For Ajay Kumar, a 40-year-old fashion designer, stylist and businessman, 2019 started with a bang! Living his dream and soaring high in the land of fashion, he will be representing India for the second consecutive time at the 2019 Harbin Fashion Week.
In a chat with Deccan Chronicle, he lets us in on what we can expect and how his journey has been.. "The year 2019 Harbin Fashion Week preparations are in full swing. We are honoured to be the only designer chosen to represent India alongside 50 designers from various parts of the globe in China. We have been brainstorming and working on it for the last six months to present something that is flamboyant, glamourous and yet representative of India with respect to our culture, colours, handloom and khadi fabrics, focussing on local sourcing and manufacturing," begins Ajay.
The theme for early spring summer 2019 is Aquesthetic. It explores the aesthetics of the aquatic body through narrative prints that aim to nurture the positive feeling of saving our seed of genesis — water and the marine life that it nurtures. The collection has been locally digital printed which in effect consumes less water and energy, thus, truly bringing out the beauty of this collection in its true meaning. Ajay Kumar’s prints are adorned with rainbow patterns of marine life — fishes, coral, starfish, paradise birds and nautical elements representative of stripes, chains, ropes and anchors.
When asked how his journey as a fashion designer has been, he says, "It is not easy to launch a label after having a successful career, being at the top position in your company, when you are all settled in life with a wife and kid. It was indeed difficult to let go and sacrifices like these are what makes your journey challenging and worth it. Having an industry experience teaches you how to handle tough situations and work under pressure. As a business, you can’t think numbers too much; it’s a brand building journey where we grow steadily and sustainably."
His interest in fashion dates back to his childhood since he was allowed to select his own clothes. This led him to pursue a degree in fashion design from NIFT, New Delhi in 2003; winning the ‘Most Practical Menswear Collection Award’. He draws inspiration from other designers like Iris Van Herpen, Alexander McQueen, Hussein Chalayan, Yohji Yamamoto.
After having a great experience at the last edition of Harbin Fashion Week, he is all set to dazzle the ramp this year too. On future plans, he says, "After Harbin, we will be doing an interesting immersive experience cum display at Lakme Fashion Week, Mumbai in Jan, 2019,’ followed by Blender’s Pride Fashion Tour in February, 2019 in Bengaluru."
Settled in Bengaluru for more than 10 years now, he got married here. His hobbies include wildlife photography, cooking and gardening.
Recalling his achievements, he says, "Our most prominent feature has been on Vogue China for 2018 Harbin Fashion Week where we also won the ‘Designer of the Year 2018’ Award. Other than that, we have been featured in South China Post, Switch Magazine Italy, Daily FT Sri Lanka, HUF Magazine and as the ‘Black Sheep’ or to say ‘Emerging Talents’ on NotJustALabel."
Celebrities like Salman Khan, Farhan Akhtar, Hrithik Roshan, Ayushmann Khuranna, Jim Sarbh, Mr. World Rohit Khandelwal and dancer and celebrity judge Salman Yousuff Khan have sported his designs.