Fashion Stylist and Creative Consultant, Akshay Tyagi is the face behind Bollywood’s some of the biggest names’ looks, from newcomers to veterans. Known for his charming personality and unwavering aesthetic, Akshay is a brand on his own today working on editorials, films, and advertising altogether.
When he was younger, Akshay’s mother and aunt were involved in crafts and clothing, so he’d ask them to buy him dolls just to have clothes sewn for them. In high school, he used to participate in fashion shows, and when living in Singapore, a wedding show he used to watch inspired him to experiment with bridal designs. He remembers December 12th is the day he created his very first piece of design. Although unsure of his capabilities, Akshay was always destined to work for and in fashion.
He graduated from NSCAD University, also called the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, with a major in textiles and a minor in fashion. He worked at Club Monaco, a clothing retail brand for four years as Head of Visual Merchandising and Assistant Manager. This was when the idea of a stylist came to his mind. He liked being able to cater to people and understand what they needed him to deliver. Coming back to India, Akshay worked as an emergency assistant with celebrity stylist Nitasha Gaurav and within three months he had found his place in the industry!
His first big project landed with Anaita Shroff Adajania on Krrish, as a costume designer. Akshay reveals she was very clear on what her requirements were and that boarded well for the newcomer. He was able to deliver his best with Anaita’s support and was able to put himself out of the sidelines. The designer further collaborated with furniture designer Anjali Mody of Josmo Studio on an installation inspired by the city of Mumbai that yielded a great experience for both. Eventually, Akshay came to enjoy the styling and creating aspect of fashion the most.
Following the success of Krrish, the team rolled in for Bang Bang which as Akshay remembers, was a dream come true. He says it was a fortunate opportunity for them to play around with new elements for styling in Bollywood. From working in films like Finding Fanny and side projects with Anaita, he’s enjoyed working with Hrithik Roshan, Siddharth Malhotra, John Abraham, Varun Dhawan, Mahesh Babu, and many more. Being someone alert and always on his feet, he’s able to take on the visions of these people and work with them effortlessly.
Building characters is his forte, hence why he’s ardent about working in films. If you’re putting as many hours in a job like this, there comes a point where you don’t have the patience and energy to keep up if you’re not genuinely enjoying your work, says the stylist. For him, guiding a team and executing the character with precision is what’s most important.
Akshay further adds it’s his responsibility to make sure that they look like the best version of their true selves, and as a character, the best version of their personalities. Editorial is a different space. It’s about trying to marry the idea of fantasy and making that come to life with fashion, and when it comes to advertising it’s laid out you need to shine a light on the products. It’s a combination of styling and costume design. The stylist finds it thrilling how different aspects of styling require their own set of skills that one never knows when can come in handy!
With 10 years of experience up his sleeve, working with veteran actor Irrfan Khan has been the highlight of his journey. The loyalty, support, and respect that he’s received for his work over the passing years have been his cherished achievements.
A busybody, Akshay finds it challenging how sometimes there are delays, things go wrong in alterations, or the client hates everything he brings them. He needs to be prepared for the worst-case scenario, be hands-on, and swiftly find the right solution. On the flip side, he gets to travel and explore the world for which he feels blessed to have the opportunity itself.
With things coming to a sudden halt in the past year, Akshay chose to make the best of the situation. He kept a low profile, shifted to Goa, kept in touch with his team regarding upcoming opportunities, and was able to lead well financially.
I think the less rigid you are about what you think you’re walking into, the better it is – advised Akshay on choosing his line of work. You need to be organized, have great communication skills, and be ready to take on whatever is assigned to you. You need to know it all, so you need to experience it all. Be fully aware of your reasons for working in the industry.
Talking about monetizing business, Akshay says you need to learn to grow and make it. It’s your process. He also suggests not to be driven by money. It comes least when you expect it, so simply trust the process. If you have no impatience and no expectations, you will have no disappointments.
You know your self-worth, but at the end of the day, you need to build your value to prove that your self-worth is what you need to be paid for.
Akshay also states the industry needs to be more organized and hover well over the time, budget, and system restraints of stylists. A sustainable fashion pioneer himself, Akshay also hopes to see a covert change in fast fashion prevalent today.
“Do everything with your hundred percent” is Akshay’s success mantra. Learn with open ears, eyes, and hands. Observe and keep yourself energized with what you’re consuming visually, and learn to receive criticism constructively. For the novices, Akshay reminds them there’s no need to worry as much. There will always be an outcome and solution and never forget to be the genuine most version of yourself.
Living life at his own pace with an ever so humble state of mind, Akshay is a breath of fresh air in the world of styling – inspiring thousands around him.