, I start my own label. Tails, I get a job. Guess what it was!
High point of your life
Thankfully, there are too many
LOW point of your life
From being an award-winning designer to a complete flop with my first commercial collection. Devastating, yet enlightening
Currently i am...
Discovering new things and enjoying photography with the help of the new Nokia Lumia 1020
If you weren’t a designer, you would have been...
A very sad and depressed chartered accountant (I was studying to be one).
What is more satisfying, designing or photography?
I only indulge in things that give me satisfaction. However, the activity must involve creativity and design.
Why do you prefer black-and-white for your pictures?
We live our life in colour. We see everything in colour. So what we see becomes predictable. Black-and-white creates a sense of mystery.
Someone you definitely want to photograph.
My dream is to photograph the 100 most charismatic people in the world!
What did your wife wear the day you got married?
JJ Valaya couture.
Did you design something especially for her?
Obviously. I’m in the business of bespoke.
Three grooming products you can’t do without.
Face wash, comb and a great attitude.
Your idea of a great weekend.
Pure undiluted relaxation.
A dessert that describes you.
An ice cream sundae. Loads of flavours in a very large cup!
If you could ask for any talent/skill, what would it be?
Any ability that allows me to lose weight.
You changed your name from Jagsharan Jit Singh Ahlowalia to JJ Valaya. Did the name bring you any luck?
The name became a brand!
Tell us one thing nobody knows about you.
There’s a reason nobody knows about it!
The last thing you bought under Rs10.
A blessing from an old beggar woman.
One piece of advice you wish someone had given you 10 years ago.
Jog, my child, jog!
Your dream destination.
Italy managed to pull a few of my heartstrings but I am still looking to find my utopia.
Your favourite street food.
Countless things in Thailand.
You destress with...
Meditation, movies and little moments.
The last line of your autobiography would read…
“Now flip to page one again.” I believe that you must read books at least twice.
What is the inspiration behind your photographs?
People and portraits inspire me. I shot a series of pictures of my tailors and seamstresses wearing one component of a couture piece they had created
— Interviewed by Veenu Singh
From HT Brunch, October 6
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