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IN CONVERSATION WITH ASHOK MAANAY

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

 

Goa is a melting point of cultures, trance music and kitsch; Goa is fashion nirvana for the global citizen. Bahamas, Jamaica and all those pretty mamas, take a break. Up-market retro-bars, hip clubs, a growing art scene, Indo-Portuguese architectural wonders, laidback quaint Latin quarters, a melting pot of cross-cultures, traditions and a vibrant retail showcase of East-meets-West leisure-spa-sport-fashion awaits the global citizen. This paradise is a perfect example on how to be your own stylist. Fashion follows no break-your-neck rules over a social boo-boo! What better place than Goa to showcase my creation especially curated for the global Man?

 

My new collection "Adonis" is all about celebrating the alpha male — it is my endeavour to help the male species be the centre of attraction so I have dedicated my collection to the Greek God of beauty and desire. Despite the sheer display of soft tones in dusty rose jackets, blazers and textured pants, the line has the classic Maanay ethos — albeit with a romantic edge. The tailoring knowhow of the Maanay house is reflected in the deconstructed yet precise shoulders on tuxedo ensembles and the interior of the suit jackets that are cut on the bias to allow for a more drapy feel. The bohemian romantic look of elongated duster coats and voluminous trousers make it clear that the Ashok Maanay man is ready to embark on a lifestyle-driven adventure. Overall, the collection will provide a definite option for the luxe nomad — wherever they roam!! However, I would like to keep my looks a mystery for now and all I can say is the prints are all exclusive and are designed to inspire men to "live the good life, with a mojito in hand, relaxing." Refined athleticism reigns in technical anoraks and evening suits — complete with subtle details. I have worked on broader silhouettes for fitted jacket shoulders...  raw textured silks, rich hued crisp satins, with a dash of synthetic fabrics cut on the bias... embellishments are conservative in color, as a design element. The nautical leans and bright pops of colour in the fabrics lend a definite bohemian vibe!

 

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. Nonetheless, I have summed up what I have learned — the new perspectives on life. And if I could go back in time and hang out with my younger self for a day, here i s 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 learned. 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 planning process can teach you something. However, do not be too fixated on a plan. Plans will almost definitely always change — be prepared! Live life with open arms. Trust your instincts. Do not worry too 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. Do not try too hard with people. Sometimes you try very hard to get along with people. You try to fit in — only to end up feeling uncomfortable with yourself and have to go back to who you truly are. Take a leap of faith in yourself. It can be scary to feel like we have nothing else and no one else to rely on but ourselves. But if you have a dream, whatever that may be, you cannot rely on someone else but yourself to make that come true. The bigger our dreams are, the scarier it seems to take a leap of faith in ourselves and jump."
 

ASHOK MAANAY
 
25-OCTOBER-2017
 
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