Place of birth:
Chandigarh and Delhi
Because my father was in the Army, I changed several schools;
Panjab University, NIFT, Delhi
Firstbreak: 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 Rs. 10: 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
5 must-haves in your wardrobe: Crisp shirts, Pocket squares, Valaya breeches, Nehru jackets, An
assortment of cufflinks
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