Wednesday, 24 April 2013

With Love, from Manipur...

An interview with Asa Kazingmei
by Somipem Keishing

Photo courtesy: Asa kazingmei 

Asa Kazingmei is not an easy man to reach. I chased this beautiful genius for almost a month before he finally had the time for me. I had barrage a number of questions for this rising star of LFW 2012. His creation 'Immortal' created quite a stir. I spoke to him at length about his work, the journey and lots more

Lakmé Fashion Week 2012 was the usual fanfare with topnotch models wearing the creations of some of the best designers of India and the world. But what caught the attention of me and many others was that fiery red dress that stood out from the rest.

The abstract black and red print of the Tangkhul tribe was the unique and outstanding feature of the collection Immortal that caught the world off guard. The moment I saw the familiar print of my tribe, I instantly connected with this new designer Asa Kazingmei and I couldn’t wait to get my questions across to him. In his line, he had adeptly fused the ancient with the contemporary.

The traditional shawl of the Tangkhul tribe is known as the Rivat Kachon. It symbolizes bravery and courage of the warrior tribe who wore it. This hand woven cloth of the native tribe of Manipur, was given a unique and fresh perspective with artistic creativity by the young designer Asa. Through his collection ‘Immortal’ the age old story of culture and lineage was re told in the most modern way.

Photo credits:Envynde
In Northeast India, where the influence of South Korean music and entertainment is prominent, Asa grew up being inspired by K-Fashion. Thus the grooming of a fashion designer with a unique inclination to Korean taste began at an early age in the small town of Ukhrul, in Manipur.

Asa confesses, "To be different has always motivated me. As a youngster I always used to rework my cloth, never wore them as they were. It started way back as a teenager designing for myself and for my friend. Having learned stitching mere out of curiosity, which helped me understand the technical aspect of the subject, it is now helping me immensely in design execution".

He came to Mumbai with the hope to further his dream to becoming a Fashion designer. Asa, a post graduate of the INFID (International Institute of Fashion Design) Mumbai, has completed a one year professional course in IBM. His shot to fame came when he was selected, from among 250 applicants all over the world, to debut as one of the 7 Gen Next Designer by Lakmé Fashion Week in 2012.

Speaking of his Collection Immortal which was showcased in the LFW 2012 he says “The theme of my collection ‘Immortal’, as the name suggest, is the never dying art form of our Nation. My inspiration is from the beauty and the intricacies of hand woven textile from NE. My theme revolves around the mesmerizing beauty of the NE. I tried to create a confluence of traditional and modernity.
‘Immortal’ is a line where silhouette are simple but very well constructed and structured.
The main feature of the line is textile of the Tangkhul Naga Tribe which is very rare to see and is beautifully hand woven with traditional geometric, zoomorphic motif besides other”.

Like a true artist, every piece that he creates, he does it with utmost care in that familiar systematic procedure. His first step to designing a line is to get a “theme for the inspiration”, next he makes sure he “spends some time to get good finishing (of the cloth)”. Last step and the most important of all is the tailoring, “I should say tailoring plays a very important role for the success of my collection” he adds.

Besides couture, Asa has also designed ready to wear, casual outfits. Till date his favorite garment, designed by him, remains to be the collection which he showcased at the LFW. Though he adds willfully that more are still yet to come.

Starting early he found his way through the labyrinth of struggle that we are known to be sure to face in the cruel world of fashion. When asked about his experiences he says “Oh.... My journey has not been so easy and I have gone through those ‘hard times’....I believe that there is never an end to the hard work. You cannot succeed until and unless you have that fire, that passion, in you”.

Asa is a man forever dedicated to the art of fashion, he says that “Fashion has always been the only passion I find in my life, which is incomplete without it”. He likes to characterize his style as “experimental, edgy, exuberant and limitless”. And that, according to him, “is what defines Asa Kazingmei”.

With utmost curiosity, I dared to ask if he is working on any new projects lately. To which, he replied; “I am currently working on my new collection which will be showcased at fall winter LFW on August 2013”. There is no detail on what his new collection will be, and on what themed it will focus, however an anticipated wait is expected from many of his fans, including I.

India is defined by its diverse culture and uniqueness of each state. The collection of Asa stands as a potent example of it. Featuring the colors of the hill tribe of northeast, Immortal becomes a symbol of the great talents of the region, many of whom are still yet to be discovered.

In respect to the recognition for his work, a strong line of fans follow him, many of whom are immensely inspired. To them, Asa says “believe in yourself and your dream”
Asa Kazingmei*


Special thanks to Asa kazingmei
Submitted to Leo Fernando
The above article is solely for the purpose of University project and not for commercial reasons.
It may be subject to copyright of the publisher.



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