As the owner of the Mayasilk Group, Datuk Ajay Ubrani is no stranger in the retail fashion scene. Being at the helm of this fashion franchise for over 25 years, his expertise lies in the business of silks, fabrics and fineries. It makes one wonder – where his personal style and passion for his work meets.
International Business Review met up with Datuk Ajay at Plaza Tekstil Maya – one of Mayasilk’s many stores in Kuala Lumpur, to get an insight into how a man who sells style dresses himself at work and in the boardroom.
“I was always intrigued by style and fashion which had its humble beginnings by watching my mom tailor her own amazing outfits. My parents started the business and named it after my sister, Maya, which means magic and illusion, which I think is apt for the fashion industry, as we become what we wear essentially, don’t we?“, said the debonair gentleman with a wink and a smile over cups of the best masala tea in the country and sizzling samosas.
“However, I gravitated towards high-end fabrics” he adds. “ I would run my hands over the exquisite textiles brought in by the purveyors of fine garments then, many who no longer exist and think that this would be the element we needed to bring into the family business. “I would walk along the streets of Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman looking at buildings there and wish that one day I would own one and have a high end textile business there. And as the Law of Attraction would have it, here I am”
Bespoke, to a Tee
As an agent for high end fabrics in Malaysia, Datuk Ajay’s brand inventory includes major brands such as Versace, Armani, Solstiss Lace Fabrics and many more. With a variety of textile options made available, Mayasilk also provides bespoke tailoring to clients.
But when it comes to his personal style, Datuk Ajay boils it down to three important things: comfort, individuality and authenticity.
Datuk Ajay’s outfits are generally tailor-made, woven from branded textiles the likes of Lanificio Cerruti, Lessona and Thomas Mason. And he mixes them with off the rack shirts (short sleeves these days, he chirps) and really comfortable loafers. “When I was younger” he says, “I used to wear three-piece suits, with brocade vests and the whole gamut but now older, wiser and more comfortable in my own skin, I believe the man becomes the style and we should never let the style dictate the man”
He ascribes this evolution of style to his maturity. “When before it was always about keeping up with the latest trends, now, it is more about being comfortable in my own skin which I find is the key to becoming a trend setter.” he states.
Walking to the Beat of His Own Drum
Speaking to us wearing tasselled loafers, he describes his affection for Adidas NMD’s that he occasionally wears with formal outfits – a popular trend today.
Style is about expression, identity and growth. And as we evolve in who we are, our sense of style evolves too. It is always about the end objective – how we look, how we carry ourselves, how fine our choices are and how comfortable we are in marrying all of that together. And wear your confidence like the most expensive suit you will ever own, he urged. Everything else will fall in place.
Datuk Ajay Ubrani is as vibrant as the many patterns and colours in his stores, with a style reflective of his personality. Making a career out of something one is passionate about, we cannot imagine anything better than that.