James Ferreira was born in 1956, to Owen and Thelma Ferreira in Bombay. Father Owen Ferreira was a hockey Olympian and his maternal ancestor was a Portuguese ambassador to India.
Ferreira was an avid illustrator of clothes and stylized figures through his school life, which manifested into a career choice after reading an article illustrating the works of designer Pierre Cardin in 1964.
He was a pioneer in the Indian Fashion Industry and has collaborated with all major players that shaped the Fashion, Textile and media business in the formative years.
He started his design career in 1976 and currently his unique label that comprises of predominantly western silhouettes with subtle non-literal infusion of Indian elements, retails in all major stores across India.
Early Bollywood stars, to current International celebrities like Freida Pinto, have worn the designer’s creations.
The designer lives and works out of the Iconic 47-G Bungalow at Khotachiwadi, which is one of the last surviving Heritage villages of Bombay.
Ferreira is also an active member of the URBZ group that works towards preserving heritage districts and areas within metros. He has been vociferously opposing the illegal takeover bid of Khotachiwadi by the land sharks of Bombay and mobilizing support for the cause.
“It will end like it began, with a piece of cloth”.
James Ferreira’s design philosophy is recognizable in his flowing garments; from a weave to a drape, to a cut, and finally a silhouette, which remains nothing but one single piece of cloth.
He is considered a master draper whose garments in predominantly natural fabrics; epitomize the seamlessly unique blend of western silhouettes with Indian crafts and technique. The designer has constantly referenced Indian subjects for his Prêt collections consistently maintaining the cosmopolitan traits synonymous with the label.
Some of Ferreira’s signature designs have been the double-layered Sari (1987), the flared Sari Pallu, the knit and jersey Kameez. A lot of his styles were not successful initially but variations went on to flood the market at a later stage.
After completing a course in commercial art at Sir J.J. School of Art and a Tailoring course at Sheroo Cooper’s academy, He began his career designing for Purple Pussycat in 1976. It was one of the earliest designer wear boutiques in Bombay catering to the expats and socialites.
He then went on to work with a host of reputed textile houses, boutiques and private clients.
He worked as a designer under the iconic British Designer Zandra Rhodes in 1982.
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 namesake label ‘James Ferreira’.
In 2006 he debuted at the Lakme India Fashion week and subsequently in 2011 he collaborated with 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 Jewelry in collaboration with Gehna Jewelers.
Design Consultancy and Styling
James Ferreira has styled advertising campaigns for Piramal Fabrics, Garden Silk Mills, Raymond’s, Bombay Dyeing, Parks and Manzoni. He also styled the 1995 VAMA campaign, which was shot by iconic photographer Steve McCurry.
His Costume designs were seen In Bollywood classics like “Shahenshah”, “Khuda Kasam”, “Tarzan” and “Teri Bahon Mein” amongst various others.
He has rendered designing services to Mills like Mafatlal, Raymond’s, Kala Niketan and many other Textile companies.
Guest lecturing and mentoring initiatives
James Ferreira has conducted lectures and workshops at Sophia College, SNDT, Mod art, Wigan and Leigh, SOFT, WWI-NL and various other Fashion institutes across the country.
A few other prominent members of the Indian fashion industry mentored by James Ferreira were Designer Abu Jani, Makeup artists Clint Fernandes and Anil Chinappa.