At just 18, AD Singh aced the CAT and earned offers from IIM Calcutta and IIM Ahmedabad.
For millions of management students in India, it would have been a dream come true. But AD Singh had a plan and it didn't include an MBA.
"I rejected the offers because I wanted to pursue my true passion, fashion. It was a difficult decision, but my father actually made it easier; he tore up the acceptance papers and enrolled me in fashion studies at Wigan and Leigh." He says.
Today, just 25 years old, AD is one of the hottest names in Indian fashion. He's particularly renowned for Indian bridal wear and semi-formal attire. His creations drip with semi-precious stones and crystals, ranging in price from Rs 40,000 to priceless.
"I've worked with Paris Hilton, Christina Aguilera and Naomi Campbell. I've designed for Nelly Furtado. I sip drinks with the who's who of Mumbai. I have a store opening in South Africa. My line is going to be launched in Dubai. And I've only been open for about three years. To be honest, I'm just getting started." He exclaims.
AD is quick to emphasise the glamorous aspects of his lifestyle, but his story is three-dimensional. He's a self-admitted workaholic and can be found in the Juhu store bearing his name seven days a week, 365 days a year.
"Sometimes, I actually feel left out. I don't get to enjoy the normal, small things that someone my age should be enjoying. Like seeing a film in the afternoon; I can't even remember the last time I went to see a movie with a few of my friends. Between a 70+ hour work week, social obligations and public appearances, hardly anything fits into my schedule."
In an interview with rediff.com's Matthew Schneeberger, AD Singh discussed his past experiences, nascent reputation and future plans. His insights shed light on India's burgeoning high fashion industry. Who's creating these garments priced in lakhs? Who's purchasing them? And what is the future of fashion in India?
Text and Photographs: Matthew Schneeberger
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