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CONVERSATION WITH ASHOK MAANAY

On the eve of Pune Fashion Week, Ashok Maanay shares his viewpoint on Fashion, nuggets of wisdom and his personal journey.

 

Since my roots are from Maharashtra and Pune being a cosmopolitan city, it means a lot for me to bring my best collections to the Pune folk. I'm excited to gauge the response for my new designs, particularly since, in the last edition, my regal collection had garnered some rave reviews!! This season, my collection is classic with an undertone of glamour. The ensembles exude sheer elegance and in colours of a sunny day offset with vintage hues of gold and ivory. I have teamed voluminous silhouettes with intricate  satin embroidery on silk, with the sheers nude hues giving each garment an element of mystery and enigma — symbolic of today’s modern elegant woman. In short, Silken Masquerade celebrates an esoteric romance, woven in silken threads and beaten metallic hues. The masquerade stands as the finest example of the art and culture of Venetian renaissance; I aspire to reflect its poetic flow in volume, layering and impeccable garment construction. Most importantly, this collection provides a classic alternative to the festive season with Venetian masks adding a touch of intrigue and mystery.

 

Designing a collection is a way for me to express my creativity, and probably one of the main reasons I decided to start my own label. But finding success in fashion means developing a product line that customers want to buy. The challenge is creating a product that is unique and sellable. As a designer, it is important for me to balance my creativity with commercial appeal. I always walk the line and question when I should sacrifice a design to become more commercial.  It is a question I ask myself at least once a week, if not more. Sometimes risks take off, sometimes they don’t. As a designer, I appreciate quality fabrics or hand-embroidered details require higher investment but expecting my customer to understand that is something I do not aspire towards. The creative styles in my collection generate the buzz and excitement. These 'wow' pieces tell the story of my seasonal collection and reinforce the message of my brand. I use these fashion-forward styles in marketing my collection for the fashionista… it is important for me to remain creative, always pushing boundaries to move the collection forward.

 

Looking back to my younger years, I am sometimes amazed at how life has turned out. Nothing is what I had originally planned for. The only thing that stays the same is who I am, my values, and my interests. Fast forward to today, I have moved to a new era; most importantly I have got myself involved in a lot of things I would have never thought of if I was living a mundane life and tried to stick to plans. If I could go back in time and hang out with my younger self for a day, here is what I will tell him — everything happens for a reason. Whether it is good or bad, everything comes into your life for a reason. Without mistakes and failure, you would have never learnt. Without breakups, you would have never met someone new. Focus on one thing at a time. You can have it all but not all at once. You can have it all in life, but not all at once. And if you do not keep your focus right, you might not achieve anything. You can plan ahead but your plan will change when the time comes.You can plan ahead because sometimes planning ahead can give you a clearer direction of where you want to go, drive you and motivate you. The process can teach you something. However, do not be too fixated on a plan. Plans will almost definitely change — be prepared! Live life with open arms. Trust instincts. Do not worry much about a decision you have to make. Do not try to weigh pros and cons and follow logic. Just do what feels right. Do what you believe would make you most happy. It is OK to be unsure about your purpose in life. Enjoy the journey. Do not rush. Every little path you have to go through will lead you somewhere. And looking back, you will be able to connect the dots. It will all make sense. Sometimes you try very hard to get along with people. You try to fit in — only to end up feeling uncomfortable and have to go back to who you truly are. Take a leap of faith. It can be scary to feel like we have nothing and no one to rely on but ourselves. But if you have a dream, you cannot rely on anyone but yourself to make it come true. The bigger our dreams are, the scarier it is to take a leap of faith in ourselves and jump.

 

That said, my mantra in life is to find joy in every aspect of life and cherish each moment. Because, in the end, it's the journey that matters and I make sure I enjoy my journey… see you there!"
 

PUNE FASHION WEEK
Ashok Maanay
 
17-DECEMBER-2017
 
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