Hailing from Delhi, Aaquib Wani is an exceptionally gifted sportswear designer who had not only made his mark but had also etched his name into the hearts of Indian athletes and their unwavering supporters.
In the realm of sportswear design, there are those who merely create garments, and then there are visionaries who infuse their dreams into every fiber. Aaquib Wani firmly belongs to the latter category, a name synonymous with innovation and artistry in the Indian sportswear landscape.
His journey, which began in the modest corridors of his humble beginnings, has evolved into an awe-inspiring narrative of passion, perseverance, and an unrelenting pursuit of excellence. As we embark on a journey to explore the profound impact of Aaquib Wani on Indian sportswear design, we’ll uncover a story that resonates with inspiration, transcending the boundaries of sport and art.
Building Dreams through Design:
Aaquib’s journey into the world of sportswear design commenced in 2018 when he founded his own venture, Aaquib Wani Design. However, it was in 2021 that an extraordinary opportunity propelled him into the limelight of sportswear design. Real Kashmir FC, a football club, sought Aaquib’s expertise to design their jerseys.
Reflecting on his origins, Aaquib firmly rejects the notion of luck, a stark contrast to his early years as a Class 11 student, where societal pressure defined success solely by academic marks.
Harmony in Music and Creativity:
During those challenging times, Aaquib sought solace in music, a sanctuary that not only helped him cope with failure but also rekindled his creative spirit. Although his artistic passion had long been dormant, music reignited the spark.
In the years that followed, Aaquib’s guitar and his band ‘Phobia’ found acclaim in Delhi’s music scene, performing at shows, colleges, and music festivals. Delhi embraced their distinctive heavy metal sound, nurturing Aaquib’s creative talents.
From Music to Design:
Aaquib’s creative inclination led him to design posters for his band, marking the initial steps into the world of design. Hours spent honing his skills with software like Photoshop, Microsoft Paint, and Illustrator unveiled a newfound passion. Design became his medium for expressing his artistic love, paving the way for his remarkable portfolio.
He has always held a deep passion for creation, whether it’s through art, music, or various other forms of expression. Aaquib Wani has consistently followed the call of the creator within him. When the chance presented itself to design for Real Kashmir FC, it seemed as though the universe had finally granted Aaquib’s long-cherished dream.
A Journey of Unceasing Momentum:
From that point forward, there was no looking back. Aaquib’s designs transcended the realm of mere sportswear; they became an embodiment of India’s rich culture and heritage. His jerseys for Real Kashmir FC drew inspiration from traditional elements like the pashmina shawl, establishing a profound cultural connection.
When entrusted with designing jerseys for the Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League 2023, Aaquib pushed the boundaries further. Every stitch held significance, blending block print techniques with Rajasthan’s haveli architecture. He emphasized that it was not about reinventing the wheel but reinventing the beauty that was already there.
In 2023, Aaquib’s brilliance shone once more when Adidas approached him to design jerseys for the Indian Cricket Team, incorporating the ikkat weaving technique. It was a tribute to the rich heritage that had always captivated him, featuring the unmistakable black-on-yellow stripes reminiscent of a tiger’s imprint.
However, the path to glory is never without challenges. When JSW approached him to design sportswear for over 600 athletes at the Asian Games 2023, the task was monumental. Aaquib understood the importance of prioritizing athletes’ comfort and performance without compromising on design.
A Repository of Motifs:
Aaquib’s creative process was an extensive journey of research, with textile designer Aditi Ranjan’s book ‘Handmade in India’ as his initial reference. He meticulously curated motifs from across India, ranging from Madhya Pradesh’s bagh to Kerala’s marapani wood carving, and many more. His aim was to weave a rich tapestry of India’s history rather than merely champion Indian handicrafts.
Parth Jindal, founder and director of JSW Sports, commended Aaquib’s work, emphasizing its significance in India’s ascent as a sporting powerhouse. With close to 900 athletes and staff donning his creations at the Asian Games, Aaquib’s designs are not just garments; they symbolize India’s sporting prowess.
Aaquib Wani’s incredible journey, from music to design, from adversity to triumph, and from embracing his creative spirit to celebrating India’s heritage through sportswear, stands as a testament to the transformative power of passion, dedication, and unwavering commitment. His work continues to inspire not only athletes but also the dreamers and creators among us.
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