"When we first met, the energy between us was magnetic. Our goals were uncannily similar & we discovered we’re both suckers for fashion, food & travelling. Before we knew it, we were heading to town for pizza!" Designer duo Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla recently shared their journey that started more than three decades ago and how they came about to become Bollywood's favourite designers. In an interview with Humans of Bombay, Sandeep Khosla revealed the story behind AJSK. And, we have to say, their story reminded us that life is full of surprises--just the emotion we needed to feel in this gloomy environment.
"Abu was struggling with 2 jobs, so I offered to help -- that marked the start of our journey of creativity & friendship. We fit like puzzle pieces -- he was the quiet one & I, the loud extrovert! But our differences made us balance each other out," said SK. And this balance totally reflects in their work. AJSK are known for combining traditional aesthetics such as the Indian craftsmanship and textiles with modern designs. From winning a National Award in costume designing for Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Devdas to giving us killer outfit inspirations in Veere De Wedding, AJSK's struggle has clearly proved fruitful.
Sandeep went on to talk about how their poles-apart personalities function the best together and brought them where they are today. "Once, we presented 80 designs to a family -- it was our first big initiative together. But our clients insulted our designs! I couldn’t take it. I got up & said, ‘Abu, they know nothing about fashion. Let’s leave.’ Abu was shocked, but then followed me out. We genuinely believed in our work, so we were blunt, but that’s what kept us going." He said that Abu Jani is the one to calm him down after such outbursts.
"But the best part is, we respect & understand each other. Once we were invited to a party, but the host pressured us to dress in a certain way. Before I’d met Abu, I’d have attended the party -- but Abu wasn’t comfortable, so we decided not to. Like this, we helped each other prioritise our happiness. I think that’s what makes us best friends & successful business partners -- we’re 2 parts of a whole," he added.
Take a look at some of the biggest AJSK fans in Bollywood who trust them with everything from the red carpet to wedding festivities. This trust has been passed on from mothers to daughters in B-town and there's no turning them back.
"Abu is a born artist & sketches like a dream. I don’t -- my art happens in my head. On the other hand, I’m the communicator & the one who pushes. We blend so well -- the fashion we create is a combination of what Abu and I bring to the table!" And here's a glimpse of all that.
From her most recent Holi outfit to her roka, mehendi, sangeet, and one of the wedding receptions looks like AJSK has been on Priyanka Chopra's speed dial for almost all her wedding festivities. In fact, all the gorgeous outfits of the Jonases during Nickyanka's extravagant sangeet in Udaipur were all by AJSK! PC has often received International honours in AJSK sarees. Such is our desi girl's loyalty!
Sara Ali Khan's love for AJSK is known to all her fans but did you know that it's a pass-on from mommy Amrita Singh? Amrita Singh has been the face of AJSK couture in the past and now her darling daughter is on the same pat. Sara doesn't even need special occasions or Diwali to step out in designer couture. She wears simple suits by the label when out and about in the city too!
From Neeta Ambani to daughter Isha Ambani to the new bahus of the house, the Ambani ladies especially are big AJSK loyalists for any occasion that calls for a celebration, family weddings in special. You don't have to guess what they are stepping out of the house in like ever! That's how much they love the work of the designer duo. It's like a family tradition if you ask us.
From Jaya Bachchan to daughter Shweta Bachchan to grand-daughter Navya Naveli Nanda, sometimes even Amitabh Bachchan and Junior B, are almost always dressed up in AJSK couture, just like the Ambanis. That's one of the many things the two families have in common--friendship and taste. Shweta especially is an ardent AJSK promoter more than anyone else! Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has also worn the brand to Cannes.
Rhea Kapoor and AJSK have a common muse when it comes to the grand display of style and it's Sonam Kapoor. The stylist sister loves to doll up herself and Sonam in AJSK couture for awards, red carpet events and wedding festivities alike. Remember Sonam's glorious white lehenga that she wore to her sangeet? That's courtesy Abu Sandeep, who else!
Last but not the least, Deepika Padukone's wedding trousseau also included some AJSK couture apart from Sabyasachi. Like this look from one of their wedding receptions here. Her dupatta train screams regal proving once again why the actress decided to break her Sabya bride legacy for her wedding with this AJSK ensemble.
Do you need more proof of why your beloved Bollywood divas are so crazed about the brand? Sandeep concluded the interview saying, "Now, our dream is to expand internationally & live on a Goan beach. I can’t imagine a future where Abu’s not in the picture -- because a friendship like this comes by only once in a lifetime; you must cherish it."
Featured Image: Instagram