In Conversation With James Ferreira

by Drishti Mistry

James Ferreira is the original classy sassy designer. He might look all put together now that he has aged like good wine but really he is still the eccentric fashion icon from the 80’s. Not the one to mince his words, we got him to chat up in his vintage property about all things fashion- and boy he has opinions! Oh and FYI, he approves of Diet Sabya! Read on about his takes..

On his inspirations..

“I live in an open house. I open my house to a lot of tourists and I’ve been doing that for a long time. I find interaction with international people, interaction with interesting people more inspiring than places. I also find books interesting. The one book that I was inspired enough to do a collection on was the Empress Of Lawrence which was a Salman Rushdie book.”

On his personal style..

“I started as an outrageous person in the 80’s. I started using Indian clothes- I used dhotis and lungis with jackets and army boots and wild hair and makeup. Then as I grew older I’ve had to kind of sober down my style. And it’s funny because I still find the Indian clothes the most comfortable.”

On gender fluidity in fashion..

“I did an article in the Society in the 80’s where I did a whole cross-dressing thing with Manish (Malhotra) and some really beautiful boys. It has always been there even in the Indian mythology. Look at the way all our nataks were performed where sometimes a man would do a woman’s part. So the fluidity was always there but it’s the English and their Victorian disgust which really killed it all.”

On changes he would like to see currently in the Indian fashion industry…

“Lots of changes- firstly from the education- we should be taught more Indian methods than American, British, Italian or French methods. I think we need to be writing our own syllabus.
We need to be proud of India which no body is, embarrassingly so. We need to have a Madonna to adopt mehendi for us to adopt mehendi. I think it’s just funny because we have at our disposal, the most exquisite fabrics and traditions which we look down upon. We still don’t have an Indian size chart. That’s just stupid!
I think the best thing that has happened to India are sites that expose plagiarism like Diet Sabya. At least it’s calling spade- a spade”

On styling tips for our readers..

“I think fashion and style is all about finding a style of your own. It doesn’t matter if it’s trending or not, you really have to look at yourself in the mirror and be honest with yourself. Dress your body the way it should be dressed. Be comfortable with yourself, be honest with yourself. Learn to know what suits you and what you are comfortable with. Hold yourself properly. Posture is very important for anything to look good on you. We need to lead our lives with dignity and do everything with dignity.”

On his collection for Nykaa Fashion..

“It’s a reinvention of myself. It’s kind of breaking away from my satin drapes into something much more contemporary and young. What I’ve done for Nykaa is a mix and match collection in linen and cotton. I’ve used the South Indian lungis because their borders are exquisite – very simple and contemporary shapes.”

On what he has in the pipeline…

“There’s lots of things happening. I’ve been working with Good Earth for a James Ferreira line. The next two years are going to be the busiest of my life. It’s very exciting. I will be doing a men’s line but not for the Indian market.”

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