Ajay Kumar’s silhouettes are a riot of colour with bold prints and modern styling
THE MOMENT YOUR eyes are set upon Mr Ajay Kumar’s creations, you are captivated by the colour palette, hypnotising prints and striking silhouettes of kurta-inspired shirts, trousers, blazers and more. The eponymous label of the Bengaluru-based couturier, who shifted his base to the city recently, adds a different level of vibrancy to your persona.
When we visited his atelier at The Ivy House, Kumar looked dap per in a smart suit. Flaunting a jungle-themed shirt, he informed that all his collections are centred around an important issue or a trending theme. “We derive our inspiration from nature and the issues that make an impact on our lives. Our jungle-themed collections focus on conservation of wildlife. It had wild animals with prints of wildflowers and vegetation in their natural symmetry,” offers the salt-and-pepper haired designer, who also sports a crisp moustache. Taking off his suit jacket, the couturier showed us the vivid designs of two peacocks at the back of his shirt. The front of the shirt had a circular patch that looked like a graphic from The Jungle Book with tigers, horses and birds surrounded by colourful flowers. His earlier series include Aquatic and Lotus Sutra and BhuSvah. The 41-year-old alum nus of NIFT states, “We are a brand with a lot of positive vibes. So even when we talk about serious issues we portray its positive side. For instance, in Aquatic we talked about the beauty of the sea and the aquatic life and create awareness rather than show a grim reality.” Known as the king of prints, the brand’s DNA is rich in Indian sensibilities but in a modern way. So you will find kurta-inspired shirts, bandhgala style kurta shirt with an asymmetrical flow, shirts with cowls, and more. Flamboyant prints in loud shades of red, green, orange, pink and blue among others, inspired by nature, abstracts and geometric patterns, mark his edits. His formals too are of a different league and are extravagant, to say the least. Imagine print-on- print khadi cotton shirt with printed trouser, a blinding red blazer with black leafy prints and forest printed trench coat suffocated with roses — the frenzy with his brand of prints continues unabated. “I love bold things. For me colour is everything. I can combine any colour and print,” says Kumar, who started his label in 2015, making a mark at the Gen Next Lakme Fashion Week 2015-16.
However, it’s the art and eccentricity of the designer that sets him apart from other designers in the fraternity, and he believes, though men are hesitant to come out of their comfort zones, once they do, there’s no stopping them. His bold silhouettes have been embraced by Bollywood stars including Shahid Kapoor and Hrithik Roshan.