...definitely a thrill that my best friend Imcha, is the first Naga fashion designer to be part of the illustrious Lakme Fashion Show. I've seen him work so hard all these many years and it's lovely to see that work come so far. He sent me a link - a feature on him on The Morung Express website.
‘Telling Stories through Experimental Clothing’
Kohima September 11 : “Telling stories through his experimental clothing” is what this young Naga designer firmly believes in. He is now the first-ever Naga fashion designer to be selected for India’s premier couture event, Lakme Fashion Week. This year’s edition commences from October 20 to the 24th. Lakme Fashion Week, a joint initiative by Lakme and IMG, is one of the biggest fashion events in India.
Imchatsung L Imchen, a recent post-graduate from the National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad reveals that translating tribal art into his graphic contemporary designs is for anyone who believes in appreciating ‘the untold stories’.
Growing up in a small town at Medziphema, Imcha studied in St. Francis De Sales School till his standard-X after which he pursued his pre-university from Kohima Science College. Being a science student venturing into fashion, Imcha reveals: “my parents wanted me to be a doctor. However, I had other plans in mind. I applied for NID right after my degree exams and I was blessed to be chosen among the first batch of Apparel Design and Merchandising. My family has been really supportive throughout this journey”. Imcha is the youngest of five siblings and is son to Prof. Lanunungsang Ao, from Mongchen village of Mokokchung district.
“I admire works of international designers and the list could go endless. I also take inspiration from the works of great artists like Piet Mondrian, Monet and Beethoven. Sabyasachi Mukherjee is one Indian designer I really admire…observing ‘normal’ people in the streets. Nothing feels ordinary to me.” says this young designer when queried on his inspiration. His talent in design varies from being a photographer, a graphic designer to that of a fashion designer. Professionally trained in piano till the 5th Grade, he proved immense drive by being a scholarship recipient of the National Talent Search in Academics when he was 12 and folk music when he was 10. Creative Arts as interdependent as it is on each other, Imchatsung Imchen crossed that fine line from being an artistic science graduate to a fashion designer after his Bangalore rendezvous with the creative arts (he took up Multimedia programs simultaneously for two and half years while doing his B. Sc.). He then and moved to NID where his talent was further honed.
As a modern day maverick, he has designed face masks and gloves with nanotech fabrics (showcased at the first Design Idea Fair 06, Delhi) and yet is able to bring his love for the traditional arts, crafts and the rich tapestry of folktales from the North East of India, especially Nagaland, into his designs. He pays homage to handloom works and the dying art of traditional dyeing. As a person who firmly believes in the storytelling aspect of art, whether in terms of fashion, music, fine arts or literature, he works closely with craftsmen from different fields from the North East in order to preserve valued traditions as well to promote the diverse cultures of the region.
A science graduate from St. Joseph College Bangalore, Imcha has done freelance work in branding and corporate designs. He has interned with United Fabrics Bangalore in Home Furnishings. He has also worked on a diploma project with Weekender, Gokaldas Images for Jeanswear Spring/Summer ‘07, and had his final garments sold at Weekender as well as Central and Shoppers’ Shop retail outlets.
Imcha, being one of the few to be selected out of 189 aspiring designer-applicants for the Lakme Fashion Week, believes in promoting the rich folklore, diverse culture and colors of the tribal hills, into mainstream consciousness. When queried on the future for youngsters in the fashion industry, Imcha disclosed: “Firstly, for anyone who wants to pursue a career in the fashion industry, it isn’t as swanky as it appears. There is so much hard work and dedication one needs to put, besides honing one’s creative skills. I know lots of Naga people who are in the creative industry and we will see them rise. I am proud of being a Naga, but more than that, I know I am a human being trying to make a difference in this world like any other. It just starts with a dream and whatever situation one may be in, it is never impossible. It is never too late”.
“My theme is titled “Mangko Akir” (Headhunter). My inspiration comes from the symbolic valiant colors and distinctive textiles of Nagaland. We were once known to be fierce warriors. We took pride of our identity and transparency that ruled the system. And I aspire to bring this aspect to the forefront through my collection. All the fabrics used in the collection are woven by local weavers in Nagaland.”
A man who is influenced by the arts, crafts and colors of the Naga world, Imcha has found a way to translate these influences of his homeland and culture into young, modern and contemporary interpretations of wearable art. Headhunters and their colors of valor, meshed into a fusion of Naga legends and designs, Imcha believes in the promotion of the hand-woven textiles and traditional dyeing methods of the Nagas through his collection.
To My best friend,Imcha- our song!