James Ferreira


The likes and dislikes of India’s bespectacled designer

Over the years, since he was first inspired to take fashion designing up as a career in 1964 after reading an article illustrating the works of designer Pierre Cardin, James Ferreira has collaborated with all the major players who shaped what is today a thriving, fashion, textile and media industry.
After completing a course in commercial art at Sir J.J. School of Art, and a Tailoring course at Sheroo Cooper’s academy, James began his career designing for Purple Pussycat in 1976. He worked as a designer under the iconic British Designer Zandra Rhodes in 1982 and in 1992 continuing with his position as the Creative Head at the Boutiques Bada Saab and First Lady, he established a full-fledged production unit and a studio for his eponymous label ‘James Ferreira.’ His unique label comprises of predominantly western silhouettes with a subtle non-literal infusion of Indian elements and retails in all major boutiques across India.

In 2006 he made his debut at the Lakme India Fashion Week and subsequently in 2011 he collaborated with the Veryta Foundation run by Stefano Pilati, design director Yves Saint Laurent, and Filippo Binaghi of Lorma SLR (Como, Italy) to showcase a collection at the AW’11 Wills India Fashion Week. In May 2013, he launched a collection of Diamond Jewellery in collaboration with Gehna Jewellers.
His recent participation at the Gionee Smartphones India Beach Fashion Week 2015 held in Goa showcased a beautiful clothing line that reflected his style and creative genius. “My collection is as suitable on the beaches of Goa as among the Swiss Alps,” he chuckled. Offering a tight edited collection of Destination Fashion, the designer showcased a line which showed sharp tailoring, bright prints and a good base of colours.


He opened the show with a group of black cocktail dresses with giant floral appliqués in bright hues with an accent on flaps over shoulders; wrap dresses and interestingly draped fronts. The all-black line moved from the peplum hemline dress to one with giant bell sleeves followed by an interesting black sheath with a solitary 3D appliqué flower and another with a garland of floral appliqués around the waist.
The print story started with zigzag maroon and black designs on silk, which appeared on minis, midis and maxis with hints of geometrics. The draped sari gowns, the cowled overlap maxi, checked printed ensembles and the outfit with floral print cutaway shoulders were ideal resort semi-formal wear.
James used the drawstring imaginatively as it appeared in the centre, back and sides of long gowns. Looped hemlines were a favourite with the designer and were created either in the front or at the back of the dress. The kaleidoscope print dresses had engineered designs that added accents to the shoulder, front or back of the garments.

Abraxas Lifestyle caught up with the designer at the recently held Gionee Smartphones India Beach Fashion Week 2015 for a quick chat. Here are excerpts from the interview:

Tell us about your collection at the Gionee Smartphones IBFW 2015? 

It is all about resort wear. I have used a lot of dry fabrics as it’s easy to pack.  Black linen, silk and organza formed the basis of my collection. By experimenting with asymmetric shapes, I also accentuated my designs with snazzy bright prints and added oversized appliqués to complete the story.

What was the idea behind the collection?

It is all about having fun, flip-on, flip-off, flip-in, and retro.

What was it like to be at the India Beach Fashion Week?

Firstly it is such a beautiful venue, but it is sad that the show started so late and that I could not put my music on full blast. Otherwise, it was all in all a really lovely show.

What is the USP of your brand?

My brand is all about ready-to-wear clothing.

What is your favourite fashion era?

The 1950’s and 1960’s are my favourite.

What is the one fashion trend that you wish would make a comeback?

Indian drapes. My clothes are based on Indian drapes – that’s the type that suits anybody.

What are  your favourite colours?

Black and white

What is your favourite fashion destination?

My home, I love my home

Which is your favourite shopping haunt?

I hardly shop, I borrow! (laughs)

Which fashionable and stylish Bollywood actress would fit well into one of your outfits?

I’m not a Bollywood fan.

What has been your most challenging assignment till date?

I love teaching; I think that is the most important thing in my life. I have a school in Hyderabad and a school in Indore. That’s the most challenging it can get.


Could you give us one striking feature of your collection?

One striking feature is the wearability of the silhouette and look. My designs are based on the principles of Indian design. This is in Indian fabric and suits the Indian body very well.

Do you think Goa makes for an ideal destination for fashion weeks?

Yes, especially for these kinds of designs.

What is one style tip everyone should be aware of?

Be yourself… that is the most important thing.

Do you have any advice for upcoming designers?

Keep it simple and clean, and learn how to cut yourself!

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