October 8, 1967 |
|Labels||House of Valaya, JJ Valaya Muse, JJ Valaya, Valaya Quantum, Valaya Base, Valaya Home,The Home of the Traveler|
JJ Valaya (born October 8, 1967) is a noted Indian fashion designer and couturier from New Delhi, India. He founded the House of Valaya, a luxury fashion and lifestyle house in 1992, along with his brother TJ Singh. A founding member of Fashion Design Council of India FDCI and the first global brand ambassador of Crystal giant Swarovski, he has been designing for men and women, and has bridal and evening collections in addition to day-wear and ready-to-wear for over 20 years. As a fine art photographer, he released his first book, Decoded Paradox in 2011, in the same year as he also closed the day one of the Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) winter/festive 2011, debuting a fashion collection inspired by photography.
J J Valaya (Jagsharan Jit Singh Ahluwalia, the name was shortened to J J Valaya to create the Valaya fashion label) was born on October 8, 1967 in the state of Rajasthan in India but spent most of his childhood traveling to different parts of the country due to his father's various postings in the Indian Army. He studied commerce at college and planned to be a chartered accountant eventually. But his passion for beautiful things and fixation for the rich Indian art and culture took him to the National Institute of Fashion Technology, New Delhi (NIFT) where he graduated in fashion design in 1991.
He trained under a pioneer in Indian fashion Rohit Khosla, before starting his own label. With his elder brother TJ (Tribhavan Jit) Singh, JJ Valaya founded The House of Valaya in 1992 with the launch of its couture label. Valaya’s creative vision together with his brother’s organizational abilities have been the key factors for the success of Valaya as a luxury brand. Around 2003, when he launched his pret line, he was already retailing fashion and lifestyle products under three brands: JJ Valaya, Studio Valaya and Valaya Home-Life, in which his first couture label, JJ Valaya, comprising his trousseau line launched in 1993. The brand today encompasses Couture, Ready-to-wear, Home and a CSR prerogative, The Free Spirit Foundation also known as FSF.
In 2010, Valaya's collection of ALIKA showcased at several events in Dubai was highly-acclaimed. In this collection, the storyteller in him found expression through which he narrated the story of the female musicians of India’s royal courts and their romantic affairs with the princes of the land, Alika, his fall/winter range consisted of finely worked jalabiyas, kaftans saris and anarkali-churidars. Valaya has used his couture creations to tell stories that intrigue him. That’s perhaps part of the reason for his fascination with India’s royal history. This collection also saw the birth of his signature Alika Jacket.
In 2011, Valaya's Winter/Festive collection at Lakme Fashion Week titled TASVEER received positive reviews. The collection combined Valaya’s twin passions: photography and fashion. The collection was inspired by the evolution of photography from black and white to sepia to hand-stained, natural and digitised images. It was an interesting journey of colours and an amazing story, told through clothes. Valaya, in one of his interviews said “It’s almost like there are two personae in me: the photographer and the fashion designer. I intend to keep both alive,” there was also about 10 menswear outfits that included sherwanis, bandhgalas, breeches and Nehru jackets. 
In 2012, Wills India Fashion Week Valaya's collection AZRAK stayed true to its meaning - rare and common. The collection was inspired by West Asia and the Ottoman Empire of Turkey. His creations had juxtaposed elements of minimalism and grandeur, Western and Indian silhouettes, traditional motifs and modern drapes & feminine form. The range showcased saris, jackets, anarkalis, breeches, blouses and dresses. Showstopper Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut was dressed in a pristine white gown teamed with traditional Indian jewellery and a rich brocade Maharaja coat. The surprise elements on the ramp were faces such as Suneet Verma, Rohit Bal, Navtej Johar, Jamie Stewart, Sumant Jayakrishnan and Navin Ansal to name a few, who were among the twelve showstoppers that took to the runway for the designer. 
The year 2012 also marks 20 years of JJ Valaya work in the fashion industry. The designer took a series of initiatives — launched a limited edition financial year calendar in Delhi. Shot by noted fashion photographer Tarun Khiwal, the April 2012 to March 2013 calendar has Valaya’s close friends and “wonderfully inspired individuals”.
Valaya introduced the ‘Diasun', a pattern comprising two inverted ‘V' and the sun motif from the JJ Valaya crest, which now comes on every garment produced by the label in some way or the other to put a stop to plagiarism and imitations of the market.
He remains one of the biggest names in the bridal trousseau market in India, and was one of the first Indian labels to invest in sampling, research and development at their "House of Valaya" establishment at Manesar on the outskirt of Delhi.
He is married and lives with his wife and two daughters in New Delhi, India.
Awards and recognitions
JJ Valaya's success in the fashion industry has been recognized by a number of awards including:
First Indian student to win The Prixd’ Incitation at the Young Designers International Competition held in Paris.
The event was organized by The Concours International des Jeunes Creatueurs de Mode. (1990)
Won the Elyxa Award at The NIFT Graduation Show, New Delhi. (1991)
Won the Thapar Dupont Medal at The NIFT Graduation Show, New Delhi for the most innovative use of fabric(1991)
Won first prize at the KLM-NIFT Alumni competition held at Mumbai, India. (1992)
First Indian designer to show along with an American designer (Todd Oldham) in New York at the Plaza Hotel, 5th Avenue in a unique fundraiser. (1998)
Founder Board Member of the Governing Council/ Board of Directors of the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI). (1998)
First Brand Ambassador for the crystal component division of global crystal giant, SWAROVSKI in India.
- "JJ Valaya 'clicks' with the LFW audience". The Times of India. Aug 23, 2011.
- "JJ Valaya comes out as a photographer". CNN GO. 15 March 2011.
- "A talk with JJ Valaya: Haute couture in India isn't a contradiction - it's mainstream". Boston Globe. October 12, 2008.
- India Fashion Week – Designer Profile India Today, 2008.
- The Sikh review, Volume 53, Issues 613-618. Sikh Cultural Centre., 2005. pp. 69.
- "JJ Valaya Sheds Designer Tag For Volumes-led Pret Line". Financial Express. Jan 30, 2003.
- Fernandez, Keith (27 September 2010). "JJ Valaya's courtesans make a date with Dubai". Emirates 24/7. Retrieved 16 December 2012.
- Pillai, Pooja (17 August 2011). "The Lightness". The Indian Express. Retrieved 16 December 2012.
- Banon, Tanya (14 December 2012). "WIFW ending on a high note". Wonder woman. Retrieved 16 December 2012.
- "Twenty years, Twelve tales". The Indian Express. 21 April 2012. Retrieved 16 December 2012.
- SHAH, SHALINI (17 February 2012). "The fantasy maker". The Hindu. Retrieved 16 December 2012.
- "Fellow Designer Members JJ Valaya (Fellow Member)". Retrieved 16 December 2012.
- Tankha, Madhur (15 February 2011). "From fashion designing to art photography". The Hindu. Retrieved 16 December 2012.
- Hindol Sengupta (2009). Rampup: the business of Indian fashion. Pearson Education India. p. 223. ISBN 81-317-1974-X.
- "Designs on the world". DNA (newspaper). Dec 31, 2005.
- "Designers: JJ Valaya". Vogue India.
- "IMAGES: Master of magic JJ Valaya". Rediff.com. August 18, 2011.