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“We are meant to be together”—Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla . gives so much of his personal inner self and invests in his relationship that it. It would be far too easy to describe Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla as flamboyant designers, and leave it at that. The masterful couturiers have. Salman Khan snubs designer duo Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla It seems the Arpita Khan's wedding dress blunder hasn't been forgotten by the Khans. Apparently.
One of her first shoots she did in a garment of ours just when she became Miss World. For her wedding, we dressed her for a few occasions and now we dress her on and off.
The other family in our life was Dimple Kapadia and the children. Dimple was a muse for us. She is just the most beautiful woman in the world. We have always dressed her in a lot of whites and off-whites.
Both Abu and I have always loved white and white is the mainstay of the brand. The first thing was, both of us have been influenced a lot by ladies like Meena Kumari, Nargis Dutt and how they wore white… so many white images in our mind. Then we did the iconic Devdas mirror-work ghagra for Madhuri Dixit Nene. Then chikankari, of course.
Abu and I have always loved chikan. And there we went to these ladies who do the chikan work, with our sketches. We started chikan years ago. At that time it was done on cheap fabrics, with cheap stitches across. It was a kurta you wore to work, it was never a formal garment or a garment you wore with pride.
We did this beautiful zardozi outfit when Tina Ambani got married. It was a sherwani which was done like a velvet carpet. And we did this outfit with lotus mtoifs in Swarovski for one of our clients.
How Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla stay together
One has been Sunita Pitamber. She was a very, very stylish woman of Bombay, a prominent name in the social circuit and very fashionable. In our initial years, she exposed us to a lot of people.
We went to London with her and she introduced us to a lot of prominent people there like Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Bianca Jagger… all these within the first three-four years after the brand started. Then, of course Jaya Bachchanwho always stood by us, and Dimple Kapadia who always inspired us.
“We are meant to be together”—Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla : MagnaMags
There are too many… laughs. About four years ago we did a bridal fashion week in Delhi after a long time and that kind of revived the brand completely. Immediately after that we did Lakme Fashion Week in Bombay, where we presented 14 different looks. That I think put a spin to the brand. It was a concept sari with a blouse; that was kind of iconic, a game changer.
Abu Sandeep was suddenly young. Because in the middle, we had settled in the classic space. The one regret is that we could not afford to document each and every design we have made.
There was a time when we used to produce for little boutiques; we used to do four-five designs a day. Also, some of our own earlier work, some of our clients have them. We now tell them, please give our clothes back, we will give you something back in exchange…. So much of the work has gone undocumented.
Though we have two books to our credit — we did something 18 years ago called Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla: Another thing we would have done is get a CEO much earlier in our life. I am a good son, I'm good at what I do. I treat my staff of well, pay their salaries on time.
I am all that, and gay," he declares. The Bollywood and fashion industries have more in common than what they are credited for. And there are better chances of homosexual designers coming out in support at gay parades than macho film stars of the Hindi film industry.
But the industry rests on the male ego.
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They aren't coming out anytime soon. Around the world, the last three decades have witnessed a sea change in perceptions over homosexuality. In India, in the last decade, we seemed to have regressed towards homophobia," Suneet laments. In an interview with this writer some time ago, he had admitted to having noticed a slight shift in approach among urban Indian gays: Some are open about their sexual preferences, some hide it.
But if you asked me, I wouldn't deny it," he had said matter-of-factly. At a show inhe presented a line of sporty Lycra wear, juxtaposing the colour symbolic of same sex love, pink, with black and white. He plastered grainy screen printed images of two "boys from Banaras", their torsos bare, hands entwined around each other, on sports bras, body-hugging jackets and sling bags. I am still struggling to reveal my sexuality to my mother.
Fortunately, I work in an environment where I am respected for what I do rather than who I sleep with. Same goes with friends; they won't change their attitude because a law has been amended. Fashion editor with Indian edition of international fashion magazine I am open about my sexuality, and an outdated law has been amended. But the question is, will society accept us?
In India, most of us live with our parents. Some of us even work with our parents. So, a lot is at stake. You could lose your inheritance if you came out clean. He then worked as a buyer at an export house and eventually opened a small boutique called Limelight. Those were the benchmarks for investment or having fun. I realised that all that was not meant for me. Mumbai was always attractive to me, so I came here and worked with a film designer called Xerxes Bhatena. After a month of working with Xerxes, Sandeep met Abu.
Post an exchange of ideas, aspirations and a realisation that both of them harboured similar dreams, the two decided to embark on their journey together. And the rest, as they say, is history.
By the time the young lad reached eighth grade, he began tracing for someone who used to embroider. Thanks to his keen interest in drawing and sketching, Abu applied to art school, but got rejected.
He eventually turned to fashion. And, that I think gave us the freedom to be without any preconceived notions. He then worked for an export house that did embroideries, after which he began freelancing with boutiques. You have to learn hands on. No institution can groom you as much as a practical, on-the-job experience can. In many ways, they complemented each other to concoct some of the best designs for the Abu-Sandeep factory. He is a Gujarati Bohri and I am a Punjabi.
So, my north Indian aggression, compared to his rather calm attitude, is quite a contrast.
But, once we come to a conclusion, our product is always bettered. Now, there are a few sparks here and there but that is that. We fight, we crib, we get loud and abuse. But, eventually we would actually sit down and discuss.
Sometimes, it would be my day and some would be his days. Abu will say all days were my days, liar. The only solace being that they met very early in life. Living as paying guests, travelling in auto rickshaws and living off limited resources was what their start was made up of. However, Sandeep lets it pass nonchalantly, insisting that it was a struggle everybody goes through.
At that time, Ensemble was opening, so we used all that money to do a collection. However, he adds that the struggle has only grown bigger with time and their mounting success. From just a few names that once had a hold in the fashion industry, today the industry is seeing talent in abundance. However, despite the growth in the industry, Abu and Sandeep have successfully held their own ground. When they started out, the only names that resonated were of Rohit Khosla, Hemant Trevedi and James Ferreira, while brands like Ravissant and Ritu Kumar held veteran positions.
In those days, films would lead fashion. Fashion turned around professionally and eventually gained respectability. The base of the industry grew bigger and bigger. We all tend to take the easy way out. But, there are no shortcuts in life; I keep telling this to the youngsters too. Amidst this, Abu and Sandeep feel that as quickly as designers are being created, they are also being washed out equally fast.
They are of the opinion that while the fashion weeks serve as a great platform for the youngsters who are just setting out in the industry, the concept has become too common and is losing its importance and seriousness.