Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla
Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla, also known as the dynamic duo on the runway, are two of the foremost fashion designers in the country. Having showcased their creations on national as well as internationally renowned platforms, their style vision is to present India to the world in a way that has never been seen before on the runway. Their haute couture is widely known for the presentation of Indian arts and crafts on quintessentially Indian fabrics. Elegance remains the cornerstone of their design philosophy with a touch of flair and flamboyance that reinvents long forgotten art forms indigenous to India. They have also launched a label called ‘Abu Sandeep’. Besides garments, Abu and Sandeep are also prolific interior designers.
Abu Jani who hails from Mumbai joined forces with Sandeep Khosla in the year 1986, which also saw the birth of their very first boutique venture ‘Mata Hari’. From there on their exposure to international platforms included collaborations with other renowned names in the industry such as Tarun Tahiliani. 1989 saw the emergence and popularity of their very own label by the name of ‘Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla’ (AJSK). In the initial years of their business, a specific Indian art form was selected to be the theme for their creations during that year. For instance, 1991 was dedicated to creating pieces inspired by the monument Purana Quila or Old Fort (in New Delhi) while 1994 was the year when their chikankari creations became popular. While their first store under the AJSK brand was opened in Delhi, over the years they have extended their base to other major metropolitan cities as well.
They forayed into interior designing in the year 1993. Over the years, the duo has been actively engaged in raising charity for a variety of causes through their creations. Since their collaboration in 1986, not only have many international starlets such as Judi Dench flaunted AJSK, they have also won numerous awards and accolades for their contribution to the industry.
Sources of Inspiration
Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla are inspired by everything Indian, right from architecture to lost art forms. However, besides fashion itself, architecture is another primary source of inspiration for them. This is a reflection of their keen interest in interior designing as well. Their most memorable collection of ensembles includes an ode to the Pink City of Jaipur and another that was inspired by the historically significant Mughal fort in Delhi called the Purana Quila. However, it is not just Indian motifs and designs that they present in their extensive collections. There have been numerous collections that have been inspired by miscellaneous elements such as the African inspired Wearable Art collection of clothes.
Their ultimate philosophy and the driving force of their creations is to design garments that transcend fashion to become collectibles i.e. the items they create should remain in vogue even ten years down the line.
Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla’s creations by and large use hand-embroidery or hath ki karhaai on the finest fabrics in the market. They have employed a number of skilled craftsmen who are also highly knowledgeable in indigenous craft forms, especially those that are a specialty of the duo.
In the recent past, with the launch of their latest label Abu Sandeep, they have also amalgamated machine embroideries with hand-detailing.
Style and Variety
Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla have brought out collections for men that are as extensive and extravagant as they are for women.
Their sense of aesthetics is so acute that the extravagant embroidery done on their ensembles is the highlight of the garment without seeming over the top. All of their creations showcase detailed, fine, exquisite and extensive embroidery in various forms. Minimalism is a concept that appears seldom in their collections.
Some of the hallmark collections of these designers feature Chikankari, mirror work, Tharad and Zardozi forms of embroidery. This has come to be known as a trademark of Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla’s creations.
Yet another kind of variety in the offerings of Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla pertains to the type of creations. While they maintain that couture is their calling, they also offer single edition off-the-rack apparels as well as custom and bridal couture.
Their newest label known as Abu Sandeep has become a rage with younger demographics. Although the flavor of couture has been retained in this label, the creations have been called ‘contemporary classics’ for both men and women. The juxtaposition of the theme is complimented by machine embroidery and hand detailing of the apparel.
Present Day Scenario and Global Influence
The level of popularity of Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla is such that national as well as international movie stars, dignitaries, and celebrities have sported their ensembles. Moreover, their names are one of the most acclaimed on India’s premier runway, Lakme India Fashion Week. Some of the most noted names to have worn their apparel are cricketer Brett Lee as well as dames Maggie Smith and Frieda Pinto.
Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla have come to be known as pioneers in the industry of Indian fashion for having come up with the concept of ‘double sarees’. As the name suggests, it involves draping two sarees in one go, seamlessly. The look that is achieved with the double saree drape is phenomenal as it is not only a play on the hues of the two sarees but it also lends a different silhouette to the wearer altogether.
The second set of innovations that have been credited to the duo’s name is a collection that goes by the name of ‘Miniature’. In this collection, the garments showcased embroidery that was done in the form of necklaces.
Interesting Facts and Comparisons
- Sophie Marceau wore Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla attires in the James Bond movie ‘The World Is Not Enough’.
- Wife of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Sarah Brown, chose AJSK attires for her entire wardrobe during her state visit to India.
- Of all their contributions to charity, helping people living with HIV and AIDS is one of Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla’s prerogatives.
- Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla’s innovative thought in the collection ‘Miniature’ became part of a controversy after another designer plagiarized the idea of embroideries in the form of a necklace.
- On the 25th anniversary of their collaboration, the duo released their book ‘India Fantastique’ which is a two volume chronicle of fashion detail and interiors.
Categories: Fashion Designers