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.
Stars and Celebrities Styled by James Ferreira
Shobhaa De, Tina Ambani, Smita Patil, Dimple Kapadia, Reena Roy, Ayesha Dutt, Amitabh Bachchan, Jackie Shroff, Rekha, Hema Malini, Sunil Dutt, Vinod Khanna, Anil Kapoor, Mithun Chakraborty, Aamir Khan, Shabana Azmi, Poonam Dhillon, Maureen Wadia, Sunita Pitamber, Parmeshwar Godrej, Asha Bhosle, Susheela Raman, Sona Mohapatra, Isha Sharvani, Ishaa Koppikar, Diana hayden, Lara Dutta, Kamal Sidhu, Meghna Reddy, Sophiya Haque, Marielou Phillips, Mehr Jesia, Madhu Sapre, Shyamoli Varma, Anuradha Mahindra, Anuradha Mafatlal, Anu Agarwal, Bipasha Basu, Freida Pinto, Sonam Kapoor, Mana Shetty, Kavita Khanna, Aarti Chhabria, Twinkle Khanna, Sonali Bendre, Simone Singh, Lisa Ray, Lisa Haydon.
Timeline of Collaborations and Shows
1976 – Designer at Purple Pussycat, Mumbai.
1978 – Part of the eight-member international design team at Orkay Textile exports.
1980 – Designer at Creative Touch boutique and Yashwant Exports, The latter run by Indian Cinema Producer Yash Johar.
He also freelanced for Waheeda Rehman and her husband Shashi Rekhi supervising their sampling unit at Galaxy apartments in Mumbai.
1982 – Worked as a Designer under London based Designer Zandra Rhodes.
1983 – Designer at HHEC (Handicrafts and Handloom Exports Corporation of India) and CCIC Delhi under Mrs. Nanda.
Freelance Designer for Shivam exports.
1984 – Head Designer at the Boutiques Bada Saab and First Lady, He held the position till 1999.
1987 to 1991 – Illustrated and styled for fashion magazines Eve’s weekly, Femina and GFQ.
1990 to 1994 – Collaborated with Maureen Wadia to launch and establish the Gladrags magazine in India.
1992 – Established his production unit at Khotachiwadi and started retailing at stores like Ensemble, Glitterati, Melange, Ogaan, and Signature.
1994 – Conceptualized the Raymond Forecast Show, Showcasing suiting styles for Men and Women at the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai.
He also started the Khotachiwadi welfare and heritage trust, a charity organization, which protects the heritage precinct he lives in.
1995 to 1996 – He showed collections at The Hyatt Dubai, Al Bastan Palace Muscat, The Safari club Nairobi and The Hilton Sri Lanka.
1998 – Launched Oomph, the fashion magazine with Mr. Kamlesh Shah as publisher.
1999 to 2002 – Conducted finishing and cutting classes for the workers of Lucknow based NGO “SEWA” run by Runa Bannerjee and Sahiba Hussein.
2004 to 2005 – Creative Head at P.N. Writer Helped in Designing an Eco-spa in Lonavala, Maharashtra.
2006 – Debuted his collection in Lakme India Fashion week.
He also opened the D’Box store in collaboration with Kunika Singh.
2008 – Showed at the DLF Emporio Delhi Fashion Week in October.
2009 – Hosted a Fashion Show for Paris Region Economic Development Agency (PREDA) in November.
He also became a trustee of an NGO run by Rahul Shrivastava and Mathias Echanove, called “URBZ” which is dedicated to urban planning.
Participated in the Sri Lankan Design Festival, December 2009.
2010 – Participated in the IPL and Blenders Pride Fashion Tours.
2011 – Participated and announced his association with the Veryta Foundation run by Stefano Pilati, design director Yves Saint Laurent and Filippo Binaghi, of Lorma SLR, Como, Italy at the Wills India Fashion Week AW’11.
Participated in the Mauritius Fashion Week, February 2011.
Participated in Wills India Fashion Week SS’11.
Participated in the India Resort Fashion Week-Goa.
2012 – Participated in the Wills India fashion week AW’12.
Participated in the Colombo fashion week.
Participated in the Lakme India Resort fashion week.
Participated in the Wills India fashion week SS’12.
Participated in the India Resort Fashion Week-Goa.
2013 – Participated in the Hyderabad fashion week.
Participated in the North East fashion week.
Launched a Diamond Jewelry collection in collaboration with Gehna Jewelers in Mumbai.
Created an exclusive collections for the launch of Belleza Aromatica
Celebrity wearing James Ferreira Collection