Behind every celebrity's impeccable looks at appearances and shoots, there is a fashion stylist glamming them up for the big game. One such celebrity stylist is AKSHAY TYAGI.
He has made a space for himself among the rising breed of stylists with a smart understanding of sourcing from the phalanx of Indian and international brands, the starry whims of celebrities and what makes a stylist saleable on social media. Akshay has redefined men’s fashion in India by blurring norms of men’s styling. But Akshay’s work also requires him to make Bollywood celebrities look like a million bucks according to the occasion.
Tyagi aims to marry the elusive nature of ideas to a very tangible and tactile experience in his design work, appreciating the conceptual mindset within which he works constantly.
Over the years, Tyagi changed dynamics of machismo in Bollywood and the new order of actors who look beyond airport fashion to add to their style resume. Currently he works with Anaita Shroff Adajania for Style Cell in Mumbai, India as a fashion and film stylist.
He moved from Canada about 9 years ago and worked as a store manager retail visual merchandiser with Club Monaco in Canada for about 4 years prior & finished his BFA in textiles and fashion at NSCAD University.
After studying textiles and fashion at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University in Canada, Tyagi shifted to Mumbai in 2011. Here, he built on his Bollywood and editorial work with men’s fashion as his strong suit. When he came to Mumbai he got connected to Anaita Adajania’s team and Nitasha Gaurav’s team through his friends .
He did small internship/ assistantship (one and half months) with Nitasha Gaurav and got a call from Anaita’s team to take on a film ‘Krish 3’ under her assistantship. Since then he stayed with Hrithik Roshan independently, being his personal stylist under the banner of style cell.
More people in the industry got to know him after his work with Hrithik in movies like ‘Bang Bang’ & ’Krish 3’. He also styled Hrithik for all his events. After that he branched out to other actors in the industry.
“Today, lunch dates, gym and even ‘casual’ shopping outings may require the intervention of an expert to create looks that suit the pursuit of the paparazzi and style glossies. Personal styling in India is a nascent industry, with a handful of names such as Ami Patel, Tanya Ghavri, Anaita Shroff Adajania and Nitasha Gaurav helming cinema celebrities’ sartorial reins. The pool of stylists is however rapidly growing with Bollywood glamour acting as a bait for styling aspirants. “Today, everyone who has finished a three-month course is a stylist,” Tyagi quips, highlighting the importance of mentorship, training and humility to find a fair footing in the cut-throat industry.”
The biggest moment for Akshay was after 3 yrs of working with Hrithik, when people started taking note of how his appearance had changed in terms of the suits he was wearing, the looks he was pulling off the casuals with ease he was carrying with. Soon Akshay branched out to the few more actors in the south and within bollywood.
Soon Akshay decided to take a 3 months off to re-evaluate what he wanted to do exactly. After re-evaluating his plans he decided not to be attached to just one household name. Soon he started working with Varun and Siddharth and Irfan at that time & that really helped him to show diversity. He says "I always stayed loyal to my agency & very clear & honest with anybody who ever would ask me also to go independent i would be like the agency is what the agency is & u know i don’t really want to screw with that. That helped me carve my name as a celebrity stylist and regularly helped me to deliver looks that were distinct and had a signature style."
It wasn’t just a walk in the park. He had his full website ready and did 3 collections as a designer. He had done 4 years of work in Canada, & trained himself by styling personal clients.
He was fortunate enough to put a foot in the door of bollywood industry by confidently proving himself for the position at style cell. During the journey the struggles of a stylists are sometimes just figuring & prove your place in the industry, your place in the workforce, like what kind of stylish you want to be, celebrity , editorial or film or costume so it all varies and at that time nobody really knew what this job fully and as distinctively as people know it today.
For Akshay, it is about understanding his client through a personal lens. “You become their friend. They are actors so you have to understand the image they want eyes to bring their vision of self to life. A cool guy or a lover of heritage—it’s a new ball game daily,”
“Finding your own place and remembering your bearings and overcoming them would be to always stay grounded and to make sure you remember that everyone is replaceable and everything is replaceable and everyone is working towards a larger goal so you are also just a part of the puzzle sometimes you are not the star.”
In the last eight years of his career, Tyagi has managed to add to his repertoire actors like Hrithik Roshan, Varun Dhawan and Sidharth Malhotra among other younge names. Also, Marjaavaan was his first full blown costume design project that released in 2019.
He joined the likes of couturier Sabyasachi Mukherjee and filmmaker Karan Johar at the annual platform for industry dialogue, to represent the tides of fashion an d the buzz around celebrity dressing. Tyagi counts young menswear labels l ike Khanijo, Sahil Aneja, Dhruv Kapoor, Anuj Madan and Arjun Kilachand as budding stars in the market.
I think its about maintaining a balanced lifestyle not just being obsessive about one thing or the other its really important to make sure you spend time equally on yourself as much as on your work and also talk about it and not being embarrassed to share weather you are working less than others its not a problem its not some race that we are running & most recently I have been venturing into really vocalising the aspects of sustainable lifestyle not just the clothing so its about the really how you get the clothes, what kind of clothing you are getting, what kind of brands you are supporting & really standing by it not just sort of caving into whatever just came into your way and also turning down the projects that don’t make sense with your ethos & also just really developing a guide for people going forward to be more cautious and conscious of the choices that they make in fashion and lifestyle both.