In the midst of the ongoing World Cup cricket craze, a remarkable and inspiring story has emerged – that of Aaquib Wani, a self-taught designer hailing from Kashmir.
While cricket fans across the nation passionately follow the exploits of their favourite players like Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, and Jasprit Bumrah, few are aware of the creative genius behind the new Indian Team jersey that they proudly wear.
Aaquib Wani’s journey from being a young boy in Kashmir to the designer of the national cricket team’s jersey is a tale of passion, perseverance, and breaking boundaries.
Last December, Aaquib Wani received a call that would change the course of his career. He had previously worked with Adidas, the global sportswear brand, on several projects, collaborating with the likes of Ranveer Singh and Rohit Sharma.
However, when he was told that his studio would be responsible for crafting the Indian cricket team’s new jerseys, he realised the magnitude of the opportunity before him. Adidas had placed its trust in him, a self-taught designer, when it could have chosen from designers worldwide.
For Aaquib Wani, whose love for art blossomed at an early age, this project was more than just a professional endeavour; it was an emotional connection to the sport he grew up loving.
Reflecting on the moment, he said, “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.”
Aaquib’s family has roots in Kashmir. Like many Indian parents, his family initially encouraged him to pursue a professional degree in business or engineering. However, Aaquib’s struggles in academics, including failing Class 11 twice, led him on a different path.
Fuelled by his passion, he picked up a guitar and formed a music band, despite the scepticism and criticism he faced from relatives and those around him. Aaquib recalled, “I was called names. It didn’t stop me, though. I started doing what I wanted to without paying much attention to anything else.”
Aaquib Wani’s journey is nothing short of remarkable. His self-taught journey as a designer led him to be named in Forbes 30 Under 30 for Design in 2021, and he proudly holds the distinction of being the first Kashmiri to achieve this honour.
His expertise spans a wide range of creative domains, including spaces, festivals, sets, interiors, interactive installations, weddings, visual and graphic design, and more. Aaquib has not only mastered 2D design but also ventured into the world of 3D design, breaking new ground with each project.
As the founder of Aaquib Wani Design, an experiential design studio, he has collaborated with a multitude of brands, including the international music festival Lollapalooza, the India Cricket Team, JSW for the Asian Games, the United Nations, Spotify, Coca-Cola, MG Motors, Nestle, and many others. He has even designed special edition shoes for Rohit Sharma for IPL 2021 and 2022.
As Aaquib’s star continues to rise in the design world, his story serves as an inspiration to aspiring artists and designers. It is a reminder that determination, passion, and relentless dedication can lead to extraordinary achievements.
His journey from a young boy inspired by the artisans of Kashmir to a renowned designer crafting the jerseys of India’s cricket stars is a testament to the boundless potential of creativity and the power of following one’s dreams.
Aaquib Wani’s advice to young entrepreneurs and artists is simple yet powerful: “Embrace the idea of taking risks without fear of failure, because it’s a genuine testament to your efforts and ambitions. Remember that taking risks is a clear sign that you’re actively moving forward and striving for success. Don’t let the fear of failure hold you back; instead, let it be a stepping stone on your path to progress and achievement. Keep pushing forward with unwavering determination!”
Beyond his professional life, Aaquib finds joy in music, personal projects, and cherishing moments with friends and family. He continues to explore the rich tapestry of Indian culture, drawing inspiration from its colours, patterns, and traditions to create designs that celebrate the spirit of India. Aaquib Wani’s journey is a testament to the boundless potential of creativity, determination, and the pursuit of one’s passion.