He was included in Newsweek’s List of “Power & Influence” bringing East and West together (March 2004) and was selected as one of “India’s 50 Most Beautiful”(2005-06) and on the “Sexiest South Asians in America” list. He was celebrity host for MTV Asia and VH-1’s Awesomely Bad Fashions. He was included in Newsweek’s List of “Power & Influence” bringing East and West together (March 2004) and was selected as one of “India’s 50 Most Beautiful” (2005-06) and on the “Sexiest South Asians in America” list. He was celebrity host for MTV Asia and VH-1’s Awesomely Bad Fashions. He has appeared on America’s Next Top Model with Tyra Banks and on E! with Paris Hilton.
Only in India do you have indigo which is biodegradable.
With Anand Jon “Indo-chic” was born says Fashion Windows. Known for blending east and west together, he was a catalyst for some of the hottest celebrity names in film, fashion, & music today. The Celebrity list of friends and clients including Paris Hilton, Nicky Hilton, Mya, Elizabeth Jagger, Hannah Bronfman, Annabelle Jones, Eve and Michelle Rodriguez, who along with Anand Jon are both “Animal Ambassadors,” for Nature’s Sanctuary, a Florida-based organization that rescues injured, orphaned, abused, and unwanted animals.
Born November 28, 1976 in Kerala, India, Anand Jon grew up in South India under the tutelage of master artisans and his late grandmother. He lists his early involvement in the Yogic disciplines as having “set a metaphysical, yet playful, flavor to all of his creations.”
Since graduating from New York’s Parsons School of Design in 1998, Anand Jon has taken his place centerstage in the luxury fashion design world with his collections available at exclusive stores such as Bergdorf Goodman (NYC,) Wilkes Bashford (San Francisco), Stanley Korshak (Dallas), Luisa Via Roma (Italy). “Functional Luxury,” says Women’s Wear Daily, “is an inherent trademark of his work, while sacred geometry is often an underlying structural element of the Anand Jon collections.”
The 30-year-old, Anand Jon, whose sponsors and strategic partners include Jaguar, Giorgio Armani, Tahitian Pearls, the Four Seasons Hotels, Ian Schrager Hotels, Taj Hotels has seen his own celebrity status amplify exponentially. Picked by the Prime Minister of India Mr. Vajpayee, Anand Jon joined the ranks of “50 Most influential N.R Indians in the world” (2004), Express Group, alongside icons such as spiritual guru Deepak Chopra, film directors Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding) and Oscar nominated M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, Signs).
Having established himself in the luxury fashion world, Anand Jon now stands poised to reach superstardom in the world of film and television. ASIANCE recently asked Anand Jon some furry questions at the San Francisco International South Asian Film
ASIANCE: How did you get involved with Nature Sanctuary?
Anand Jon: I have a tremendous affection towards what animals do for us. There’s a purity about them. One of my friends invited me to Florida to see the sanctuary and I saw Darryl Atkinson, the founder, struggle. It breaks your heart. Their entire life is devoted to serving. There’s nothing higher to me that a human being can do than just to serve. Then I look at what I do and it’s the opposite — you’re at the height of vanity. What do I want to do? I want to put my name on everybody’s backside. So the question of balance comes. I’m not saying I shouldn’t want to do that because I’m an artist. I have an ego, why not? If I’m among the best in the world, I shouldn’t feel bad about it. But what else can I do that would balance that out? I enjoy being around the animals. They’re not pets of mine. I feel it’s a reward for me just to be around them and to contribute.
ASIANCE: Do you use fur or leather in your fashion designs?
Anand Jon: I don’t want to say no because god forbid I’m seen somewhere wearing fur or leather. But, do I use it in my collections? No. But I love leather. I wouldn’t have any problem in using it. Fur is another extreme case. I actually went to Scandinavia sponsored by the fur council because they wanted me to use fur — and I said let me see what happens. I went there, I didn’t like it. I didn’t like the process of how I get the product. Fur I backed out from. Leather I don’t have a problem with because it’s part of a process where the actual animal is consumed. And plus, you actually eat the animal. So a lot of it is degrees of consumption. If you’re killing an organism just to wear its skin, I think that’s unnecessary in today’s time and age because maybe 100 or 200 years ago, man didn’t have the technology to stay warm. I can understand that. Today, the need for fur is only in the luxury market. So I don’t feel I have to use it. But if I feel like it I will. So I don’t want to make a statement that it’s bad. At this moment, I don’t feel the need for it. I never want to put my foot in my mouth and say that using fur is bad. Today, I don’t feel the need for it. I have a very successful industry going on. But I can’t condemn it 100 percent because what if we could find a way that dead animals could be used. That would be the ideal situation for me.
ASIANCE: What are the films you’re involved with?
Anand Jon: I’ve signed with Endeavor now, which is a fantastic agency. They represent me as an actor and as a filmmaker. I had incredible success hosting MTV in Asia. Then I got called to do America’s Next Top Model. And now a couple of fantastic projects have come my way. Michelle (Rodriguez) is part of it. The first one’s Delirium, which is a very dark, edgy movie. Its kind of a behind the scenes of what happens in the luxury world. And there’s a superhero project we’re working on as well. It’s about Indian mythology because we have fantastic heritage of the supernormal. I’m very excited about next year when a lot of these projects are coming together for me.
ASIANCE: How did you meet Michelle Rodriguez? Did she get you involved with Nature’s Sanctuary?
Anand Jon: Michelle is such an animal lover. She’s one of the most beautiful people in my life. I’ve known her for more than a decade. Way before I was a designer. Way before she was an actress. She used to live with me. She’s like extended family to me. Now, that we’re both what I would consider semi-established, we both have the same intentions to not become a charity but to make it normal to give back. I shouldn’t have to even think about charity because I’m so blessed. Why would I not continue to contribute what I can? And in that sense, she’s a soulmate of mine. We’re very alike. So, she got involved and we’re partners in several ventures, including films and the animal sanctuary in particular. We’re very excited to be young and be catalysts to progressive things without having to answer to big corporations. It’s a huge blessing. And Michelle’s a major inspiration for me for that.
ASIANCE: Tell us about the Spring/Summer Collection 2007, The Alchemiste.
Anand Jon: We’re lauching our first ready-to-wear line — and it’s called Jeanisis by Anand Jon. And part of that is JeanOhm which is an organic line. Only in India do you have indigo which is biodegradable. Now it is much more expensive to make, but do you know the blue used in blue jeans is the most highest pollutant in the fabric world. People don’t realize that. So I’m creating this line JeanOhm; and the entire jean is biodegradable. We’re using wooden buttons… everything…. Going back to my philosophy, I’m not an extremist when it comes to saving the planet. Do what you can. Continue doing what you need to and as you become successful maybe you’ll start doing less of what you have to and more of what you’d like to. And that is a transition that young people struggle with. When I was in high school, I got bullied and then when I became a senior I had to make a choice — am I going to continue that, or am I the one that’s going to break out of that power struggle. I was fortunate that I had a fantastic grandmother that said you’re bigger than that.You don’t need to carry on that tradition anymore. Now, how often can we actually execute what we want. That’s depending upon our blesssings. If you’re financially stable. If you don’t need to. Chances are people won’t… chances are hopefully, they won’t have to go beyond what’s needed.
Delirium is Anand Jon’s debut movie in 2007 with co-prodcuer Deepak Nayar (Bend it like Beckham). For more information on Anand Jon check his website http://www.anandjon.com
Ed Moy is a freelance writer based in San Francisco. His writing has appeared in Asian Week, Asian American Film.Com, Asiance Magazine and Monolid Magazine.