The cult favourite, homegrown actor Vijay Deverakonda finally found a shirt he likes. With all pomp and show, he launched his clothing line Rowdy Wear and also auctioned his Filmfare award for CMRF. In an exclusive chat, he divulged the details of trying his hand at apparel and getting closer to his fans:
On a cheerful Sunday evening, just when the sun was having a coquettish conversation with the clouds, the zephyr was busy kissing the cheeks and playing ‘catch me if you can’ game, with our hair, there was a sudden roar of hoots and whistles on the rooftop of 800 Jubilee edifice as a six-feet-tall man in soft ecru (a-little-above-the-ankle) trousers, sporty leather jacket and hexagonal clear eyeglasses walked in with undeniable swag. That very minute, if one had Googled badass, the name Vijay Deverakonda would have sprung up.
Vijay took over the mic from the band Nirval, who made all the ‘dot com’ generation kids reminisce how wondrous the 90s musical era was. Before the Deverakonda boy could unzip his jacket to launch and flaunt his new brainchild, the Rowdy Wear, he spoke his heart out in a saccharine way on how his journey from borrowing the movie costumes to starting his own clothing line in a span of just four years left the audience moved and inspired. Well, this Arjun Reddy boy didn’t have any qualms in naming his trouser collection, ‘Arouser’ and announcing it in style.
By trading his Filmfare award for Rs 25 lakh to Shakuntala Divi of Divi Laboratories and donating it to the Chief Minister Relief Fund, the Tollywood actor did prove his fans that he is an invincible Rowdy with a humanitarian side to himself.
Post the scintillating sundowner party with fireworks, parkour, freestyle dance by Proximity Crew, skater boarding act, launch of Rowdy anthem (I am you, I am the Rowdy you!) sung by the man of the hour himself echoing all around, his army dancing in fancy Rowdy lungi with buttons and pockets and of course the cooperation from the Rain God himself (because who would dare mess with nearly 500 youngsters with rowdy vibes), Vijay took circa 400 selfies with all his fans present individually as he promised during his impromptu speech.
As Vijay along with his two partners Anurag Reddy and Sharath Chandra accomplished all the errands of catapulting the app, Rowdy, available on IOS App Store and Android Google Play which has two categories- Rowdy Wear and Rowdy Club, he sat down to have a tete-e-tete with Hyderabad Express. Excerpts from the interview:
One fine day, the moment of epiphany to start a comfortable and rebellious clothing line dawned upon Vijay. Tout de suite, he deliberated with his team to work his thought into a reality. “I never had any plans of starting my clothing line. One day, I slept on this idea and without wasting time, executed it. I discussed the plan with Sharath and Anurag. They wanted to do something called ‘Chill Thata’. I told them that I wanted to do this clothing line to be called Rowdy and that it shouldn’t just be about me, but also about my fans. We designed and registered a company. It took us six months to design and the production process took a few more months. One the whole, it took us about 10 months. I want Rowdy Wear to be bigger than me, bigger than my career,” Vijay shares.
“We all have our favourite set of clothes that we repeat as many times as possible just for the comfort level it offers. I have a bunch of such clothes. I repeat them because they make me feel snugly, cosy and breathable. So I wanted to do a clothing line exactly using that kind of materials,” he elaborates.
Says Vijay about the fabric and price range, “The price starts from Rs 700 and goes up to 2,000. The top wear goes up to Rs 1,500 and the trousers go a little beyond. The fabrics used are cotton, lycra and viscose. I gave them the samples of my favourite t-shirts to know the materials used in them. We sourced the unavailable materials from other countries. We had to mix and match the components so that the product is made comfortable. It is all about the proportions. Some have 40% cotton, 5% lycra and so on.
1 Dream - 3 Boys.— Vijay Deverakonda (@TheDeverakonda) July 18, 2018
A small team of hardworking Rowdies. A bunch of fxkups and a constant fight to Rise abv them. The story of the 1st RowdyWear drop.#ChillSeries Sold-out in under 4hrs. We did it. We will strive to btr everything. Emotional but we had a blast pushing this dream. https://t.co/1V4Fq9RXHc
The percentages decide the elasticity, durability of the fabric and how much sweat it can absorb. We are getting it done in a workshop in Bengaluru that makes fabrics for international brands. We did trial and error till I got the fabric that I liked. Most of the collection is unisex. For now, it is an online store.” Vijay adds that there was no designer and stylist involvement in this but just his taste and touch.
Every Wednesday, a new set of collection will be launched in the app. Guess what, every week, it is going to be a new collection and no set of clothes would be repeated. Since it is all limited edition for a stipulated period, one has to grab one’s favourites before the stock vanishes.
Vijay wants to have a distinctive connect with his fans. He just doesn’t want behind the phone or laptop camaraderie, he wants the brotherhood with his followers to blossom with a personal touch. Along with the clothing line, he also launched the Rowdy club in the app itself to blur the line between him and his fans. “They can send me questions and greetings through this app and I will reply to him personally,” he says.
It is no surprise that Vijay was called Rowdy by his near and dear for his devil-may-care attitude. “I was called rowdy when I was a kid whenever I did something people didn’t like. My dad would call me that when I chose to do a particular film, against his wishes, which I felt strongly about. He used to often say ‘this rowdy fellow doesn’t listen to me at all’. My theatre group friends too used to address me as rowdy. As a kid, I never liked that term. As I grew up, I realised that if I have come this far, it is because of my attitude and doing things my way. I rather take this name proudly. More than 2,000 college students came to see Arjun Reddy. If they came all the way for me, I should give them something that worked for me. So I started calling them and the clothing line Rowdy,” the actor narrated the meaning behind the name.
Not many actors took up the challenge of taking selfies with the entire crowd individually neither did they come up with a clothing line dedicated specially to their fans. We wondered if Vijay was aiming at setting a benchmark in the industry but the Telangana boy says he is just following his heart and if that is setting a benchmark, so be it. “The brand might last or it might even outlast my lifetime and my grandchildren might take over. I am ready to accept failures too that come my way. The point is you should do something that you want to do. If it works out, it’s crazy. If it doesn’t, it is still a good memory,” he smiles.
The event was planned just a couple of days before it could take place and the anthem written and sung by Vijay himself was composed a day before the event. “It was my idea to have the break dancers and performances on stage. I have Sharath, Anurag and their teams helping me out. Kedar and his team sorted out HyLife as the venue and bouncers. Karthik, who is composing for a soon-to-be-announced project, managed to compose the rowdy anthem I wrote. I sang the anthem myself because it is the philosophy that I believe in. Honestly, if I could sing well, I would prefer singing to acting. The whole recording studio was like a party. The music director was tripping whenever we did a good take. It was super fun,” Vijay shares while also adding that his parents were quite happy with how the event went on.
His shirtless pictures on the hoardings and social media did make people wonder if those toned arms and chiselled abs were worked out for the Rowdy photo series or for a role in a movie. “I am generally in that shape. I go to Kuldeep from 360-degree fitness gym. He keeps complaining that I am not regular at the gym. But if people liked the pictures as you say, I will forward him the article and tell him I am doing decent enough, so I don’t need to come to the gym,” he guffaws and signs off with a warm handshake.