Meet Aaquib Wani From Kashmir, The Man Who Designed Team India’s New Jerseys

You have to design something big.”

These were the words told to Aaquib Wani, a self-taught designer. This was back in December 2022. Wani has worked with the leading brand in global sportswear Adidas in several projects but this was at a whole new level.

During January’s 2nd week, Wani learned that his studio was going to make the Indian cricket team’s new jerseys. For him, it was the best chance to make it big since Adidas had looked to him in good faith when they could have gone to a leading international designer.

“Knowing that cricket has played a substantial part while growing up because I would always play the game, it was an emotional moment. I had worked with individuals and families in the past but this was like representing the country. Making the national team’s jersey—the scale was huge and it felt amazing,” Wani said while speaking exclusively to Forbes India.

The 32-year-old is born and raised in Delhi but his roots are in Kashmir. Wani’s family wanted him to follow a degree in business or engineering but by his own admission, he was not good at studies and failed Class 11 twice.

“That’s when I felt I was a let-down for my parents and the society. So, I picked up a guitar and started a music band. But it didn’t go well with my relatives and everyone around. I was called names. It didn’t stop me, though. I started doing what I wanted to without paying much attention to anything else,” he added.

He took up art for earning money and in 2014 he got a job at Rock Street Journal (RSJ).

“By now, my parents realised I was doing fine, and that there were professional opportunities with designing,” went on to say.

Wani learned how to use basic design software by himself, as he never went to college or took a designer’s course.

“There was YouTube as well to learn things. I pretty much taught myself,” he continued.

In 2018, he began a design studio of his own – the eponymous Aaquib Wani Design in Delhi. After that, there was no looking back.

Then along with his team, Wani worked on colours, designs, fabrics, patterns, etc they were going to use for the jerseys. All needed to be tested so that players had the “maximum comfort” when on the field.

“There were multiple stakeholders involved, so whatever we were trying had to be okayed by them. We followed the basic process first: Identifying the kind of fabric, the kind of blue, etc, and then moved on to the artwork,” Wani said.

For more than five months, many samples were tried out. Then the green signal came in May. The BCCI declared Adidas as Team India’s official kit sponsor until 2028.

“Beyond what we see players wearing on the TV, there are a lot of other training wears that we had to make. We also had to make different variants. The whole process was to pick a colour that is nice and looks rich on the field as well. Using the traditional Adidas three-stripes is how we ended up making it look the way it does. There are puffer jackets, sweaters, pullovers, hoodies and a lot more that we worked on. It was a great experience,” he said.

The new jersey was unveiled on June 1 and it was widely appreciated by Indian fans.

“The idea of making it different really worked. How did we do that? The kind of collars, the kind of lean design, the patterns used around shoulders, under-arm design, the back—we wanted to make it look fresh and special. Obviously, we took help from the Adidas catalogue, their colours, etc,” the 32-year-old revealed.

“But what also made it special was the kind of design. This is where we thought we would talk about our grassroots. Something that we are proud of. While Indians have a lot to be proud of, we decided to focus on two things: Textiles, which is a vast industry in India, and our national animal, the tiger. We tied in the two and created a pattern that talks about these two things,” Wani explained.

We introduced a new blue in the ODI jersey. With the Test jersey, we have been getting a lot of great feedback and even people at Adidas were surprised that it got sold out within two days on the website. It was again to do with the kind of blue we ended up using on the collar tippings and the blue we chose to write India with on the jersey, the fabric and, obviously, the three stripes on the shoulders. It wasn’t that typical white boring jersey anymore but a cool piece to wear. It has a style and is sporty enough to be worn on the ground,” he added.

Designing the jersey was not at all easy. If he did not get it right, he would have been on the receiving end of angry fans.

“For us, it was an opportunity to do our best. We really didn’t think what people would say about it. We got lucky that people loved it so much. It has obviously made us feel proud as a studio because we are designing at an international level,” Wani emphasised. (India Times)


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News Desk staff at The Kashmir Radar. Posting unbiased news as we believe in pure journalism!

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